By CHARLES DIAZ, Ranger Reporter:
One Amarillo College student club is helping paint a brighter future for former foster children. Badger Hearts is a nonprofit organization that raises money for young adults leaving the foster care system. The money raised goes toward gift cards that help former foster children start their own households after high school graduation.
“Going to my first meeting really opened my eyes and made me want to do more service,” said Sheridan Lillico, a club member.
“I think it is an excellent organization,” said Keely Bahn, a child development major and Badger Hearts member. “It is an excellent opportunity for students to get involved and help others.”
On Thursday, Feb. 24, Badger Hearts held a painting fundraiser. For $10 students could come and paint a picture.
Andrew Munoz volunteered with Badger Hearts as part of the community service requirement for his sociology class.
“Badger Hearts is for homeless kids. That’s what we need to do. It’s different.”
Munoz said he thinks that painting is a good fundraiser for Badger Hearts. “It could go as a form of stress reliever. Students need to have a little fun in their lives. Many need to take a breather and this allows them to bring out their artistic side,” Munoz said.
The club will hold a second painting fundraiser on March 28 from 10:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. and will have a raffle ticket sale in April.
“I like how I’m making friends and I’m having a good time, but I know that in the end we are doing this all for a good cause,” Bahn said. She added that she believes Badger Hearts is effective for the community. “We help the kids who just moved out of foster care to keep going and stay on their feet.”
Since 2012, an estimated 70 foster children have benefited from Badger Hearts. Each received a $500 gift card to buy basic necessities and appliances to live on their own. The net worth of the effort has exceeded $35,000. This year, 13 former foster kids will receive the gift cards. The Badger Hearts will take the former foster children shopping at 10 a.m, April 22.
“Badger Hearts is special because it is the only club on campus that raises money not for ourselves,” said Lesley Ingham, faculty sponsor of Badger Hearts. “We are a service club. That’s what we do, we serve others.”