More than a Backpack: School Ready Kid Connection Event

It started with a moment of chaos. My alarm had failed to go off and I woke up in that “oh my gosh, what time is it?” start that left me hurrying to get out the door. Event days are always a little crazy and this one was no different. I ran alongside our team leads picking up the day of food Bashas’ had generously donated, putting up last minute signage, and alphabetizing name tags that my husband had stayed up way too late finalizing and printing. Before we knew it our first group was ready for check in and the next two hours become a blur of matching hosts with groups of kids and trouble shooting in the midst of the event being in full swing.

Planning an event for 650 kids is no joke and sometimes I find myself questioning why we push so hard. Then it happens. The kids arrive and I get to watch our hopes of what could be become a reality; a high schooler getting ready to age out asks their host for the day to consider mentoring them so that they will have someone to connect with, a junior higher smiles and proudly shows off the bag they had picked out for school, an elementary kiddo creating a one of a kind water bottle that will remind them that their community cares. Tears are shed by volunteers at the realization that this is foster care. Faces and names are now etched in their minds and the time together tends to leave a lasting mark on everyone’s hearts.

We are grateful to be a part of a community that loves well. For us and the countless volunteers it’s a cool event to be a part of, but to these kids it can be life changing. It can be the difference between aging out and going down a troubling path or making a connection and finding a job. For some it is the difference between anxiety towards starting school and going to school confident and excited; and for some it is the difference between living in a group home or finally finding their forever family. So yes, on the calendar it was just another Saturday, and a hectic one at that, but to the 650 kids it was a beautiful moment in time that they were able to see and feel that people truly cared and loved on them. That’s why we do it, for the kids…and it’s worth it all!

Kim Vehon

Founder/CEO Foster Arizona

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