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Inspired by a School Assignment, a WA Teen Raises Money for Foster Kids

Lucy Musler was given a school assignment this spring based on the book The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. Her Language Arts teacher asked the class to create a plan to help people who lack support systems in their community.

Musler, who is only 14, felt the idea resonate inside her. She created a plan to raise money and donate supplies to children living in foster care in Issaquah and the surrounding area.

Musler's teacher wanted a plan for the assignment but didn't expect anyone to execute their ideas. Lucy was determined to see the concept through to the end, creating a GoFundMe page to raise $400 to distribute to foster kids.

Her efforts raised over $3,000, which was then used to purchase essential items and donated to several organizations that support kids and provide preventative services.

Musler Pitched Her Idea to the School Fundraising Committee First

“My initial aim was a fundraiser held inside of my school,” said Musler, “so I pitched my ideas to the school fundraising committee. When that turned out to be a dead end, I decided to take the project to the internet. From there, I selected the organizations, formulated a budget, and set up the GoFundMe.”

Lucy says she’s lucky to have a safe home and a happy family, but she’s also a teen. A lot of the foster kids in Issaquah and Western Washington are her age, and she recognized that it could easily be her or a friend in that position. [[1]]

“That’s what makes this project important to me,” Musler said.

The money that Musler raised was used to buy essential supplies for foster kids, including toothbrushes, toothpaste, towels, and socks. She mailed the items to several organizations, including The New York Foundling, Treehouse, and Friends of Foster Children.

“There are over 500,000 children in foster care nationally,” Musler wrote on her GoFundMe. “These kids are homesick, angry, scared, and over half of them experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress. If we can make an impact, even just a small one, then we have to.” [[2]]

Lucy Has a Family Connection to One of the Organizations

After Musler announced that one of the organizations she'd be sending supplies to was The New York Foundling, her great uncle mentioned that they had served a member of their family. Her great-great-grandfather was cared for there, and Lucy called it a "beautiful coincidence."

“I hope my donation to The Foundling can also be a thank you for creating my family, as well as many others.”

The New York Foundling still operates on its promise from over 150 years ago. As an organization, it strives to allow all adults, children, and families to reach their full potential.

It does this by taking a whole-person and whole-life approach each time. The Foundling helps families and kids navigate through and beyond foster care, find ways to grow stronger with poverty or conflicts present, and support individuals with developmental disabilities.

Creating Positive Change

The school assignment turned out to be a life-changing event for Lucy. Before she was tasked with looking into this issue, she said that being involved in community service wasn’t something that she had done. This experience has created a deeper desire to take action towards positive change in her community.  “I’m a strong writer, so I’ve thought about doing some essays,” she said. “However I do it, though, I definitely want to use my skills and privileges to help others.”

“Making an impact in the world is important to me,” she added.

In New York City, over 40% of all kids in foster care end up with a kinship caregiver placement. It’s a different story in Washington, where Lucy lives, where many foster kids are housed in hotels and only have social workers staying with them.

As Lucy prepares for high school, she says that she’s looking forward to using her motivation and compassion to help others.

 

References:

[[1]] https://www.nyfoundling.org/a-school-project-with-heart-how-lucy-made-a-difference/; [[2]] https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-me-raise-money-for-foster-children; [[3]] https://bronx.com/nyc-administration-for-childrens-services-celebrates-national-kinship-care-month/; [[4]]https://www.king5.com/article/news/investigations/washington-foster-care-youth-hotel-housing-deadline/281-ecfce106-cfa3-4b30-8894-170d6b7ddb03