What happens when a child ages out of foster care? Often these young men and women are thrust into adulthood and face instant homelessness. Many are still in high school and need jobs or transportation. Additionally, without the guidance of a forever family, they are more likely to develop chemical dependencies, become pregnant while young or turn to crime. Bernetta Knighten founded The Knighten Project in 2015 to restore hope and change these young peoples’ lives one dream and one action at a time.
Knighten explained her passion: “Foster children are a forgotten population. I had friends in foster care growing up, and now it has come full circle with my own children’s friends. I wanted my kids to see us giving back.”
The Knighten Project is a philanthropic organization whose sole purpose is to provide a brand-new suitcase filled with everyday essentials to young adults transitioning out of the foster care system in the Tampa area.
“While in foster care, they receive many hand-me-downs, and having something brand-new is so important,” Knighten added. “They often leave with their few belongings in plastic bags. Imagine going into adulthood with nothing, no frame of reference.”
Last year, The Knighten Project had a goal to provide 25 suitcases but raised enough to provide 100. This year, the drive runs from October 15 through December 15 with the goal of matching or exceeding last year’s efforts. It hopes to bless as many foster teens this holiday season as possible with suitcases going to foster teens at the Grow Into You Foundation and Camelot.
If you want to be a part of what it lovingly calls adult starter kits, please consider making a monetary donation or providing a brand-new suitcase. The Knighten Project also hopes to connect with local businesses interested in providing resources to local foster teens, both physical items, such as toiletries or clothing, as well as knowledge. With each kit, Knighten wants to provide a resource folder where foster teens can learn about local programs that can help them as they find a place to live, transportation and employment.
To learn more about how you can help, visit theknightenproject.org/packing-w-purpose-2021-donation-drive or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The Knighten Project is also featured on Amazon Smile as a charity of choice, so part of everyday purchases can go directly back to a great cause, at smile.amazon.com/ch/47-3565365.