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Gift for a Child was founded in 2005 when our founder Rene Gunn with the support of U.S. Bank Vice Chairman, Pamela Joseph decided they wanted to improve the lives of children in foster care by creating a sustainable network of businesses and individuals to connect youth to caring adults, support their education needs and provide transitional living life skills. These two women with a board represented by business leaders, healthcare professionals and educators are mobilizing volunteers to donate their time, talents and resources to make a difference in the lives of foster youth.

Our Impact and Solutions

We Mobilized the Business Community and Individuals to Help Foster Youth

  • 2010 was the kickoff for Real Life Prep. 25 businesses helped  foster youth get prepared for life after foster care. This event included career planning, medical checkups, financial money management, how to purchase or rent a home, how to make purchasing decisions and even included the launch of our  first "Foster Authors" event featuring a book written by a foster youth alumni.
  • In 2009, we launched our first "Gift a Difference House Party" to bring together friends, families, neighbors and their children to hear about the needs of teens without families. Everyone in attendance brought a gift to wrap and then selected a photo of a teenager from a giving tree to receive their wrapped gift. 
  • From 2005 - 2010: Professional photographers have had an invaluable impact on our work helping children find families. Over the last 5 years, over 100 professional photographers have donated their time and talents to help photograph children in foster care.

Youth Academic Achievements and Special Occasions Were Celebrated

  • Annually we partner with the state of Georgia and community partners to celebrate the achievements of youth in foster care graduating from college, high school or receiving their GED. During this event, we feature a photographic exhibit and stories of the wonderful accomplishments of foster youth. Since 2006, we've featured 15 youth annually during this event. In 2010, the exhibit will be even bigger. Last year we gave 350 youth a Celebration of Excellence bag and a gift card to honor them for their achievements.
  • Our team and volunteers love to have fun so we are looking forward to the first "Party for a Child" event this year celebrating the Sweet 16 birthday of teens in foster care.

Youth Were Provided With Opportunities to Learn and Experience Something New

  • There were lots of smiles and big eyes during "Adventures for a Child" when we took foster your in Georgia to an adventure at the Albany Aquarium. 
  • There was more than just food during "Dine for a Child" for older youth in Tennessee at the Nashville Aquarium Restaurant. This event included a little style makeover and, of course, a photo opportunity.  
  • During "Portraits for a Child", foster youth in North Carolina experienced a fun day of pizza and photos at Discovery Place Charlotte. The day ended with us handing out backpacks to every child in attendance.
  • In 2007, our "Golf for a Child" event partnered foster youth with individuals from the business community for a day to learn how to play golf.

Special Moments Were Captured and Memorialized

  • With the help of writers, videographers, photographers, publishing companies and printers, our "My Write Story" events are helping educate communities about the true life experiences of children without families.
  • Some older foster youth appreciated a personal makeover during "Style for a Child". During this event, hair stylists, makeup artists and barbers donated their time.

We've Received Awards and Recognition for Our Work

  • Child welfare agencies in both Georgia and North Carolina have honored Gift for a Child on numerous occasions for our work on behalf of children in foster care. Our proudest moment came last year when we received an award from older youth in foster care because of our presence in their lives and advocacy work.

Foster Youth Connected to Forever Families

  • Several children now have a forever family because of the "Heart Gallery Southeast/Picture Adoption" mobile exhibits and events we launched in 2005. From business office complexes to museums and galleries, the story of children in foster care at these events have connected the youth we serve to their forever family.
  • Gift for a Child events are designed to raise awareness about the unique needs of these youth by informing the public that they didn’t ask to be removed from their families, they don't want to be homeless and they really need a family. We've had events at Imagine It Children’s Museum of Atlanta, Concourse Atlanta, Bank of America Plaza, Wachovia Building and the Government Center in Charlotte.