Donation drive to aid foster kids by new club on campus

Laurel Kraus, Life Editor

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When foster children cross a person’s mind, it can be easy to think only of those who have been placed with families, rather than of those who are still floating through the system.

Friends of Foster Kids is a nonprofit that began in Macomb County, but has expanded into Oakland County that works to provide these children with the items and aid they need, and is where Oakland University student Alma Dukovic discovered her passion for this cause.

In Macomb County alone, there are approximately 900 children in foster care each year according to Danielle Ligocki, assistant professor in the Department of Teacher Development and Educational Studies.

“I really started to grow interested in helping out foster children, especially in our own community, after realizing just how many cases there were,” Dukovic said. “I looked for organizations at Oakland to see if I could find any that actually address that work toward assisting foster children, and I couldn’t quite find any.”

Students for Friends of Foster Kids was born out of this search with Dukovic as president and Ligocki as adviser, due in part to her past experience teaching high-poverty, high-need students in Illinois. The club officially began this semester and has six members so far.

“Their main goal is really just to make sure that foster kids know that they’re supported and that they’re loved and that there’s a place for them,” Ligocki said. “And it’s also just to help the transition possibly from high school to college, [and] to support times of birthdays and holidays, and times when they might be in need of extra support.”

Dukovic reported the club is divided into with two main focuses. The fall semester revolves around the holidays and gathering gifts for the children, while the winter semester concentrates on adolescents that are seniors in high school and trying to make the transition into college a bit easier.

The Foster Love Drive, from March 5 to 16, will be the first official activity of the club, and will be held in both Pawley Hall and the Oakland Center.

“I think the biggest issue was what can we do to make an impact and get the organization going on campus,” Ligocki said. “So, by being physically available in two different locations across campus, we thought it was a great to kind of get physical which might garner support and a greater membership in the organization.”

The donation drive is requesting school supplies and hygiene products based off wish lists sent to the parent organization Friends of Foster Kids, and because these products can be used year round.

The drive will also be used to judge the response to it and plan future activities, including potential fundraisers such as bowling alley nights or restaurant nights, around that.

“Even single donation that they make is going to help a foster child, even the smallest of donations, that extra notebook that you have would aid a child,” Dukovic said. “I think it’s integral for us as human beings to care, to love and to help the people around us that are in need, and this is going to give back to our community.”