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Houston foster kids need your help this holiday season

Monday, December 10, 2012

Excited children across the country are counting down to Christmas morning, hoping to find their wish lists fulfilled. But the feeling is much different for many foster kids who depend on a strapped system to provide their basic needs.

A Christmas morning without a present to open? It's what volunteers like Geneva Cisneros are trying to prevent.

"Especially for those teenagers, it's hard because they're going to school and seeing their friends get presents, and it's something that's not part of their life every year," said Cisneros.

Tyrone Obaseki remembers, having spent his entire childhood in foster care, that a present on Christmas Day made all the difference.

"When I actually was in care and I opened up this duffel bag full of 'Goosebumps' books, I was just so excited. And you know everything that happened in the past, I wasn't really worried about," he told us.

But even as CPS supporters load up car after car of presents, they are still woefully short of demand.

"We still have about four to five thousand children under the care of CPS who haven't been sponsored. These children range from newborns to 17 year olds. And we want them to have a special Christmas just like any other child," said Estella Olguin with CPS.

The challenge is especially daunting for teenagers, who make up a large portion of foster kids, but only a small percentage of gift donations.

"It's so easy to get lost in this convoluted system, but just having something consistent from year to year, can let all young people know, hey, the world is not as bad as it seems," said Obaseki.

So for volunteers like Cisneros, they'll be working extra hard right up until Christmas to make sure children who have no families this holiday season at least get a present on Christmas Day.

"It's a double positive because I'm volunteering and I'm getting a workout. So who doesn't want that?" Cisneros said.

The charity arm of CPS is BeaResourceHouston.org where you can help our area's foster kids.

If you would like to sponsor a child, you can contact Jessica Johnson by email at JESSICA.JOHNSON@dfps.state.tx.us or by phone at 713-940-3087.

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