advocates for children, v3, readv3, cartersville, bartow

As the 2020-2021 school year quickly approaches, Advocates for Children’s staff members are seeking donations to equip shelter residents for a new season of learning.

“Mechanical pencils, notepads, Wite-Out and pens are always needed,” said Dawn Landrum, Flowering Branch Children Shelter’s manager. “Gift cards to clothing stores — Target, Kohl’s, Academy Sports — are always needed to purchase clothing and shoes for our kids, and gift cards to Walmart/Publix/Kroger are always needed for food and supplies.

“It’s important to provide for our kids so that they have their best chance for success. When kids have all the necessary supplies along with love and support, they feel more confident and therefore perform better.”

Those interested, can drop off gift cards at the children’s shelter, 49 Monroe Crossing S.E. in Cartersville, or mail them to P.O. Box 446, Cartersville, GA 30120.

“Unfortunately, many of our youth that gets placed at FBCS previously didn’t have many opportunities to go shopping for their own school clothing and/or school supplies,” Landrum said. “They would often wear hand-me-downs and/or donated items. Some of our youth also experienced school semesters without the necessary school supplies to succeed or perform their best, such as scientific calculators, large binders, backpacks, etc.

“Our residents would have the opportunity to handpick their own items with these donated gift cards. Our youth would be able to pick out their own creative outfits that display each youth’s personal style. When our kids feel like they look their best, they perform their best. Having all of the necessary supplies for school also enhances their academic performance.”

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Underscoring the nonprofit’s appreciation for the public’s ongoing assistance, Advocates for Children Development Director Nathan Kongthum said, “We are so blessed and grateful to have the support from the Bartow community.”

To further assist “disadvantaged” youth, Advocates is generating funds through its Back to School campaign. “As students prepare for the start of a new school year, the impact of poverty on a child’s educational outcome can be devastating, especially during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis,” stated Advocates’ Facebook page. “In light of this, Advocates for Children is launching the 2020 Back to School Appeal to help disadvantaged children in our communities. Go to advochild.org/back2school or text Bck2school to 41444 to support children during this challenging time.

“Every dollar counts as you can help provide a child with daily necessities and school supplies, such as book bags, clothes, transportation to and from school, extracurricular activities and sports equipment. As we all know, donating at the start of a term is a great contribution to any child, but a donation to Advocates not only helps with daily necessities but also contributes to their educational goals for a better future.”

Established in the 1980s, Advocates for Children assisted 6,723 area youth and 2,118 adults in 2019. Along with Flowering Branch Children’s Shelter, the nonprofit provides numerous programs that aid in the awareness, prevention and treatment of child abuse.

“The Flowering Branch Children’s Shelter opened in the ’80s for homeless youth in Cartersville,” Landrum said. “It has grown to be known as one of the programs within Advocates for Children. It provides a loving home for up to 12 youth ages 7-21, but typically has teenagers.”

At this time, Flowering Branch is serving six youth, ages 16 and 17.

“For kids in foster care, a sense of belonging may start with belongings,” Landrum said. “The anguish of being uprooted and entering a strange ‘home’ and having been treated as if you and your belongings are trash is something no child should have to experience.

“Some communities may see these kids as forgotten, invisible, or even bad, but really they are your kids, my kids, they are our kids. They do not belong to the system, they belong to us, to you, and they deserve the dignity of being afforded the opportunity to shop for their own belongings.”