U.S. Orphans Really Struggle During the Holidays
This month, one U.S. orphan tried to kill herself three times in just two weeks. She is an unbelievably talented teenager that plays three musical instruments and has a beautiful singing voice, yet believes there is nothing to live for. Why? Because she has suffered unbelievable abuse, had her parental rights severed, lives in a group home, and moves “home” an average of three times a year. With no permanent relationships including family, teachers, caseworkers, and friends, there is no reason to love or trust only to start over at the next group home or next school. She is now enrolled as a student with All Kids Need Music because of a compassionate sponsor.
This is just one orphan’s life. Many stories can’t be told to protect the identify of orphans living in groups homes, neighborhoods, towns, and cities right where we live. These orphans experience PTSD at twice the rate of the U.S. military. While state child welfare agencies provide a place to live, food, clothing, supervision, and healthcare, they are unable to provide a path for healing broken hearts and lives as a result of the life threatening trauma they have endured.
All Kids Need Music does what state agencies are not able to do – help them heal. The non-profit creates a healing path for wounded, vulnerable orphans through therapeutic music lessons. Students in the program choose from ten musical instruments or voice lessons. Outcomes include decreased depression, increased social functioning, and improved educational outcomes. These outcomes are exactly what U.S. orphans need to create opportunity for a bright future. All Kids Need Music provides the musical instrument and matches the student with the appropriate trauma trained professional music instructor to guide the student on their healing journey.
Without healing intervention or adoption, U.S. orphans that age out of the foster care system experience mental illness, substance abuse, homelessness, and crisis pregnancies at alarming rates. According to the National Foster Youth Institute, these negative outcomes include 50% homeless, 50% unemployed by age 24, 50% addicted, and 60% of males convicted of a crime.
Thanksgiving for U.S. orphans living in group homes consists of a meal with other children who have experienced life threatening abuse/neglect and the group home staff member that didn’t have enough seniority to get the holiday off. The same will be true for Christmas. These holidays are especially painful reminders for these children that they have no parents, no family, and no home. They believe no one wants them, and many of them believe they are not worthy of being wanted. They need the gift of healing for the holidays instead of the overwhelming pain of past trauma and present despair.
All Kids Need Music is committed to providing a musical instrument and therapeutic music lessons as a holiday gift to as many U.S. orphans as there are funds available for. In addition to a musical instrument and therapeutic music lessons, All Kids Need Music provides the stable, consistent, trauma trained instructor that does not change no matter how many times the student has to move. Lessons are online. There are no disrupted relationships, only a steady, encouraging, trusting and affirming mentor that these vulnerable children urgently need. The therapeutic music lessons and instructor remains a constant path to healing despite the ups and downs of foster care.
On average there are approximately 120,000 U.S. orphans living in foster care at any one time. Therapeutic healing for these wounded children is only limited by funding. There are corporate, individual, school, and church sponsorships available. Every sponsorship represents wounded orphans who now have the opportunity for hope, healing, and a positive future. With 120,000 U.S. orphans, the need is tremendous and the timing is urgent to care for the most wounded, vulnerable children hidden in plain sight all around us.