This month’s Ampersand Award is being presented to a very special project called, “It’s My Very Own,” in New Market, Virginia. This program identifies children who are being removed from their homes by Child Protective Services, and offers a “Bag of Love” to each displaced child. These Bags of Love provide essentials like new socks and underwear, a toothbrush and toothpaste, a hairbrush and shampoo, a blanket, pajamas, clothing, and sometimes even a toy or stuffed animal, all packed in a nice, durable carry-bag that is the child’s to keep.
When a child is removed from his or her home, they typically have very few, if any, possessions to take with them. And when they do have belongings to transport, a trash bag is often the only “suitcase” available to them. A Bag of Love sends the message to these kids that they are worthy of more than a trash-bag suitcase and old clothing. They are being told that someone cares about them. With their new bag and its contents, these children now have something of value to call their own, even as they bounce from home to home during their stay with Child Protective Services. The bags help give these vulnerable kids a sense of consistency and autonomy during what is a very difficult time in their lives.
We’d like to thank It’s My Very Own for raising awareness of the immediate needs of children in the foster care system, and for organizing this much-needed and meaningful project in our community. Our firm is supporting the work of the Shenandoah chapter this month, and we encourage others join us.
If you are interested in supporting It’s My Very Own and the Bags of Love project, you can learn more at It’s My Very Own’s website. You can also contact the Shenandoah County Chapter in New Market at 540-740-4567.