Since 2014, Three Precious Miracles was founded by Executive Director Elisia Manuel and Tecumseh Manuel, it has served the needs of over 160 Native American foster youth and grandparents raising grandchildren. The organization is the first of its kind: it’s a Native American owned and operated non-profit located within an Indian reservation servicing not only tribal members but other Native American children around the valley. Three Precious Miracles continues to bless the lives of many foster families.
Three Precious Miracles is located in Sacaton, Arizona within the boundaries of the Gila River Indian Community (GRIC), south of the Phoenix metropolitan area. Over the past year, the organization has serviced Akimel O’Otham from GRIC and Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, Tohono O’Odham, Hopi, Navajo, Pascua Yaqui, and San Carlos Apache and White Mountain Apache and Potawatomi foster youth. Current services include: care packages (i.e. hygiene kits, diapers and wipes, playpens, shoes, and a week’s supply of clothes) and a cultural event that will take place annually. Because Three Precious Miracles does not have a referral requirement or, does not require youth and families to meet any other qualifications, the organization is able to provide much-needed resources to Native youth often-times abruptly pulled from their homes without any clothing or toiletries.
Native American children make up nine percent of the children in foster care within the state of Arizona. At a local and tribal level, six percent of GRIC children are in the foster care system; according to the (GRIC) 2013 First Things First Needs and Assets Report, approximately 47% of grandparents in the community are raising their grandchildren ages 0-6. The number of Native American children in the foster care system from other tribal nations, not just within the state of Arizona but the country, most likely closely reflects the percentage of GRIC children in the system. A majority of Native American youth are placed within non-Native foster homes and TPM wants to bless all involved who care for the children with cultural activities.
Three Precious Miracles has a long-term plan for providing resources and services and currently partners with other organizations and has received numerous one-time and reoccurring monetary and in-kind donations from many sources. Donors include: Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, Redemption Church, Vans Shoes Outlet, American Warehouse Furniture, Billy Mills Running Strong, Gila River Telecommunications, Lone Butte Corporation, Gila River Sand and Gravel, and Partnership with Native Americans. Three Precious Miracles maintains partnerships with Vans Shoes Outlet, New Beginnings Youth Home Volunteers, and Partnership with Native Americans.
Although Three Precious Miracles receives donations, the organization is not funded by any grants, entities or the GRIC tribal government and everyday operations are maintained by the Executive Director and a gracious volunteer helping the Three Precious Miracles office to stay open three days a week for a total of 12 hours. Aside from operating the organization, founders Elisia and Tecumseh Manuel work full-time and parent five foster/adopted children. The two have amazingly huge hearts and spirits, devoting their lives to raising their children, providing for the needs of many families and youth through Three Precious Miracles, hosting cultural events as well as, periodically, opening their home for temporary placement of children transitioning into foster care.
Three Precious Miracles needs support: volunteers, financial, cultural and mentor-ship support. The organization plans to create a parent/grandparent support group and a mentor-ship program, pairing a Native youth with a mentor from the same cultural group. In order to keep the doors open, to operate a facility to store donations and resources, to continue partnerships and provide services to Native youth in foster care and to grandparents raising grandchildren – Three Precious Miracles needs the support of the foster care community and everyday people.