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ANGEL'S TOP ELEVEN WAYS TO SAVE THE CHILDREN!
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ANGEL'S TOP ELEVEN WAYS TO SAVE THE CHILDREN!

Just a quick note... if you want to be on the front lines making a difference, I always think the best place to start is around where you live. Volunteering for a local cause, or donating money to a community effort, is a great thing. But I can't possibly know where you live, so this site is dedicated towards helping through national organizations. For a great starting point on making a difference locally, scroll to the bottom of this page!
And now, on with our site!

Angel's Top Eleven Ways To Save Kids!
 
(click on the pictures to view the different websites!)

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1. Did you ever think of sponsoring a child through one of those "save the children" things you see on TV? Well the truth is, a lot of the most well-known child sponsorship organizations actually spend most of the money on the staff who run the programs. I chose to sponsor a child through the Orphans In Africa Project, a very small sponsorship project involving an orphanage in Zimbabwe. They've changed the site a little, and now instead of choosing one child, you have to sponsor the whole orphanage, but it is only $20 a month and it's a way to make sure that all of the children recieve equal services. You can write letters to the children and they will write back. I love recieving letters from the kids... although since English is not their first language, sometimes their letters can be hard to decipher! Check this out! You can help by sponsoring the orphanage, making a one-time dnation, or sending letters and/or gifts to the children at the orphanage.

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2. Covenant House runs shelters for homeless children and teenagers, in many differen places in the USA and also in other countries. Their services include short-term shelters where kids can stay instead of living on the streets, independent living programs for older teenagers and young adults,drop in centers for homeless kids, and street outreach teams that go out into the worst places of cities and bring food, medical care, and counseling to kids who are too afraid to go into the building to get it. Most of the kids they serve hace run away from homes where they were severely abused or neglected, have been kicked out by parents or guardians, or have escaped from foster care systems that were just not working the way they should have. You can help by donating money, volunteering at a Covenatn House near you, or just spreading the word about their services. 

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3. ChildHelp USA is a national organization that works to prevent and treat child abuse. They run foster care programs, group homes and residential treatment programs for abused children and teenagers in several different states. On a national level, they work to make the public aware of child abuse through posters and publications. They also run the national hotline, 1-800-4-a-child, which people can call from any city to be directed to their local child abuse hotline. You can help by donating, volunteering at a chapter near you, or spreading the word about their hotline number.

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4.Sometimes when children are in crisis... because they're being abused, they've been abandoned, they're being neglected, their parents go to jail, or for whatever reason... they have no other choice but to go into foster care. When this happens, many sibling groups are split up and sent to different foster homes. Often they only get to see each other in structured, supervised environments, sometimes as little as once a month, and sometimes not at all. Camp To Belong is a summer camp where separated siblings go to spend a week together. Unlike most camps where cabins and groups are organized by age or gender, at Camp To Belong the children are with their siblings almost at all times. They do traditional camp activities like swimming, hiking and playing sports, but they also do special things to strengthen their relationships with each other, such as making pillows for each other. One of my favorite nights there is Birthday Night. Since many of the kids don't get to celebrate their birthdays together, Birthday Night is everyone's birthday. The siblings get to pick out gifts for each other and make cards for each other, and on Birthday Night they exchange presents and eat birthday cake together. It is a wonderful camp and I hope someday they'll have one in every state. You can help by donating money, donating products that will be used at camp, or volunteering.

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5. When children are seriously ill, the best possible care for them isn't always located at the hospital closest to where they live. Often families need to travel to different parts of the country so their children can have access to a childrne's hospital or a hospital that specializes in the child's particular illness. A Ronald McDonald House is a home where families can stay for free, close to the hospital where their child is being treated. Many different families stay there at the same time, and the houses offer friendly volunteers to help make everyone comfortable, and playrooms and activities for sick children and their siblings. Ronald McDonald House Charities also sends Care Mobiles into rural and urban areas where children have less access to quality pediatric care. Care Mobiles offer physical and dental care, and sometimes vision and hearing screenings, to children in these areas. You can help by donating money, donating toys or food, collecting pop tabs that will be recycled by them for money, or volunteering at a Ronand McDonald House near you.

