Everybody has a story. Some use their story to tell a bit about themselves to strangers or to give a timeline to their life.
But for children in adoption and foster care programs, those stories can mean a whole lot more.
At JFS AdoptionLinks, children waiting adoption make a “Lifebook,” a scrapbook designed to help with the adoption process or being in the foster care system.
“The Lifebooks help a child see and make sense of their life and their situation as not just today, but their past and into their future,” says Rachel Kuhr, director of AdoptionLinks.
When creating their Lifebooks, each child picks different colors, stickers, and other supplies to build their book, focusing on the people and things in their lives that they care about. The books help children connect to their own lives, as well as offer potential parents a life story from the child’s perspective.
Hannah Roth, a teen volunteer with the Lifebooks project, echoes Rachel’s words. “It’s a form of identity that they’re making for themselves,” she says.
Hannah started volunteering with AdoptionLinks, as part of her project for the Girl Scout Gold Award, providing child care for a parent support group. “I was helping out as a playmate,” she says. “I really wanted to help give them a night of fun each month, making it all about the kids.”
She was touched by the Lifebook program and wanted to do more to help. So, she began collecting donations of funds and supplies to go toward the scrapbooks. Through these efforts, she has raised more than $100.
Hannah says that she was drawn to help JFS because of its status as a faith-based organization. “The Jewish community has a big part of my heart,” she says. “Knowing that it’s Jewish Family Service, it resonated a little more with me.”
The Lifebooks program was recently the beneficiary of a unique collaboration with Jewish Federation and PJ Library, which donated supplies as part of it’s “Birthday Party” event on February 16th.
Still, the Lifebooks program is always looking for further contributions. Hannah says she plans to take her fundraising efforts to the next level by upcycling clothing to sell, and encourages others to contribute. “People can help by donating Michael’s gift cards, cash, scrapbook supplies, and more,” she says.
For more information about how you can help the life book program or AdoptionLinks at JFS, contact Rachel at 717-233-1681.