By Lacresha, Frostburg State University
Imagine moving into your dorm for the first time; you are not sure what to expect and how to make new friends. Your foster parent helps you bring in your belongings and wishes you luck. As you are unloading your luggage alone, your roommate and her family enter the room. She has tons of bags and items to decorate her side of the room. Her family members introduce themselves while helping her unpack.
“Where is your family?” they ask.
“I just told them that they can leave since they have a long drive home,” you reply. In that moment, you experience a sense of loneliness and uncertainty that is so profound and you feel envious of the love and support that your roommate has.
When I first started receiving ETV, I got emails reminding me to update my address so that I could get a care package. At first, I was not interested in whatever this “care package” would be. But to satisfy my curiosity, I finally updated my address and a few weeks later I received a box filled with snacks, hair products, DVDs and a card from ETV affiliates.
I still remember the first care package I received in 2009 – I was so grateful! It helped me temporarily fill the void in my life and made me feel like I actually had people who cared about my well-being. What mattered the most was the simple note that was left in the box! It gave my package more of a personal touch because it wasn’t just a group of people filling up boxes with goodies to send to foster youth.
Over the years, the care packages that I’ve received have gotten even better. For the first few packages, I received “random” goodies, such as shampoo. However, two years ago I received a red scarf, Mizani and Big Red hair products, and candy. I believe that the quality of the items inside of the box and the thought that was put into my box lessened my feelings of being JUST a “ward of the state.” It gave me the motivation to accomplish my goals and made me realize that there are people out there rooting for my success.
Now I am completing my last year in graduate school and plan to become a clinical therapist. I still think about how much my care packages meant to me.
Receiving the boxes reminded me of playing Sonic and how he would get a turbo boost to increase speed. My care packages gave me the “turbo boost” that I needed to continue. I was determined to not allow my past to define my future. Sometimes, I wish that I could still receive those packages! However, I believe that my “turbo boost” can come through volunteering to do things (like helping with care packages) for those who are walking in my old shoes.
After getting so many care packages I truly believe that there is no better feeling than to know there are dedicated people in this world who are invested in your success!