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COMMUNITY SPOTLIGHT: Bakersfield Angels

COMMUNITY SPOTLIGHT: Bakersfield Angels

December 02, 2020
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Charpentier Wealth Strategies is not only dedicated to helping our clients with their financial futures, we’re also active in the community as well. That’s why when we find an organization that’s doing amazing things in the Bakersfield and Kern County area, we want you to know about them.

We recently learned about the Bakersfield Angels and couldn’t wait to share this organization with you. So, we sat down with their president, Allison McClain who gave us the scoop about who they serve, what they do, and how we can get involved.

Tell us a little bit about Bakersfield Angels.

Bakersfield Angels is a local chapter of a national foster care non-profit that was created to help empower children and build sustainable foster homes. We are a community of people that walk alongside foster children and their caregivers by offering consistent monthly support through intentional giving, relationship building, and mentorship. 

Our two programs, Love Box Program and Dare to Dream, utilize a trauma-informed, wrap-around service model that strengthens relationships between foster families, foster youth, and bio-families. Our volunteers are everyday people that sponsor a local foster family or youth with monthly care packages meeting practical needs while spending quality time with the whole family building positive community. They are changing the way kids and parents experience the foster care system. 

At Bakersfield Angels we believe in the power of love and the value of friendship and positive role models for kids in foster care. We want to connect people passionate about making a difference in the foster care community to our most vulnerable children that have experienced neglect and abuse and the selfless parents who care for them.

What inspired you to bring a piece of this national organization to the Bakersfield area?

Two years ago, I heard a podcast with the CEO of National Angels, Susan Ramirez. On the podcast she was sharing national statistics regarding youth in foster care that were hard to believe - for example, 50% of our homeless population has spent time in foster care, only 50% of youth in care will graduate high school, 97% will not graduate college (even though as wards of the state they have free tuition to any state school), and 60% of child sex trafficking victims come from the foster care system. 

Yet, Susan led with so much hope. She talked about how studies show that relationships heal trauma and how every child deserves to have at least one healthy adult that knows the color of their eyes and the passions of their heart. Finally, she said, “Not everyone is called to foster and not everyone is called to adopt, but EVERYONE can make a difference in the life of a child.” I knew right then and there that God was calling me to not just feel compassion for these kiddos, but to actually take action.

Can you tell us one of your favorite stories about a child or family you’ve served?

We just launched our programs in September and already there are so many incredible stories I could tell. One of the most recent matches we made was nothing short of miraculous. We had served a single foster mama back in June by purchasing her three kiddos (a sibling set ages 3-6 years old) new bikes, helmets, art supplies, and Lego sets to keep them busy and active during Covid. She let us know then she would love to be one of our first Love Box families in our program. 

Fast forward to now - we reached out to her and this mama told us that because of the children’s complicated trauma background she would love some encouragement and camaraderie as she continues the courageous work of foster care. We were able to match her with a wise, positive Love Box Leader who raised six children as a single mom - three of whom are a sibling set adopted out of foster care. She was drawn to the Love Box program because she wants to encourage foster parents that they will “survive” this difficult parenting season! She also has time and loads of Grandma-type love to give! The craziest part is when we contacted this Leader about her possible match she said she had spotted this very same foster mama at church a few months prior to the Bakersfield Angels launch and felt drawn to reach out to her. Supernatural stories like this continue to fuel our fire to reach every single child and family experiencing foster care in Kern County with our programs.

Tell us a little more about your programs.

We have 2 programs, Love Box and Dare to Dream. The Love Box program pairs foster families with volunteers who are matched based on compatibility and needs. They offer support through intentional giving that takes place through a monthly Love Box drop off including items such as groceries and meals, clothing and shoes, household supplies and letters of encouragement. Volunteers also spend time with the families, celebrating birthdays and cheering kids on at sporting events. Meeting the whole family’s needs helps provide normalcy and resilience. The heart of the Dare to Dream program is to walk alongside youth as they navigate through life's challenges. The youth in our Dare to Dream program need the wisdom, advice, encouragement, and community that mentors can provide. Mentors meet practical and emotional needs as well as provide guidance through developmental milestones, such as opening a bank account, writing a resume and getting a driver’s license. The goal is for youth to be engaged and to feel supported and equipped to navigate life. A mentor commits to meeting with the youth every other week to set goals and help them achieve their dreams.

How can people get involved (especially right now as we’re social distancing)?

So many ways to get involved! 

Thank you, Allison, for taking the time to provide this information! We look forward to seeing your success in the Kern County community.

Debbie Charpentier has been serving clients since 1989 by using a holistic, comprehensive approach that helps clients create the life they value and the legacy they envision. Charpentier Wealth Strategies is a Bakersfield, CA Financial Planning practice that offers fee-based financial planning services. To contact Debbie, email Debbie.Charpentier@LFG.com. http://charpentierwealth.com/  Debbie Charpentier is a registered representative offering securities and investment advisory services through Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp., (Member SIPC). Charpentier Wealth Strategies is not an affiliate of Lincoln Financial Advisors. CRN 3345813-112420