Chelsea Clark, a college sophomore, received the keys to a free 2006 Mustang this week -- a gift donated to her by Jaimee Brown, who chose to give her car to a young person who had been in foster care.
"It was definitely a gift to see her excitement,'' Brown said. "We are honored to be a small part of Chelsea's story. She's wonderful and we can't wait to hear what's ahead for her."
Chelsea, 19, is in the DCS Extension of Foster Care program and was identified by staff as the recipient that best would benefit from the gift. She lives on campus and has needed DCS staff to drive her places. The car gives her independence, which is what the DCS staff strive to offer young people who have aged out of foster care.
“I don’t have to be dependent anymore on anybody else taking me anywhere,'' Chelsea said. "And I get to have fun in it. Celebrate a blessing.”
As she got the keys from Brown, Chelsea was at a loss for words.
I told her Thank you. This is probably the best thing that ever happened to me," she said. "I am more than grateful. Extension of Foster Care
Extension of Foster Care
The Extension of Foster Care staff works with young people who age out of foster care to provide supports similar to what parents provide their young adults -- guidance on education, housing, finances and they offer mentorship and connections to the community. Young people in the program also receive educational vouchers, leadership opportunities and life skills instruction.
When Chelsea found out she was getting a car, the staff encouraged her to talk to trusted adults and figure out which was the best insurance for her and her budget.
"The staff makes sure you have everything you need. They offer the right support system for you. They don't steer you wrong, Chelsea said.
The Department of Children's Services cannot solicit donations, but can accept donations of things such as clothing, diapers, wipes, some furniture. Really, the list of items can vary from day-to-day and county-to-county.
The Resource Linkage staff in your county is often the best place to start if you are interested in making a donation or want to volunteer to help the staff assist a family in need. Resource Linkage often works with community partners to provide services to families whose children are at risk of coming into custody.
Donations made directly to DCS are not tax-deductible, but some county's have Community Advisory Boards that are set up as non-profits, so donations made to the boards would quality for tax benefits.
For more information locate the Resource Linkage staff closest to you by viewing the state-wide directory.