Cleveland Angels has local roots
Cleveland Angels is a nonprofit whose mission is to “walk alongside children in the foster care system, as well as their caretakers, by offering consistent support through intentional giving, relationship building, and mentorship.” Gretchen Dupps, a longtime Bay Village resident, is the founder of the Cleveland chapter and executive director.
Before agreeing to start and lead Cleveland Angels, Gretchen felt called to help support children in the foster care system because as a child her parents had been foster parents, so she has first-hand knowledge and insight into the best ways these families can be supported. When the opportunity arose a couple of years ago to begin the Cleveland chapter of the national Angels organization, she jumped on it. She, along with many tireless volunteers, has made it the success it is today.
In Cuyahoga County, there are currently 2,927 children in either foster care or kinship care. Many families who foster have agreed to take in additional placements during this time, and children being placed with family or family friends in a kinship placement has greatly increased as well. These families have agreed to care for more children despite many times being in uncertain financial circumstances themselves.
Furthermore, many of these children are medically fragile requiring extra levels of care, and many families have faced job lay-offs. Cleveland Angels is dedicated to supporting these families so that they are able to continue to provide foster care, as well as continue to build relationships and provide stability and healing for the children in their care.
While Cleveland Angels is a regional organization whose mission is to serve as many foster care families in Northeast Ohio as they can, their work impacts our local community directly. Currently, there is a family in Bay Village who has been matched with Cleveland Angels programs. The family is one in which the parents have biological children already in their adult years and decided to become licensed foster parents. The parents received their first placement, a 6 year old and 2 year old, just before the Covid shutdown.
As a parent, I can’t imagine being in the position with two new children to manage (online schooling, no daycare) on top of normal full-time work responsibilities during the shutdown, and this family did not have an easy time. The family also continued to face adversity into the summer with balancing the costs of daycare and caring for the children.
This fall, they were matched with the Cleveland Angels Love Box program and immediately the Love Box group and the family connected and became friends. The group has been able to support the family both emotionally as well as financially, enabling the children who have not had many “normal” experiences in their lives to have normal childhood experiences and things. Covid has not slowed down Cleveland Angels volunteers from fulfilling their mission, and they are having a real positive impact on these children living in Bay Village.
The nonprofit sector, including Cleveland Angels, has been hit hard financially during the pandemic mainly because fundraising events that account for large portions of budgets have not been able to happen. Cleveland Angels has become more creative and has overcome many of these obstacles, but they need your help as 2020 comes to an end. Despite the financial toll that 2020 has taken, Cleveland Angels is proud to report that they are serving more children and families than ever before. This would not be possible without the support of the community and the tireless volunteers who have continued to show up for our families during this time of uncertainty.
Cleveland Angels is hosting their first “3 Day Angel Give-A-Thon” which will take place Dec. 1-3. Cleveland Angels is asking you, members of our community, to be a partner and support them in their goal of raising $30,000 to continue to fulfill their mission supporting children and families in our community who are in need of care and help now. Please join us by visiting www.cleangels.org for ways you can help by volunteering and/or donating.