Congratulations to Fostering Change Foster Closet for being applauded by Avalon Park Wesley Chapel.
Based in Pasco County, Fostering Change is a nonprofit program created to provide needed clothing, personal care supplies and food to children who are moved quickly from their homes and entered into foster care.
The nonprofit aims to minimize the time it takes for a foster child to be placed with a loving foster family. The family must have all the items needed to care for a child, like a crib, before a child can be placed with them. Pasco County’s Child Protection Team (CPI) has 24-hour access to Fostering Change’s facility, and the nonprofit is available just about any time to meet with foster families.
The foster closet, currently at 10207 Land O’ Lakes Blvd., in Land O’ Lakes, was founded by George Agovino and Josh Gaulden back in 2019.
According to Fostering Change’s website:
“When children are removed from their living conditions, they are frequently given a garbage bag and five minutes to gather their belongings before they leave. This can be a very traumatic experience for a child of any age, leaving them feeling empty, confused, and hopeless. The goal of the foster closet is it to be a place for foster children to visit any time, day or night, any day of the week, to get back a little piece of the normalcy that was ripped from them…”
Some of the items foster parents and children can get from the closet are necessary supplies such as clothing, toiletries, food, backpacks, etc.
According to its Facebook page, since Fostering Change first opened, it has helped over 3,378 individuals.
In 2022 so far: 857 families have been helped; 172 Easter baskets were given out; 100 backpacks were sent to VA families, and 40 sent to schools and families in need; a 6-foot by 12-foot trailer full of toys was sent to Hillsborough County foster children; medical bills for a foster family in need were paid for; and day care expenses for a single mom were paid for. Those are just some of the accomplishments the nonprofit has achieved.
“We are just scratching the surface. There is so much need out there and we have so much more we want to accomplish…We don’t want to stop helping!” says Agovino.
The Tampa Bay Lightning recently honored Agovino as its Lightning Community Hero, making him the 505th hero recognized since the Lightning program was introduced in 2011-2012. Agovino received a $50,000 donation from the Lighting Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, presented by Jabil, and will donate the money to Fostering Change and Caterpillars to Butterflies.
Fostering Change currently is hosting a fundraiser to help Agovino purchase land, for a building to house the new Foster Closet and all its programs.
The garage on site will allow Agovino to begin some new programs, such as teaching teens who are older and aging out with a trade. The nonprofit also will use the land to start a small animal farm for therapy, as well as an all-around petting zoo for foster children.
“One-time and recurring monthly donations, large or small, are all appreciated,” says Agovino, who is a foster father of four special-needs children and a retired law enforcement officer.
For more information about the nonprofit, visit FosteringChangeCloset.com, or call Agovino at 813-421-1958.
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