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6.Sometimes even newborns are in crisis. Some are born very premature. Some are born very ill. Some are born into poverty or homelessness. Some are even abandoned at birth. Newborns In Need supplies newborn infants with things to maketheir tiny lives more comfortable... soft clothing and bedding, pacifiers, baby soap and shampoo and diaper cream and all the rest of it, bottles, and other things. The items are donated to places like hospitals, homeless shelters, fire departments and police stations, and foster care agencies. You can help by donating money, donating office supplies or baby supplies, sewing baby blankets and clothes, or even starting a chapter near where you live.

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7. All little kids love getting mail. And when kids are very sick, sometimes mail is one of the few fun things they have to look forward to on a daily basis. Make A Child Smile is dedicated to making sure that seriously ill children have mailboxes full of cards, letters and surprises each day.You can help by donating money,or sending a card or small gift to a child on their website.

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  8.   What would it be like to be a child in foster care? How would it feel, as a kid, to always have to live in the homes of strangers and get used to new schools, new foster siblings, new friends, new rules, new beds, new everything... possibly several times each year? Many kids in foster care feel all alone in the world. But if they have a Court Appointed Special Advocate, they know someone is looking out for them. Unlike case workers and social workers who have many children to worry about at any given time, a CASA is assigned to just one child or one sibling group. That person spends time with the child, finds out the things that the child wants most or needs most, and then communicates these needs to the case workers and judges. It is a CASA's job to take care of the little issues in a child's life, like whether he desperately needs to go to the dentist or if he could benefit from more visits with his siblings. You can help CASA by signing up to be a Court Appointed Special Advocate in your area, volunteering with office work, or donating funds.

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9.This project is something you can do on your own, without the help of a national organization. When children enter foster care, often it's in a moment of crisis and they don't always have a chance to pack a suitcase  or backpack. Often a few necessities or treasured items are hastily tossed into a garbage bag or grocery bag. What you can do is donate new or gently used backpacks or suitcases to a local agency that provides child care services. If you're feeling ambitious, talk to members of your church, club, school, neighborhood, or just friends, and make a project out of it. You can purchase backpacks or get them donated, and then fill them with things that might help a child through his first days in foster care... kids' hygiene products,and maybe a book or a stuffed animal.

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10. Imagine a little child who has just been in a huge car wreck and, though still conscious, is injured badly and is being put in an ambulance on a stretcher. Or a child who is watching her house burn down. A child whohas just seen his mother get arrested and hauled away in handcuffs. A child who is in the middle of being taken out of her home and put in foster care. Now imagine that someone puts a brand new, soft, cuddly teddybear in the child's arms. Of course, it won't solve all of the child's problems and make things better. But what it will do is provide some comfort, something to squeeze tightly, something to hold as he falls asleep, something to keep holding in the troublesome days ahead. Opperation Teddycare collects brand new teddybears from donors all over the country, and then distributes them to places like fire stations and police stations, crisis nurseries, and children's hospitals. The staff there are then able to hand them to  children in crisis. You can help by sending brand new bears, donating shipping funds, donating a used vehicle to be sold for shipping funds, donating collectible stuffed animals to be sold for shipping funds, or distributing fliers. (By the way, wwhen you go to their website, read the story "A Tribute to Chumba! Does it sound familiar?)

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11. Would you like to help a child by really getting to know them, spending time with them, taking them on outtings, and being a pisitive role model? If you feel up to the job, there are many mentoring organizations in the country, but the most well-known national program is Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America. It started out as an agency that matched fatherless little boys with a father-figure to hang out with, but it has evolved into an organization to providee supportive role models to all sorts of at-risk kids. You can help by being a Big Brother or Big Sister in your community, or donating funds to the organization.

  

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Want to make a difference locally? A great starting point is Volunteermatch.com. You can enter your zip code, how far away from home you're willing to go, what kind of population you want to serve, and the time commitment you're willing to make. The site will give you a list of local organizations that need your help! You're supposed to be able to sign up by leaving a message on a message-board-type thing at the bottom of each volunteer opportunity's page, and supposedly someone will contact you, but this has never worked for me. I suggest taking down the organization's information and either calling them, or sending an e-mail directly through their website. Happy volunteering!