Every now and again I like to share a little about who I am for those who may be new here.
I’m Maegan, an award-winning tech leader from Orange County. I also am a former foster care kid.
I grew up without a mom or dad.
My basic needs weren’t met.
Then I entered the foster care system, where I experienced everything that went along with that stigma.
In honor of May being Foster Care Awareness Month, I’d love to share my story with you.
I may not have lived the perfect Norman Rockwell-type childhood, but here I am, at the top of my game. And I’m successful in ways I never dreamed possible.
Which makes me eager to pay it forward to an organization that means so much to me. And that organization is named Orangewood.
Orangewood Foundation is an emergency shelter care facility for children who have been abused, abandoned, and neglected. It’s a 501(c)(3) operated and owned by the County of Orange Social Services Agency.
For those not familiar, Orangewood is a place for children to stay safe until the courts decide where they should be placed—either with extended family, in a group home, foster care, or another option.
With the help of various volunteer groups, Orangewood works hard to provide positively engaging and fun activities for the children that come through its doors.
These activities range from playing basketball to team building challenges to craft nights. They even work hard to bring in inspirational speakers, host career fairs, and help the children map out their paths forward based on their goals and dreams.
At the heart of their mission, Orangewood wants to show kids that there are people out there that care about their well-being and futures.
And, with the help of volunteers, their goal is to show love and bring light to those children who are in a dark place.
As a former foster child, I know how important places like Orangewood. I also know the importance of people like its volunteers are in a child’s life.
No matter how brief their time in that child’s life may be.
Organizations like Orangewood helped me take control of my journey and channeled my energy towards positive growth and self-improvement.
As part of National Foster Care Awareness Month, I highly encourage you to check out Orangewood—or a similar organization near you—to help bring light to children in the foster care system.
Because youth from the foster care system are more likely than their peers to drop out of high school, experience homelessness, be unemployed, and develop mental health problems and substance addiction.
Organizations like Orangewood work tirelessly every day to prevent this from happening. And to prepare foster and community youth to reach their greatest potential.
Interested in learning more about how you can assist Orangewood and its mission? Below are four easy ways to make a difference in the life of a foster child today.
- Join Orangewood for a virtual luncheon with celebrity chef Devin Alexander, a New York Times Bestselling Author best known as the Chef on NBC’s Biggest Loser. RSVP by clicking here.
- Gift a care package for a youth to help lift their spirits up.
- Like or follow Orangewood on social media. They can be found on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
- Donate to support Orangewood’s programs for foster and community youth.
What organizations have had an impact on you? I’d love to hear more about them in the comments below.