Following my rather sociological contemplations on the privatization of responsibility, especially for children, I want to switch the focus to an area where we can make a real difference for kids who need it. Although I expressly stated that collective responsibility doesn’t have to be mandated or regulated or involve the state, there is one area where it already does. When parents neglect or abuse their kids, we have a mechanism for taking collective responsibility for their upbringing. It is called foster care. That system is incredibly difficult to run, not least because of a chronic shortage of people willing and able to become foster parents. But it saves the lives of many many children every year.
Unfortunately, foster care only covers kids until they are 18. Then they are on their own. We all know that at 18, kids still need support in making the transition to adult independence. And part of that support is financial. Post-secondary education costs money. Just living costs money. And foster kids don’t have the same sort of support as other kids.
Well, the Orphan Foundation of America helps those kids. And my cyber-friend Norma has been working with them on a charity knitting project for the past few years. The Red Scarf Project has been providing scarves to kids in college. A nice gesture and sure to be a confidence booster, but doesn’t pay the bills. So this year there is a fundraising drive for a scholarship. You can still knit a scarf it you want. But please go donate some cash. You can either use Paypal (linked from the Red Scarf blog) or Network for Good (linked from the Orphan Foundation website).
I think this would be a great cause to talk about with your kids and something to consider for the "share" portion of their own money. As much as we might struggle to save money for our kids’ education, our kids can count on our financial and moral support. Knowing that some kids are going to college without that kind of support might help them appreciate what a privilege it is while providing a mechanism for sharing some of their good fortune with others. I know Mother Crone isn’t the only one struggling to get this message across.