There were a lot of smiles, backpacks and more to be seen at the 4th Annual Back to School Bonanza which was held on Saturday, July 29. The annual event was organized by Friends of Foster Children Forever (FFCF) and served Collier County foster children and their families. The day was made possible again this year by Arthrex, the event’s presenting sponsor.
The event, a collaborative effort of several local organizations and area businesses, was a huge success with over 300 foster children and their siblings served. Among those helping to make a the day a huge success were: Arthrex by providing the funding for school uniforms, food and music; Books for Collier Kids who provided new reading books for every child; Walmart by underwriting backpacks full of school supplies for each child; Cold Stone Creamery who handed out free ice cream during the entire event; Dunkin Donuts who hosted a “Design Your Own Donut” activity with free donuts; Laces of Love who provided new shoes for each child; Runway International and their volunteers who gave back-to-school haircuts; Soundz of Music was provided by DJ, Scott Peterson, and the “Wise Old Owl” of FFCF who helped children sign up for after school activities and tutoring.
There were even dental and eye exams available for every child. The Ronald McDonald Care Mobile had two mobile units on site to provide free dental exams, dental care and follow up treatments for foster children, their siblings and caregivers. Plus, Vision Quest, the mobile vision van was on-hand to do testing and offer glasses to those children in need. Both efforts are funded by Naples Children and Education Foundation (NCEF).
The day could not run successfully without volunteers and their dedication to the FFCF mission. This year over 50 Arthrex employees and their families volunteered their time to help make the event a success along with various other businesses and partnering agencies such as Naples High School, Naples Junior Woman’s Club, C’MON Museum, and William C. Huff Companies. And, the event was hosted by the Golden Gate Community Center and the Center’s staff who contributed their time and talent to make the day a success.
The FFCF mission is to focus on the children they serve by providing targeted educational and enrichment opportunities that allow each child to fulfill his or her potential. The charitable organization works to fulfill the unmet needs of every child who enters, or is at risk of entering the foster care system in Collier, Hendry and Glades Counties.
For more information about Friends of Foster Children of Forever (FFCF) or how to help, visit www.friendsoffosterchildren.net or call (239) 262–1808.