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Students collecting suitcases and duffel bags for foster care youth

MSW student Daniel Ball is leading a drive at the School to collect suitcases and duffel bags for youth in foster care, who sometimes must move in and out of care using trash bags.

Ball was an intern at Strong Able Youth Speaking Out (SAYSO) last year, a Durham nonprofit that organizes this drive annually as part of national Make a Difference Day.

SAYSO’s goal is to have 2,500 new (or like new) suitcases and duffel bags donated by Oct. 24, so they can distribute them to children entering foster care.

“My field instructor gave me the task of increasing awareness about some of the small but dehumanizing intricacies surrounding the removal of youth from their parents’ home,” said Ball. “She shared the story told by one of SAYSO’s members. The individual was leaving their home to enter foster care with all of their personal belongings in trash bags. It was raining and one of the trash bags broke, spilling the contents on the ground. It was this story that inspired the creation of the Give a Child a Smile suitcase drive. As a former foster child, I related to this story. I felt I could do more than raise awareness.”

Last year’s supply drive at the School was a success, and Ball is excited to coordinate it again this year. He will also facilitate a workshop at the Make a Difference Day event on Oct. 24 at the Emily K Center in Durham.

Please consider donating gently used or new suitcases, duffle bags and backpacks. A drop box is located on the 4th floor in the School of Social Work, outside suite 400, until Friday, Oct. 23.

For more information, or to schedule a donation pick-up, please contact Ball or SAYSO. Donation receipts are available.