Foster*A*Life was the idea of psychologist, Dr. Shaun H. Keel, who spent over 30 years working with abused and neglected children including foster children on a regular basis. In working with thousands of these children, it has been heartbreaking to hear these children cry about losing their families. Of course, they also are distressed about the abuse or neglect they suffered. There are often comments from these children about not having things in life that most children want to have and what many children take for granted such as being able to play on a summer baseball team, having a birthday party or just shopping at the mall. As a mother, Dr. Keel always wanted to do more than she was able to do through her practice of psychology. Therefore, she created Foster*A*Life so that these “forgotten” children of the Lubbock area could have special dreams to help them feel important and to help improve their self-esteem. With the help of her friends and family, Foster*A*Life was established and the agency quickly began fulfilling foster children’s dreams. The first brainstorming meetings were held in Spring 2004 and Foster*A*Life was incorporated by June 2004.
There is a system in place to help these children be taken out of the cycle of abuse, but resources can only be stretched so far. Because of these limited resources, Foster*A*Life (IRS # 20-1336607) was organized. Foster*A*Life helps foster children or any child who is or has been involved with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS). Foster*A*Life provides services to children in Lubbock County and the 17 surrounding counties to have a dream come true or to receive special services. Prom dresses, playing on a baseball team, going to sports camps and taking gymnastic lessons have all been possible! The requests are as unique as each child. Our organization is growing as are the needs of these “forgotten children”. However, Foster*A*Life has several structured programs. A major program is “JOURNEY GEAR”, that provides suitcases that will help move the children’s possessions so that trash bags do not have to be used. We feel these children deserve some dignity during this trying time. Another program is the “HAPPY BIRTHDAY PROGRAM”. We found that many of these children do not have anyone to make them feel special on their important day so Foster*A*Life will provide this celebration for a child. A great program is “KIDS ART JOURNEY”. The mission of the “KIDS ART JOURNEY” is to promote the arts to these children and to “discover” talent that can be nurtured. An art contest allows the children to draw whatever they want. The children have drawn some fantastic masterpieces! Another program is “PROM EXPO” that provides the prom necessities including dresses, accessories and shoes for such a special night! Progress has been made with our major program. It is the “ANCHORS” program, which is a specialized program that helps children to adjust to being in foster care, promotes more foster placements and provides support to families adopting children. Another program is “PRESTON’S PURPOSE”. Preston represents all the foster children whose lives were cut short and never had time to find their purpose in life. This project will provide funds for former foster youth. Our latest program, “HOPE CHEST”, provides basic household needs for children who have graduated from high school such as a microwave, dishes, bedding, etc.
The mission of Foster*A*Life is to provide otherwise unavailable assistance, services and opportunities to children who are or have been involved with Texas DFPS. The purpose is to enhance the lives of those children who have been abused, neglected or abandoned. Foster*A*Life hopes to promote a more positive self-image and increase self-esteem by promoting the overall well-being of these children.
Help Us Turn Their Dreams into a Reality
Just for a moment, imagine what it would be like to live every day of your life in an environment of abuse and neglect – where your basic needs were not provided, where you lived in fear of being hit, where you wondered what tomorrow might bring, even if there would be a tomorrow? Fortunately, most of us do not ever have this experience, but it is a harsh reality for some children in our community. Foster children don’t choose this life, but you and I can choose to help them overcome it.
The HUB CITY BEACH PARTY is Foster*A*Life’s main fundraiser and it began in 2005. This event has been extremely successful and it continues to entertain hundreds! The ever popular Landsharks is the main focus of the event. This band has played for the HUB CITY BEACH PARTY every year and they continually put on a fantastic show. Those who have attended this event, experience Lubbock’s only beach complete with sand, water, beach umbrellas and sharks! Delicious food is also available!
The HOME RUN began in 2021. This event includes a fun run and family friendly activities. The main focus of the HOME RUN is awareness of the need for foster homes for children in the Lubbock area. It is also an event that will show foster children that there are people that care about them. The event also includes Child Placing Agencies (CPAs) that provide fun activities that will encourage people to attend the event. Also, participants will be able to learn how they can help our foster children even if they are not in a position to be a foster parent.