If you're still looking for a New Year's resolution, consider helping a foster child by becoming a mentor. There's a big need right now. About a hundred foster kids in San Diego County are on a waiting list to be matched with a mentor.
So if you're not in a position to adopt, but want to make a positive impact on a child's life, here's a program that could be the perfect fit.
The one person 11-year-old Nicholas knows will be there for him on a regular basis, is his mentor, Daylene. He says he sees Daylene every week and sometimes twice a week - the visits Nicholas describes as "awesome!"
Nicholas lives in a group home and Daylene is able to provide him with the one-on-one attention Nicholas needs and deserves and looks forward to.
"He's been playing football, so we've been going to his football games recently, which has been good. He likes to play quarterback and he's got a nice throw," said Daylene.
Daylene has taken Nicholas fishing, to Legoland and a Chargers football game - even meeting some of the players. Having a mentor gives Nicholas an opportunity to build a bond with someone he can trust and a chance to explore San Diego and have some fun.
"Ice skating, we go to Applebee's or Denny's that's like his favorite," said Daylene.
Daylene has been Nicholas' mentor for a year, but there's a shortage of mentors to fill the need of foster kids in San Diego County.
"We definitely have a wait list, we have about 100 youth that are on our wait list. And we have primarily boys, we have about 80 boys and 20 girls and we have a lot of teenagers that are also on the wait list," said Noreen Harmelink with the Foster Youth Mentor Program.
So, San Diego County is actively recruiting mentors - both male and female - and asks that you make a one year commitment and spend at least two hours a week with the child you're matched with. It's a couple of hours that mean the world to kids like Nicholas, who gives Daylene two thumbs up.
And Daylene feels the same way about Nicholas, who adds a lot of laughter and joy to her life.
"I don't have kids of my own. So I've always taken a passion for kids and helping those, especially the ones are in need of someone who is consistent in their life, and that's really what this program is about, is consistency and making sure you're always there, because you are the one person that's there for them all the time," Daylene explained.
Mentors must be at least 18-years-old, have a California driver's license and auto insurance. The application process involves a comprehensive background check and an interview.
For more information on San Diego County's Foster Youth Mentor Program call 619-767-5222.
Wednesday, May 22 2013 4:08 PM EDT2013-05-22 20:08:18 GMT
In many ways Leward is a typical 11-year-old boy, he likes eating out, going to the movies and playing video games. But what Leward is missing is a family.
There is an urgent need to find a forever home for a 12-year-old boy. Leward is living in an emergency children's shelter right now, and what worries him most in life is not knowing where he will end up. Leward simply wants what most kids take for granted.
Monday, May 6 2013 7:41 PM EDT2013-05-06 23:41:56 GMT
Not all children in the foster care system are looking to be adopted. The goal for many of them is reunification with their birth family.
Not all children in the foster care system are looking to be adopted. The goal for many of them is reunification with their birth family. However during that process, these kids need loving foster families to give them some stability.
Monday, April 29 2013 3:34 PM EDT2013-04-29 19:34:48 GMT
He's a 14-year-old boy who doesn't know what sharing Christmastime with family even feels like.
He's a 14-year-old boy who doesn't know what sharing Christmastime with family even feels like. Isaac says he's happy in his group home, because he knows no other life. This polite young man is in desperate need of a family to help guide him through these impressionable teenage years.
Monday, April 22 2013 2:06 PM EDT2013-04-22 18:06:27 GMT
Eliga is turning 13-years-old on Tuesday and like most kids his age he wants an iPod Touch or a PlayStation 3 for his birthday.
Eliga is turning 13-years-old on Tuesday and like most kids his age he wants an iPod Touch or a PlayStation 3 for his birthday. But unlike most kids his age, Eliga's birthday wish list includes finding a family to call his own.
Monday, April 8 2013 5:25 PM EDT2013-04-08 21:25:03 GMT
He's a 17-year-old boy that will require a lot of care and dedication from a loving family. Ryan has severe food allergies, is fed through a G-tube and has additional special needs.
He's a 17-year-old boy that will require a lot of care and dedication from a loving family. Ryan has severe food allergies, is fed through a G-tube and has additional special needs. Meet Ryan, who deserves a new start in the New Year and a family to give him love.