ANAHEIM, Calif. (Dec. 20, 2021) — Anaheim Public Library continues to bring awareness to the needs of foster care youth and has worked with community partners to raise nearly $30,000 in gifts and other support.
The library's development of the foster care initiative began with the need to increase access to educational resources for foster youth.
One of the first steps included the removal of the guardian consent, offering a card tailored for foster youth that allows direct access to necessary educational resources without a guardian.
“Libraries can have a long-lasting, positive impact on the lives of children in a time of crisis, and that's why we're here, bringing awareness to the needs of our youth, developing partnerships, and changing library card policies to expand support,” City Librarian Audrey Lujan said.
The library raised more than $28,000 through community partnerships, bringing more awareness to foster care youth.
The donations are given to the nonprofit Court Appointed Special Advocates of Orange County, which supports youth transitioning from foster care, and Orange County Social Services for their Operation Santa Clause program for youth in foster care.
Representatives from Bank of America, including Shab Ebrahimi, Najib Haider, Dorian Harris, Sara Kashani, Lindsay Mayorga and Ryan Sheehan donated more than $25,000 worth of gifts for foster youth. Gifts included drawing supplies, Barbies, Legos, and small appliances for emancipated youth.
Ryan Rokerya and Alena Valliyanal, students from Canyon High School, joined the holiday spirit by organizing a donation drive with their school clubs and the library's neighborhood branch Canyon Hills. Donations included art supplies, clothes and stuffed animals.
Additional support groups that partnered with the library this year include the Anaheim Public Library Foundation, Anaheim DEVOTE, Anaheim Municipal Employees Association, Friends of the Canyon Hills Library, Kiwanis of Greater Anaheim, Reon Boydstun Realty & Property Management Inc., Rotary Club of Anaheim and state Sen. Josh Newman.
The library plans to collaborate with Orange County Social Services for Foster Care Awareness Month in May 2022.