ProMatura, a global market and research firm that was founded in Oxford over 30 years ago, expanded their reach even further Friday, March 31.
ProMatura has teamed up with Together We Rise, a national organization that helps create a better experience for children that are entering the foster care system in America.
In 2008, a young man named Danny Mendoza witnessed his 9-year-old cousin entering foster care. Medonza was young himself and was told that there was nothing he could do to help his cousin because he was under 21 years old. Mendoza would not be swayed and decided to create his own way to help children in foster care by founding the organization Together We Rise.
Every day over 1,000 children enter the foster care system in the United States. The children are taken away from situations and from their homes and families. They are given two trash bags to fill with the items they wish to bring with them. This sends a message to the children that their toys, their clothes and all the things that matter to them are worthless.
Together We Rise sponsors the ‘Sweet Case’ initiative that gives children entering the foster care system a duffel bag rather than a trash bag. The duffel bags are even stuffed with items such as coloring books, crayons, toiletries and a stuffed animal to comfort the child.
“When most children enter foster care, they are given a trash bag to gather their belongings,” said Kristen Paris, director of market research and academic engagement for ProMatura. “Sweet cases provide a much better alternative—a nice sized, sturdy duffel bag with a soft blanket, a teddy bear, a coloring book, a small toiletry bag with a toothbrush, and, of course, plenty of space for their clothes and toys.”
Paris became aware of this prevalent issue not only in the United States but specifically in Lafayette County when she and her husband became foster parents to a young boy less than a year ago.
“One of the reasons we chose Together We Rise to focus our volunteer and fundraising efforts is because my husband and I became first-time foster parents to a 2-year-old little boy from Lee County this past July,” Paris said. “When he was taken from his parents and brought to our home to stay, he had nothing with him—only the dirty t-shirt on his back… nothing to comfort him or remind him of home.”
ProMatura raised enough money to sponsor 70 duffel bags or ‘Sweet Cases.’ Friday, 40 volunteers, including the entire ProMatura group, gathered at ProMatura to decorate and pack the bags.
Local artist Cindy Aune also volunteered her time, supplies and talent. Once the bags were decorated and filled, they were donated to the Lafayette County Department of Human Services Office, the Lee County Child Protective Service Office, and other surrounding child protective service organizations.
“Lee County has such a huge need when it comes to the multitudes of children in their foster care system,” Paris said. “We at ProMatura see this ‘Sweet Case’ project as our small way of helping out and giving back.”
To find our more about ProMatura visit their website, and to find out more about Together We Rise visit their website.
Amy Goodin is a writer for HottyToddy.com. She can be reached at argoodin12
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