05 November 2010

Gifts Making a Difference

Suitcases4Kids is dedicated to helping foster children move with dignity, one suitcase at a time.


In 1995 10-year-old Aubyn Burnside had a great idea. Burnside had recently discovered that the average child in foster care has to move three or four times and they carry everything they own in garbage bags."I thought it was horrible that the children had nothing to carry their things in as they moved so many times. I wanted to make them feel special by giving them something of their own," Burnside explained. It wasn't long before the media picked up on the story. Burnside even made an appearance on Oprah and was named one of Oprah's Young Angels of her Angel Network.

A New Chapter

By 2009 the project was all but defunct as Burnside had directed her attention towards other endeavors. Enter Ron Nickerson. He is the founder and president of Suitcases4Kids*, having decided to use his talents and contacts to help children in the foster care system. It was during his research to determine how to best channel his talents that Nickerson discovered Burnside's project and realized it was a perfect fit to accomplish his goals. Nickerson has spent the last 25-years working with children and their families in a variety of settings including residential facilities and psychiatric hospitals. He has also been a social worker for kids in specialized foster care and director of a 30 bed youth detention facility in Boston. Currently Nickerson is a foster dad to several boys with Reactive Attachment Disorder

Some Stats
  • Number of children in the United States foster care system: over 463,000 (as of 01/2010) 
  • Average length of stay in foster care: 27.2 months. 
  • Number of children waiting for adoption: 125,535
  • Number of children abused or neglected: 742,661
For more information on the organization and how you can help please visit the Suitcases4Kids website.

*Please note the name of the organization Aubyn Burnside founded is Suitcases for Kids. You can visit the organization's site here. (The site has not been updated in several years).

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