By Andrea Mau
Web Content Assistant Manager
Since 2009 nonprofit organization Austin Angels has been focused on the support of children and caretakers in the foster care system through their various volunteer efforts, providing supplies for day-to-day life and mentorship.
Austin Angels serve to connect potential foster families to foster children with the Dare to Dream project, and continued guidance of those families with around the clock support from a mentor.
This month I was able to interview Paige Procknow, current Chief Marketing Officer at Austin Angels, who began volunteering with the organization in 2017 as an intern. Through her time at the nonprofit, Procknow has seen significant growth in the humble start-up.
“Over the past four years now we’ve just had crazy growth,” said Procknow. “A lot of people wanting to get involved with our mission and impact the foster care system here in our community.”
With 17,500 Texas children currently in the foster care system, the need is significant for children and teens who are at a higher risk of dropping out of school, developing mental disorders such as PTSD, and experiencing homelessness or teen pregnancy.
“To think about how many we [are] impacting really blows me away,” said Procknow. “We’ve built this organization off of just people that were willing to step in and do something and then to see that something become serving almost 300 kids monthly and serving over 600 kids at Christmas this year. It’s mind-boggling that all of those little steps forward could equal that much impact.”
Austin Angels addresses the need with its services and intends to expand that influence to children in the foster care system across the country. Already the nonprofit has opened its initiative onto a national scale with over 20 new chapters started in states across the USA.
Austin Angel’s current upcoming project is the National Foster Care Month campaign which occurs every year during the month of May. The purpose of the event is to spread awareness of the foster care system’s exorbitant demand for support in the USA.
“We try to do a lot of education about foster care and the system and how people can get connected in their community very tangibly,” said Procknow. “People can follow along on social media or sign up for our emails to learn more about that campaign.”
Austin Angels stresses how essential community support is in achieving the nonprofit’s goals. Historically the organization came together when founder and CEO, Susan Ramirez, sought to connect with her community in a more meaningful way.
“I think we live in a really disconnected time in history and our programs are centered around community,” said Procknow. “All of us want a way to feel connected to our community and like we are a part of something bigger than ourselves and our programs give people that opportunity to do so.”
Not matter one’s position, Austin Angels provides multiple avenues to contribute: apply as a volunteer or intern, refer potential foster families to the organization, or donate to make a difference in the Austin community and a foster child’s life.
Featured image by KTSW Multimedia