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Faculty, staff and students donate supplies for foster care youth

In October, MSW student Daniel Ball led 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. A donation box was located in the School, with the proceeds going towards Strong Able Youth Speaking Out’s (SAYSO) “Give a Child a Smile” suitcase drive.

Ball was an intern at SAYSO last year, a Durham nonprofit that organizes this drive annually as part of national Make a Difference Day.

He reports that the School was able to collect and donate approximately 100 duffle bags, suitcases and backpacks to SAYSO’s campaign. “There was a fair amount of toiletry items donated also. This is quite impressive given the last minute notice and short collection period,” said Ball.

On Oct. 24, SAYSO hosted a program for foster care youth, at which they distributed the supplies. As part of the event, Ball, first-year MSW student Amanda Strott, and alumna Rachele Zecca (MSW ’15), facilitated a workshop that helped foster youth develop a goal-oriented “plan for success” after they exit foster care.

As a former foster child, the cause is dear to Ball’s heart, and this is the second year that he has organized this drive at the School. “This event was very successful and I thank all who supported it in any capacity,” he said.