Gift Bags for OFA

The Orphan Foundation of America (OFA) is a nonprofit that helps former foster children become successful adults. In most states, foster youth leave the social services system when they turn 18. In the eyes of the court they’re adults, but few 18-year-olds are emotionally, mentally, or financially able to support themselves. Without someone to guide them, too many end up homeless, unemployed, incarcerated or pregnant. The OFA advocates for and provides services to foster teens.

In a project headed by Carpe Futurum member, Kristen S., our chapter helped bring some holiday spirit to these young adults who beat the odds and succeeded in making it to college by making them small, festive bags of goodies. These bags became part of larger care packages sent out by the OFA. We all know what Harry Potter’s life was like when he became an orphan and how nice it was when he received care packages and presents from his friends. We hope that these bags not only brightened their days and let them know someone was thinking of them, but that the gift also provided a much needed sugar rush during or after final exams for their college semester.

Our gift-bag making was a wonderful success! Some members donated money for supplies. Some members made bags on their own and donated them. And some members donated time on Tuesday, December 7 to assemble the bags of hot chocolate and candy (while listening to holiday Wizard Rock songs, of course). Each group was asked to make 50-100 bags and together we made 126 gift bags! Great work, Carpe Futurum!

A local reporter was also on hand to find out more about our project and our chapter of the HPA. Not only did she write a story on us and take some photos, but she also excitedly pitched in and helped us make the gift bags! Check out Julie Bergh’s story on us in the Giving Patch section of BurkePatch: We hope the story inspires others to help out in their communities. And if anyone reads it and wants to be a part of Dumbledore’s Army, they’re in the right place!

The article got some attention already. Ann Sharp, Senior Staff Assistant for Constituent Services of Braddock District Supervisor John C. Cook, sent us a wonderful, encouraging e-mail:

Hello –

My name is Ann Sharp and I work for the Braddock District Supervisor, John Cook. Part of my job is keeping an eye out for what the community is doing to help themselves and others, and I was fascinated with your Harry Potter/Carpe Futurum Chapter and what you have chosen to do to help those in need. Reaching out to those young adults leaving foster care is a great way to help, and I just want to congratulate you and your group for what you’ve chosen to do to help others during this holiday season.

I’m going to keep your organization bookmarked, and I look forward to seeing what other activities you may be doing over the next year.

I hope you enjoy your holidays.

Ann Sharp



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