We are thrilled to announce the winner of Winspire's first Donation Give-Away drawing of 2018!
Congratulations goes to Kristin Melton, Marketing & Development Director at Bloom Our Youth. The Fayetteville, Georgia-based charity (just south of Atlanta) provides safe shelter and physical, educational, and emotional support to children who have been the victims of abuse, neglect and other tragic circumstances.
It's our honor to be able to donate a $1,000 Saks Fifth Avenue shopping spree for their use in an upcoming fundraiser.
After the drawing, we reached out to Melton to find out more about the cause and how the prize will be used to generate much-needed revenue.
Transforming Georgia's foster care
Bloom's mission is grounded in the belief that all children deserve the opportunity to achieve their personal best despite their circumstances.
Established in 1986 by Fayette County resident Jim Friday, the nonprofit was formed with the purpose of providing safe shelter and physical, educational, and emotional support to vulnerable children in order to strengthen them for the next phase of life.
One key service: The Bloom Closet. "Imagine being a young person who suddenly was removed from your home by the Department of Family and Children’s Services," Melton says. "You are scared, confused, and to make matters worse, without any possessions. This is a real scenario for nine out of ten children entering the foster care system."
With the Bloom Closet, foster youth are provided with new or gently used clothing, shoes, toys, toiletries, and supplies at no charge. What's more, the Closet is set up like an exclusive boutique so volunteers can shop individually with each child. In 2017, 3,000 foster children from 90 Georgia counties received $600,000 worth of clothing and essentials from The Bloom Closet - a 20 percent increase in children served year over year.
Studies show providing supportive services to foster parents increases the likelihood they will continue fostering children. The Bloom Closet program provides financial relief, which results in a higher retention rate among foster homes. Proof it works: 88 percent of Bloom foster families continued fostering youth in 2017, the third year in a row that Bloom saw an increase in foster family retention rates.
Another important service Bloom provides is recruitment and continuing education. The Team Bloom Foster Parenting program recruits, trains, supports and oversees families who are willing take in all types of foster children. The program offers individualized attention, fast response times and frequent visitations, a “Welcome Home” casserole program for new child placements, a resource library, referrals to professionals in the community, appreciation events, and year-long, regular networking and respite activities. As a result, Bloom was able to meet 92 percent more foster child referral demands in 2017. Additionally, 94 percent of the siblings referred to our program were able to be placed together with a Team Bloom foster family.
In order to set up foster families for success, Bloom provides monthly “Bloom University” classes. The Bloom U curriculum is comprised of evidence-based, trauma-informed trainings that address common issues that foster families face, such as caring for medically fragile children, ADHD, aggressive behaviors, and anxiety or depression.
Providing innovative, comprehensive support and basic necessities that foster children need to thrive is at the heart of everything Bloom seeks to achieve. One example of thriving: "Statistically, only 8 percent of Georgia foster children graduate high school. Of them, only 3 percent attend college," Melton shares. "This year, Bloom foster child J’Vonne graduated from Whitewater High School in Fayetteville and enrolled in Georgia Perimeter College."
Frocks & Rocks Charity Fashion Show
"Winspire News is very helpful and always offers great articles and tips" regarding nonprofit fundraising, Melton says. "One of our biggest challenges: competing with other nonprofits. We are located south of Atlanta in a very tight-knit suburb. Our county is wonderful about supporting local nonprofit organizations, but we struggle as there is much competition. Drawing more donors from the metro Atlanta area would be beneficial."
One of their most prominent fundraising events of the year is the annual Frocks & Rocks Charity Fashion Show. This year's show (the fifth annual) will take place August 26, 2018, presented by Melanie D. Designs.
The event is an exclusive ladies-only fashion show that connects women with local boutiques while raising funds for The Bloom Closet. Admission includes two drink tickets, hors’ deouvres, dessert, and a unique “Take Home the Runway” live accessory auction during the 30-outfit fashion show. Local gems such as Lizard Thicket, Fab’rik, Cobblestone Market, J.Andrew’s Bridal & Formal, Darling Divas, and Tribal Chick provide the runway fashions.
The afternoon also includes games, raffles, live and silent auctions, a modeling contest hosted by Starz Pageants, and shopping at the "Jewelry Bar" and "Handbag Bar." The $1,000 gift card will be used in the live auction, says Melton.
All proceeds raised from the event benefit foster children who utilize The Bloom Closet.
In the area? Check it out! Visit www.bloomouryouth.org/events/frocksandrocks for more information.
Our next prize
We know many of you have similar stories. The need in your communities grows every year.
So, you might be wondering... what are we giving away next??
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