(Yourbasin) – Two young Texans are stepping up to celebrate high school graduates in foster care, giving them the recognition they deserve and the support they need.
A graduating senior, Allie Graves, Miss Texas’ Outstanding Teen and founder of Operation PAL (Preparation for Adult Living) and Hunter Beaton founder of Day 1 Bags, have been on a mission to help foster youth.
Their goal is to provide the nearly 500 Texas high school graduates in foster care with a brand new sturdy backpack and a 100 dollar gift card.
The gifts will come with messages of hope and inspiration from Graves, empowering graduates to believe that their circumstances should not define them, speaking from personal experience as a child abuse survivor and formerly in foster care before being adopted.
“The whole operation started because as a high school graduate, and I being showered with gifts….People are trying to make things normal for me. My mom and I have such a great love for foster care and foster children because of my personal experience. That I wanted to do something to celebrate their accomplishments.”Allie Graves, Miss Texas’ Outstanding Teen and founder of Operation PAL
Beaton says he is excited about this partnership as both he and Graves have been helping foster youth for years.
Beaton started his Day 1 Bag program three years ago, giving out 29,000 bags to foster youth traveling from home to home, or those who have aged out of the system.
He says he hasn’t experienced being in foster care personally, but he’s witnessed the various stages of the process growing up with his three adoptive siblings. He recalls a time when one of his younger brothers came to join their family with his only belongings in a dirty trash bag and the clothes on his back. Beaton wants kids to know they are wanted, and he’s been on a mission to help give these kids dignity.
“Your community is here for you, and we are here for you. Through this project, we want the graduates to know that the community is adopting them.”Hunter Beaton, founder of Day 1 Bags
45% of kids in foster care do graduate from high school; the two wanted to make sure those teens were recognized for their accomplishments but they are calling on Texans to help. They still need gift cards for more than 100 graduates.
The deadline for making a contribution is July 1 and for more information on ways to donate click this link for the Google Donation Form. You can find more information on Facebook for Operation PAL or 1 Day Bags.
“The gift cards are for the graduates if they need to buy a set of tools for their next trade job or buy school supplies for their upcoming college, that’s what they can do.”Hunter Beaton, founder of Day 1 Bags