Danica Lynch doesn’t want foster youth to feel forgotten.
Lynch, who owns Yoga Yoga in Newhall and co-founded the Greetings with Gratitude nonprofit, has partnered with the Department of Children and Family Services, or DCFS, and Foster a Dream to collect school supplies and basic hygiene items for Los Angeles foster youth in anticipation of their Back to School Shopping event Sept. 28.
“I’ve always had a passion for helping youth, and was blessed with a foster daughter of my own,” Lynch said. “Watching my daughter and walking her through all the things that happened to her really taught me the meaning of unconditional love.”
The fundraiser and event are aimed at assisting older foster children from 15 to 21 years old. Lynch targeted this age range because she said the help that comes to members of the foster care system goes to the very young children, while the rest are often ignored.
“This age range is really tough, and it’s a transitional age, but there are so many teens that live in group homes because people always adopt the younger ones that can cuddle with them in bed,” Lynch said. “Don’t get me wrong, that’s fine, but there are so many displaced older youth out there. These go through so much tough life experience, so it’s important to be there to support them through it and show there is a light at the end of the tunnel.”
After she decided that she wanted to help foster youth. Lynch contacted DCFS and was informed of Foster a Dream’s event last year, which did makeup and donated prom clothes to foster youth. The three organizations then decided to partner up for one big event this year, which will be held at Shepherd Church in Woodland Hills.
Initially, Lynch wanted to collect duffle bags and stuff them with various items. She said that often when foster youth are moved from home to home, they are only given a trash bag in which to carry their belongings, and she wanted to provide them with something sturdier. She then opened it up to accept backpacks as well, in order to keep with the event’s back-to-school theme.
“A big problem the youth face is there isn’t a lot of guidance, and they don’t know where to go for help,” Lynch said. “My main goal for this fundraiser and event is to help share the available resources we have in the valley.”
A wish list of items can be found at amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/3FFHMEIAZPRYZ. Donations of purchased items, cash and checks addressed to Greetings with Gratitude can be dropped off at Yoga Yoga at 24421 Walnut St. in Newhall. Donations will be accepted until Sept. 24 and are tax deductible.