Fostering a Brighter Future

30,000 children. 

That’s the number of minors in Los Angeles who are in the foster care system. Hoping to provide healing and restoration to these children, Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) has been working with Serenity, a local non-profit foster and adoption agency, to improve the lives of foster children as part of its annual community service project (CSP). 

In September 2019, the community service project committee, consisting of sophomore Natalie Cheng, sophomore Isabel Zhou and junior Prabhleen Kaur, decided to collaborate with Serenity after brainstorming ways to assist in key issues facing the community such as homelessness. 

“A lot of people who end up on the streets are often from foster care, so we wanted to do our part in trying to help that issue by making kids’ experiences in the foster care system better,” Kaur said. “It’s very fulfilling knowing that we are making a real difference in these kids’ lives. Knowing that this could be what changes their lives for the better is more than enough motivation to continue the work that we are doing.”

The FBLA committee members then organized weekly volunteering events in partnership with Interact at Serenity. They arranged activities for members to participate in, such as cleaning toys to improve sanitation, designing Valentine’s Day cards to boost spirit and decorating soda bottles for the holidays. 

“Volunteering has taught me to be grateful for what we have,” Kaur said. “Being able to do our part and help other people is very fulfilling. This project is our way to help out as members of our community. It’s our way of giving back.”

In addition, the committee designed posters to increase publicity for Serenity and the foster care system. These posters, which were posted around the school, detailed statistics about foster care. Through social media posts, which featured facts about the foster care system and invited people to donate, FBLA was also able to fundraise money for Serenity, raising a total of 500 dollars. 

“One of the aides in ASB [Associated Student Body] saw the poster and opened up about her involvement with foster care. Her siblings were adopted by her family, and they were with the foster care system. She was vulnerable with us, so it’s rewarding to see a stranger share [her] stories because of our posters,” Zhou said. “Before I started this project, I had little to no experience about what foster care was and how many people are affected. After talking to people, however, I understood how big of an impact [foster care] has made on children and the rest of America.”

FBLA was recognized by the Walnut City Council for its accomplishment with this project on Wednesday, Feb. 27, earning the city council award and a certificate of recognition from the Senate. 

“We were able to see physical evidence of the work that we had done and the accomplishments,” Zhou said. “When I joined FBLA, I didn’t expect to get opportunities outside of business and competing. Through the community service project, however, I was able to learn that FBLA is not only limited to the path of business: it also includes how every person can give back to the community, no matter if [he or she] is a student.”

By Raymond Dunn, Staff writer
Photo courtesy of Prabhleen Kaur