Berry College nursing students help foster kids and families in need

Staff at Wellroot said case managers will distribute the items to families within the next two weeks.
Published: Jul. 10, 2023 at 11:12 PM EDT
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TUCKER, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - On Monday night, nursing students at Berry College teamed up with Wellroot Family Services, to pack nearly 100 backpacks for students in the foster care system or in need.

“That’s everything from elementary, middle and high school and even for our young adults who are in our residential programs. Those are youth who are 17 to 21, who are transitioning out of foster care, they also get a backpack full of supplies that they need, in order to have a successful start to the school year,” said Rev. April McGlothin-Eller, Director of Church and Community Engagement for Wellroot. “In addition, we have a Family Function Therapy Program, where families who are having challenging behaviors with their usually teenagers, they will also get a backpack. We serve families of all kinds. Whatever kind of support they need, we provide that through clothing, through back to school, diapers and wipes for those little babies,” she said.

The backpacks will also help families experiencing homelessness.

“We serve everything from babies all the way up through young adults and families, and many times if you’re looking at family preservation, we want to keep children in their home families, in their biological families as often as possible, and so we want to surround them with services that help them have that successful start at life,” McGlothin-Eller said. “Often times if a parent is having to choose between whether or not I’m going to make sure there’s a healthy meal on the table or make sure they have the school supplies that they need to start the school year off well, a parent is going to choose the food,” she said. “So here, we are actually providing a level playing field for every child to start off,” McGlothin-Eller added.

10 students in the nursing program at Berry College came to help. This is part of their service-learning opportunity for their school.

“As nursing students our whole mission is to try to help care for people with our hands and our heart, and so coming to a facility like this--who really loves the families they’re caring for and they’re just like pouring love into every house that they go into, it just really helps us facilitate just really a good bond between us all, and it really helps us pour our love back into the community,” said Shelby Daniel, a rising senior at Berry College. “I think as future nurses, it’s really giving us a good platform to see how we need to pour into every community that needs us and like care for the people that may need a little extra help,” she said.

Each night this week, the students are working with Wellroot Family Services to help in other areas or further learn about the organization. For example, on Tuesday, they will be preparing frozen meals for families. On Thursday, the students will provide young adult health and wellness screening for those in Wellroot’s Transitional Living Program.

“Honestly, it’s just kind of like amazing like we can come here and we’re giving two hours of our time each night to come pack some bags,” Daniel said.

Daniel said it’s bigger than fellowship with her classmates.

“We don’t realize that in doing that, we’re making like a difference in these kids’ lives when they’re getting the bag. I know it doesn’t mean a lot to some people, ‘Oh you go pick out a book bag for school, you go get school supplies,’ and it feels so normal for you, but for kids who don’t have access to the supplies and like book bags and stuff like that, it really makes such a big difference,” Daniel said. “It makes you feel grateful for what we have and then grateful for what we can give to others,” she said.

Staff at Wellroot said case managers will distribute the items to families within the next two weeks, so children and young adults can have the supplies before they go back to school.

“I hope they just feel the love that we have for them and for each other and that they can spread that around just like we are,” Daniel said.

To learn more about Wellroot Family Services, and how you can help, click here.