MaryAnne’s Kids is a special fund established to provide opportunities for children in foster care that would otherwise be unavailable to them, as they are not typically paid for through the State foster care system. By providing these children the means to pursue special interests in music, dance, art, sports, summer camps and extra-curricular education, we hope to offer a positive influence that will remain with them throughout their lives.
The MAK Fund is administered by the nonprofit Center for Human Development (CHD), furthering its mission of supporting children and adults alike with respect and dignity.
MaryAnne’s Kids was established in 2000 in memory of MaryAnne Sadak-Eklof, who cared for many foster children before passing away just before Christmas in 1999 at the age of 46. The MaryAnne’s Kids Fund (MAK) was created in 2000 in her memory by her sister Eva Santaniello, who threw her heart into MAK until her own untimely death in 2007. Still, the fund lives on through the many people touched by MaryAnne and Eva, the staff of CHD and the foster children themselves. MaryAnne’s Kids is administered through CHD’s Children and Families programs.
How Your Contribution Helps
A common misconception exists that foster children are different from other children. This could not be further from the truth. Foster children are just that—children. They participate in the same activities as other children. They go to school, play sports, have hobbies and join clubs. MaryAnne’s Kids uses the funds it raises to make sure foster children have access to these childhood experiences, and so much more.
MaryAnne’s Kids is very grateful to Pride Stores, their amazing employees, and to all of their customers! Why – read all about it by clicking here!
Some of the many things that MaryAnne’s Kids Fund has provided to foster children over the years include:
Driver’s education courses
Formal attire for proms and graduations
Clothes for a family funeral
Fees and uniforms to join sports teams
Children & teen workshops
Basketball camp and equipment
Reliable transportation for a teen mother,working and living independently
A specialized bicycle for a young child suffering from partial paralysis
Birthday wishes (concerts, makeovers, pedicures, manicures)
And much, much more!
Please give today!
Here are a few examples of the ways Mary Anne’s Kids helps kids be kids
During February school vacation, two case workers took five foster children to the movies to see ‘The Nut Job’. This was an opportunity to enjoy seeing a movie, and also spend time with peers. One of the children had never been to see a movie. His eyes were wide with excitement when he saw the size of the big screen! He loved it and can’t wait to see another movie!
Pictures of our childhood are such an important piece of the puzzle when we look back at our lives. For many of the foster children we work with, pictures are something that either get lost in the shuffle, get lost while moving or never get taken. Getting senior pictures done is something many young adults look forward to. It’s once in a lifetime. Thanks to MAK, one teenager in the program had the opportunity to have her makeup and hair done and then sit for her senior pictures. The highlight of the experience was being able to share one of her photos with her mother. Her mother had struggled with substance abuse for many years and just recently maintained a full year of being clean and sober. This young lady would be the first in her family to graduate high school. She has aspirations to teach in an inner-city school.
One of the foster children in the program is a developmentally delayed 11 year old with mental health issues. She was abandoned at DCF by her biological mother, who has similar issues. With the help of MAK, a social work intern from an area college has had the opportunity to meet weekly with her for the last few months and bring art materials with her so that this young lady can make art projects. She has since completed several drawings and paintings and is looking forward to having her own art show at CHD. She plans to invite her DCF worker as well as a former foster parent. She has developed a sense of pride in herself!
One of the teens in the program has been in foster care with CHD for four years. Her biological parents have substance abuse issues and their whereabouts are unknown. She doesn’t have any other family in the area. She is a technical high school, where she is studying cosmetology. With the help of MAK funds, her caseworker was able to purchase nail polish and other supplies so that she could host a nail clinic at CHD. She charged staff at CHD $5.00 for a mini-manicure. This teenager will continue to offer her nail services at CHD. She is currently saving the money for her future. Some of these savings will go to a School Trip to Japan in 2015.
LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION!!! For one of our younger foster children, MAK funds were used to purchase items needed for her to participate in a school play. She stepped out on the stage and the delight on her face was priceless.
For many of the youth that we work with, playing sports is not something they are often able or brave enough to do. Most have not had the opportunity to attend camps when they were younger. One of the older teens in the program recently tried out for and made the Varsity Baseball team at his high school. MAK funds were utilized to pay for his uniform fees and purchase all the equipment he needed, such as a glove, cleats, and batting gloves. Playing baseball is keeping this young adult off the streets, busy and doing something positive with his life. He is very proud of himself and he is making positive connections with his coaches and teammates.
Fun in the Sun! That’s what the older kids were able to have last summer thanks to MaryAnne’s Kids! We swam in a lake on a beautiful summer day. Most of the kids had never swum outside of a pool. They loved the fresh air and were able to enjoy an outside lunch including watermelon! They participated in a nature scavenger hunt and found spiders, mushrooms, slugs, salamanders, nests and different kinds of bugs. One of the kids said they never wanted the day to end!
With bug spray in hand the older kids ventured to Stanley Park. While most of the kids played basketball, some laid in the grass while others worked over the grill. Thanks to MaryAnne’s Kids, they were able to cook up a wonder outdoor feast. Though some hated the bugs, all cherished the green of the park, and everyone enjoyed the adventure.
A 16 year old developmental delayed girl who cannot be in the community without supervision was brought with her CHD Caseworker to Six Flags New England. It would have been challenging for her foster parent to take the time and money to go to Six Flags with her. She says it was one of the Best Days Ever!! She got to ride the rides to her hearts content, eat massive amounts of junk food, swim, play games and just Be A Kid. Today, she still thanks us for making that day happen…