PW foster mom keeps children in transition ready with necessities
Foster children sometimes arrive at a home with next to nothing of their own, and a Pueblo West woman is doing everything she can to help provide those kids with things they need to make a transition easier.
Rebecca Shine is a foster parent in the Pueblo West community, and she’s created You Can Shine Bags for foster children.
The backpacks or diaper bags are filled with personal hygiene and comfort items to give to children in transition.
“A lot of kids are placed in a home with nothing but the clothes on their backs, and some foster homes are not as fortunate and don’t have a lot to offer except (basics),” Shine said.
“So what I started to do is gather backpacks and diaper bags and I’m putting in what’s necessary per child group.
“Toothbrushes and paste, diapers, a blanket, maybe a wallet for an older child, that kind of thing.
“They need ownership of something, so they don’t have to borrow and just give it back.”
Shine began putting the bags together and others urged her to take the project bigger, so she is using National Adoption Day, Nov. 22, as a kick-start for the You Can Shine Bags project.
National Adoption Day also will be a special day for Shine and her husband, Shane, because they will be adopting two children that day as well – a boy who has been in their care since he was born almost two years ago, and a little girl who just turned one who has also been with the family since birth.
After the adoption ceremony, Shine will hold an open house — open to the public — at their home to help promote the You Can Shine Bags.
“I’d love to see more people get involved. Come to the open house and bring some donations to fill up these bags,” she said.
Shine said since she began making the bags, she gets calls from foster care workers who will request she bring a bag for a child who has just been placed. By knowing the age and gender of the child, she can select the appropriate bag for delivery.
Shine was a nurse for 16 years, but put her career aside when she and Shane decided to take in foster children after raising three young men who are currently in college in the Denver area.
“There are a couple of major downfalls in these transition times with kids in foster homes,” Shine said.
“First, we don’t have enough homes, because the awareness is not out there, and there are children that desperately need a placement. There are only 21 licensed homes in our county, so a lot of them are getting shuffled out to El Paso County, which is unfortunate.”
To help with the You Can Shine Bags, contact Shine at firstname.lastname@example.org, or attend the open house from 2 to 8 p.m. on Nov. 22 at 843 S. Avenida Del Oro East.