This week, Grotto catches up with Laura Pahules. She is the director of Arizonans for Children, an organization that provides services for children in foster care. She explains how a safe and fun environment helps families heal.
“It allows for the happy memories to help replace the traumatic events that brought the kids into foster care,” she shares.
Washington, D.C.; Laura Pahules, executive director of Arizonans for Children
Laura Pahules: My name’s Laura Pahules. Arizonans for Children provides services for children in foster care. They come to our centers to spend time with their parents in a safe, supervised, but fun environment. It allows for the families to heal, relationships to grow and bond, for the happy memories to help replace the traumatic events that brought the kids into foster care.
In addition to our visitation center, which has classes daily for the families that are here, we have a tutor-mentor program that matches volunteers from our community with school-aged kids in foster care. Mentors take them out in the community to experience things that they’re not being exposed to in their group home setting.
After one year with a mentor, 100% of the kids improve in grades, behavior, and self-esteem.
Laura: They’re in this situation through no fault of their own, very often aging out of the foster care system. I wanted to make sure that we can get them prepared for that eventuality of being on their own. Every step that we pull together and make a difference is improving and enriching these kids’ lives, and that’s what our goal is.
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