Palm Springs
99° F
Clear
Clear

Happier holidays for children in the foster network

Published On: Dec 21 2012 11:48:58 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 22 2012 12:14:05 AM CST
PALM SPRINGS, Cali. -


     The holidays can be a difficult time for the less fortunate and children separated from their families.
     Which is why the Family Health and Support Network holds a celebration every year to give foster children and impoverished families memories they will cherish forever.
     Elsa Aranda is a foster parent of six years, and she understands how difficult this time of year can be for the kids. "It's hard for them to understand that they have family with me but, they want to be with their own family. So it's hard for them, they understand that they cannot be right now with them. They miss them a lot," Aranda said.
     Sandra Austin founded the network in 2003, and this is the ninth consecutive year for it's Christmas celebration. Austin explained why the holidays can be tough. "Unfortunately in cases where there are large sibling groups they can't be placed together all the time and sometimes they're placed in different homes. So, we seek out to find their siblings and their parents even if they're on the road to reunification, and bring them all together for Christmas."
     Not only does the Family Health and Support Network try to reunite families for the holidays, but, it also gives them a celebration to remember.
     Holiday pictures are taken, music plays, bikes stand by to be raffled away...and mounds of toys wait to be distributed to deserving kids by volunteer helper elves.
     Gyenyame Maat is one of those helper elves. She told us she likes helping to see the kids faces light up. She also said, "Sometimes they don't have as much as the average person, and this is a way to make them feel as if they're like everyone else."
     With the help of BRAAF (Building Resilience in African American Families), the network is making sure foster families and those from impoverished areas are able to come together to and have a very happy holiday.
     Larry Nelson works with the children in BRAAF and told us, "The holiday here is all about being with family. So, if you can't be with your family it's tragic. So, this event is allowing all the families to come together. So that's what Christmas is about, that's what love is about, and that's what this event is about."
     The children in the family health and support network is always in need of donations and volunteers. You can visit their web page at www.fhsnet.org/