Sunshine House Families Help Foster Children in Charlotte Area
By Jennifer Brown
When The Sunshine House in Ballantyne, NC, learned of the efforts of a group of local elementary students to support foster children in their community, they couldn’t wait to pitch in.
Nearby Waxhaw Elementary School’s production of the musical about a well-known orphan, “Annie” just happened to feature one of the center’s students in its cast. And the cast – an all-student ensemble – had decided to share more than just music in their show.
“Their wish was to deliver a message through this amazing musical and reach out to the community to help foster children in need,” said Sunshine House Director Eva Curis.
So, Curis and Assistant Director Yvette Murphy began collecting toothbrushes, toothpaste, underwear, diapers, socks and other personal items from Sunshine House families and staff to make “Goodnight Bags” for children in foster care. They also added a book, a toy, and a blanket or other “lovie” to personalize each bag.
“We wanted to do something very special; something that would bring comfort and possibly a smile to a foster child during their transition time,” said Curis.
When The Sunshine House delivered more than 20 Goodnight Bags and additional items to Waxhaw Elementary, school administrators were so excited, they got the stars of the show out of class and into character to pose with the donations!
“Our families were phenomenal through this event,” said Curis. “This was more than collecting items for ones in need. This was a perfect moment for parent education as well. We had families go and see this amazing musical with their children, taking advantage of this perfect teachable moment to have them understand what foster care means.”
And the center isn’t done yet. Several families have vowed to donate items in lieu of birthday gifts for their children’s birthday parties this spring.
“It starts early and it starts with us, parents and teachers, showing children how important it is to give back to those in need,” said Curis. “Every moment is a teachable moment for children and for us.”
If you’d like to contribute to the center’s efforts to collect items for children in foster care in Union County, NC, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.