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Self pride: The key to success

It's almost that time of year again. School will start soon and families will begin to readjust schedules.

For most students, back to school means new clothes, new shoes, school supplies, and book bags. Moms and dads take their children shopping to make sure they have everything they need. Students want to look their best. For many children, the most difficult decision on the first day of school is what to wear. For foster children, the fears and anxiety associated with the beginning of a new school year can be overwhelming. These children do not know if they will have what they need or where it will come from, as their situations have left them without parents or a permanent home. The Foster Children's Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, was created to address many of these issues.

Among many of the projects and programs sponsored by the Foster Children's Foundation is a back-to-school drive that takes place in midsummer and helps provide needed items to foster children for their return to school. The drive collects a variety of items that are taken to the Clothing and Needs Center in Duluth, where volunteers make sure the items get to the children in need. Since foster children range in age from birth years old to 18, there are many different types of supplies that are needed.

Lists of needed items can be found in stores that sell school supplies and include things such as book bags, binders, filler paper, notebooks, rulers, pencils, pens, calculators, markers, lunch boxes, Kleenex, glue, colored pencils and much more. Many donors provide individual supplies while others fill a book bag with everything a child will need. To help foster children become successful in school and ultimately in life, they must be provided with the necessary tools.

A good education is critical to these children's future. In many cases, school is one of the few consistencies in the life of a foster child. Therefore, it is up to each of us to help these forgotten children fit in. While fulfilling material needs, many emotional needs automatically improve. Children who have what they need and feel good about themselves do better in school. Confidence and self-esteem are characteristics needed to help these children succeed socially and academically.

If you, your company or others you know want to make a difference in the life of a child, you can help by holding a back-to-school drive, donating funds or volunteering at the center.

"People Helping People" is a weekly column written by the executive directors of nonprofit organizations in Gwinnett County.

Suzanne Geske is director of the Foster Children's Foundation Inc. For details on how you can help, please call the Foundation at 770-623-6135 or e-mail info@fosterchildrensfoundation.org or visit the Web site www.fosterchildrensfoundation.org.