Volunteers and community partners are essential to the success of any organization. At Maryhurst, we are privileged to have a dedicated base of volunteers and community partners. We are happy to spotlight Roo’s Wish, one of the many community members and volunteers who have stepped up in the midst of the pandemic to support Maryhurst and our clients. We had a chance to sit down with the founder of Roo’s Wish and learn more about what they do. Hear that conversation here on our YouTube channel or embedded at the top of this article.
Roo’s Wish, formed by Charlene Shipley, has quickly become one of Maryhurst’s closest and most vocal advocates and supporters. The organization started after Charlene and her husband, foster parents at the time, were witnessing the harsh realities of the conditions foster children were living in. The duo was attending a foster care education class when they saw trash bags lining the floors of the hall. They knew this meant either a child had entered or was exiting the facility. Charlene and her husband were upset by the circumstances: that these young children who were in a vulnerable state of being had all of their lives belongings in a trash bag. Charlene took a quick photo and posted it to Facebook calling on all of her friends and family to donate and collect 100 pieces of luggage so children did not have to live out of a trash bag. The response was incredible. They raised more luggage pieces than imaginable. This sparked the formation of Roo’s Wish, named after their daughter that they had adopted after fostering.
Since that initial luggage fundraiser, Roo’s “wish” has been to supply foster care facilities and other nonprofit organizations with the luggage necessary to support the children in their care. Soon, Charlene and the rest of the Roo’s Wish team figured out that there were an extensive need for donations at foster care facilities beyond luggage. They decided that they would be a connector for people looking to support children in care. Roo’s Wish now provides stockings for hundreds of children every Christmas across the state. When the organization is not collecting luggage or assembling the stockings, they are looking for any other needs that foster care facilities and nonprofit organizations supporting children in care may have.
Roo’s Wish has stepped up in raising awareness of the needs at Maryhurst, especially during this pandemic. What began as providing pizza for the girls on the Maryhurst Dorsey Lane campus has transformed to be an incredible partnership. Roo’s Wish has facilitated the collection of board games and books for Maryhurst facilities and, most recently, ensured that every Maryhurst client would have a haircut for their first day back to school in person.
Thank you, Roo’s Wish, for being an example of how we can all take action to support children in need!
If you’d like to become a community advocate for the foster youth in Maryhurst’s programs, check out our ‘How to Help’ page here.