Funding for after school programs, Kids bday party places, Mommy classes

Cougs for Kids Coat Drive, Benefitting NW Region Foster Kids, Now Through December 14

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As the winter holidays creep closer, it’s easy to get caught up in the materialistic nature of the holiday season. But a Washington State University (WSU) Global Students organization called “Cougs for Kids” is putting the attention right back where it belongs, collecting warm winter coats and monetary donations for foster children in the Northwest region.

Cougs for Kids has partnered with Sleep Country Foster Kids for a Coat Drive, which started on Monday, November 3 and runs through Sunday, December 14, 2014. A donation bin has been placed in the WSU Spokane Campus Nursing Building, located at 103 E. Spokane Blvd., and the group is asking that all coat donations be either new or gently-used winter coats for children and teens.

Sleep Country Foster Kids is one of three programs that comprise the Ticket To Dream Foundation, which helps underprivileged children and people with disabilities, and distributes items and/or monetary donations to people throughout California, Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.

Sleep Country Foster Kids, in particular, was created in 2005 and has focused on helping the estimated 20,000 children living in foster homes throughout the Northwest region. The organization essential items, like coats and shoes, by working with regional groups to co-sponsor item-specific clothing drives; foster parents often have a hard time providing these expensive clothing items, which need to be replaced quite often for a growing child.

The organization also provides non-clothing items for foster kids, including school supplies and “Secret Santa” Christmas toys. It’s easy to forget that most foster children enter their temporary homes with few possessions– if any at all — and even the best foster families can struggle to provide toys and games that encourage the kids to learn and grow.

Washington state, in particular, has struggled with its foster care system recently. Most Americans are aware that foster care systems tend to be underfunded, and that the children in the system are more likely to live in unhealthy environments with very few toys and games that promote healthy lifestyles.

As more kids turn to expensive electronics (like TVs and computers) for entertainment — often averaging about seven hours per day in front of these glowing screens — children living in underprivileged homes are at a serious disadvantage. Foster children are often part of this group, either living with good foster parents who can’t afford new toys, or being shuffled around too often to really have toys of their own.

If residents in and around Spokane can’t make it to the coat donation box at WSU, or if they wish to help Cougs for Kids and Sleep Country Foster Kids provide other items, monetary donations are more than welcome. Cougs for Kids encourages everyone to visit the Sleep Country Foster Kids website ( ) if they wish to make a tax-deductible donation, or to visit the Cougs for Kids Facebook page ( ) and help spread the word. Visit here for more. More like this.

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