Fostering Connections St. Johns December newsletter

Dear Fostering Connections St. Johns Supporters,

I hope you and your family are having a wonderful holiday season! The holiday season is a wonderful time to celebrate the joy of the season with our family and friends and reflect on the blessings in our lives. It is a chance to give to love ones and to causes we care about.

I am so grateful to our board members, volunteers, and donors who supported Fostering Connections St. Johns and our local foster families this year.

We started 2019 as a brand new nonprofit organization founded by community members who are passionate about helping our local youth in foster care. We spent time connecting with the foster care system and community and assessing needs. Through working with our community, we began developing programs to help fill the gaps in services.

Chamber of Commerce Gift Card Collection

Thank you to the St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors and members for donating 21 holiday gift cards for our local teens in foster care and teen hygiene products for our monthly care packages at the SJCCC Women with Vision Council Chamber's Winter Soiree. Our local teens will enjoy going shopping and picking out their favorite items.

Fostering Connections St. Johns is proud to be a St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce member. We greatly appreciate the Chamber's support of our local teens in foster care!

Thanks so much to Island Prep for partnering with us to collect toys this holiday season. Student Ellie (daughter of board member Stephanie McFee) was excited to help us place bins! If you cannot donate toys, please consider donating funds to help us purchase items for foster families.

What A Year! In 2019, Fostering Connections St. Johns:

-Provided 61 care packages to children from newborn to age 17 transitioning into foster care, providing essentials and comfort items to help them transition into a new home.

-Gave clothing and needed essentials to 30 children in the St. Johns and Putnam County foster care system through our Backpack Brigade Closet program.

-Celebrated our local foster parents through donating 63 gift cards for Foster Parent Appreciation Month.

-Hosted a Back to School Bash for local foster families and gave away 34 gift cards for the children to go back to school shopping.

-Assisted with organizing a baby shower for a young adult in the Independent Living Program.

These programs were possible with the support of our donors and sponsors. Thank you for your partnership and support of our local foster families!

Holly Jolly Shopping Spree

Flagler Health +

Christie Chandler

Ctrl + Alt Design

The Gillis Law Firm

Jacksonville Business Connections

Journey of Faith Christian Church

Clukey & Tebault

Ms. Ronda York

St. Augustine Behavioral Health LLC

The Consulting Firm, LLC

Adam Lynn- Coldwell Banker Premier Properties

Joel Abo

Tricia and Paxton Hare

Katy Gillis Fitness

ABA Connection LLC

Kris Phillips- WFOY Radio

O2B Kids!

Palencia Pet Clinic

Amp Hardcore Gym

Chicken Salad Chick

The Kookaburra

We are supporting our local youth in foster care through filling the gaps in services, education, and awareness. Together, we can help all youth in foster care reach their full potential.

We are excited for 2020 as we expand our care package program into Putnam County and launch educational programs for our foster youth. We will be sharing our new programs and ways you can give support in our January newsletter.

I hope you and your family have a blessed holiday season and New Year!

Kind Regards,

Aubrie Simpson-Gotham, Founder & President

Exciting News and Recent Events!

Our Care Package Chair delivered our monthly care package delivery to the St. Johns County Family Integrity Program. Children receive a care package filled with essentials; hygiene products and comfort items such as coloring book stuffed animals and blankets when they first enter foster care to help make the transition a smoother one. We look forward to expanding this program into Putnam County going into 2020. Their current need is 20 bags per month.

You can help support our care package expansion by sponsoring a care package each month. For more information, please visit our website!

Bike Build Challenge!

Thank you to our student volunteers from the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences for helping to put together 19 bicycles for children on foster care to receive for Christmas. They worked very hard to ensure that each bike was put together with love and care. They also helped sort clothing that will help the Backpack Brigade Closet in Palatka get started.

Independent Living Program Baby Shower

Fostering Connections St. Johns assisted the Family Integrity Program Independant Living Coaches with hosting a baby shower for an expectant mother in the Independant Living Program who recently aged out of foster care. The shower was a great success and made the mom to be feel so loved! A special thank you to Chicken Salad Chick for donating food and our donors for donating a cake and some gifts. We have an amazing community that is so supportive of our foster youth!

Holly Jolly Shopping Spree - What a Huge Success!

Fostering Connections St. Johns was the primary beneficiary of the 2019 Holly Jolly Shopping Spree. The $5,000 dollar donation we received will provide care packages for children in St. Johns County transitioning into foster care. A special thank you to Holly Sipprell for planning this fantastic fundraiser for the past 10 years, the event sponsors, merchants, and shoppers for supporting local children in foster care.

Fostering Connections St. Johns' volunteer team is expanding!

We are in need of volunteers in the following areas:

Graphic Design Volunteers: Designing infographics for our website,creating logos for fundraisers,designing flyers for special events.

-Videography/Photography Volunteers: Assist with ongoing marketing needs to tell our story and make a difference in the lives of local children in foster care.

-Backpack Brigade Closet: Assisting with organizing and sorting clothing, shoes, and toys in our Backpack Brigade Closet and assisting with deliveries on an as needed basis.

-Advisory Council members

For full volunteer descriptions and to sign up for opportunities, please visit St. Johns Volunteers

Please join us at our upcoming event!

On the 29th day of the leap year, 2020, guests will be invited to come through the gates of the invitation only venue, Fantasy Farms, for a whimsical cocktail party. The evening will begin with a cocktail hour and heavy hors d'oeuvres. Local restaurants and mixologists will have their best hand crafted whimsical desserts and cocktails for guests to sample and vote for their favorites. After sampling the best whimsical desserts and cocktails, guests can enjoy live entertainment, bid on silent auction items, and explore Fantasy Farms’ vast property, which includes beautiful rescue animals, classic cars, and kitschy artifacts. Proceeds from Tipsy Tea will benefit Fostering Connections St. Johns' leadership programs and a college scholarship for youth transitioning out of foster care.

For more information or donation inquiries contact Aubrie with Fostering Connections St. Johns.

When you support Fostering Connections St. Johns, you are providing resources and bringing joy to St. Johns County children in foster care. You don't just give them a pair of shoes or clothing, you give them hope.