The Schenectady County Community College Student Volunteer Organization (SVO) went to work this November putting gift bags together to donate to Fostering Futures NY (FFNY), a non-profit program in the Capital Region that provides support to foster families.
Students in the SVO, with their advisor Professor Renee Adamany, assembled 18 gift bags for local foster parents, filling SEFCU donated back packs with perfume/lotion gift sets, chocolate and water bottles, and jewelry for the women and socks for the men. Each gift bag also includes a cozy scarf knitted by Sheri Bergeron of the College Store. Students raised money through a raffle on campus to purchase the items that will bring holiday cheer to foster parents.
“I think what we are doing for FFNY is very important, because these foster parents are putting in so much love and care for their foster families and they need to know that their good work is much appreciated,” Gishana said. “I feel very rewarded knowing that we will put smiles on their faces and make them feel loved and valued as well.”
“It’s important to let the families know that they’re appreciated,” Allison said. “I couldn’t do what they do, and it brings us joy knowing how much being remembered means to them since people usually focus most, if not all attention, on the kids.”
This is the first year that the SVO has partnered with Fostering Futures NY. FFNY recruits and coordinates teams of volunteers to provide practical help to foster families caring for children placed in their homes. “Fostering Futures NY has been privileged to have an amazing and supportive community partner in SCCC and the SVO,” said Meredith Osta, Program Director. “It has been especially gratifying to see the students take a hands-on approach and get involved in helping support local foster families.”
Professor Adamany discusses the foster care system and the importance of foster parents in her Introduction to Social Work class and through the club. She is on the Advisory Board for FFNY and brought the idea for the project to the club with the students jumping on board to assemble the gift bags as a service learning project.
“The students have a passion for foster families and really enjoy contributing to improving the lives of these families,” Professor Adamany said.
Sarah Petrak is a student assistant with the Office of Communications and New Media for SUNY System Administration. She is a studying Public Policy at the University at Albany.