A room full of gifts, complete with good luck wishes... all from complete strangers. "It's God's work right there because I mean it's hard to go shop for someone you've never met in your life. It's a blessing. A blessing," says Brittany looking around the room.
The room is full of women from Oakland Heights Baptist Church in Longview. This Sunday school class is throwing a graduation party for Brittany, a local foster child.
"It's a terrific feeling, very uplifting. She's got a smile on her face. She's listening. She's participating and, you can tell, this is a special day for her and that's what we want," says Sandra Risinger, a church member.
After spending years in foster care, Brittany is about to be on her own. "I'm kind of scared about going to college and everything but it makes me feel more relieved to know that there are people out there that care about me and there is going to be help every step of the way."
Nancy Eldridge with Child Protective Services says, "People who host one of these graduation parties are helping a child that may not have any other help from someone. These children are turning 18, they're graduating from high school and they're leaving foster care all at the same time and that can be a pretty challenging time in their life."
These ladies from Oakland Heights say hosting one of these graduation parties is not only about giving, but receiving. "There's just something about this. You're setting a young person off on a new phase of their life and just to be a part of that and have something positive to share with them is just a blessing to us," says Sandra.
Brittany's caseworker Veronica Tate says, "This young lady will do well for herself. She's very smart. She's an all around good person and she has a big heart."
Gift after gift, wrapped with caring hands and packed with love. It's a day Brittany won't soon forget. It's a day that has changed her life, and helped set her sights on her future. "I want to be successful, living on my own and I just making my dreams come true!"
Brittany plans on attending Tyler Junior College and then moving on to a 4 year University. She plans a career in counseling. We wish her all the best.
If you'd like to help a graduating foster child in East Texas, call our Gift of Love hotline, toll-free, 1-888-kids-275.
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