You won’t find many people in this world who are more honest than a child. That’s something Rayn Bonice knows better than anyone.
Her nonprofit, Things of My Very Own Inc., seeks to bridge the gap between what social services is able to provide to children in the foster care system, and the items that they actually need.
Since 2008 they’ve served thousands of individuals, and Rayn believes 2017 will be a record-breaking year.
During the holiday season, Things of My Very Own Inc. collects Christmas gifts for foster children. This year, they decided to have every child write their wish list on a tag, which members of the community will collect and then buy gifts to fulfill each kid’s wish.
Their sobering responses weren’t that of a typical child at Christmas.
None of them asked for this year’s hottest toy, or another video game to add to their collection. No, the children who filled out these tags listed their “innermost dreams”—things that should be part of everyone’s childhood.
“’A Dad,’ ‘new clothes so I won’t get picked on,’ or something as simple as ‘a comb.’ Perhaps most heart-wrenching was the teen boy who asked for feminine hygiene products for his younger sister, so she wouldn’t have to keep missing school.”
“Every tag is connected to a child who wants to believe that someone in the world cares about their well-being. If we can show them for one moment that someone put their needs ahead of their own, maybe they will finally believe that what they have endured does not need to define who they grow up to be.”
It’s a reality that hits way too close to home for Rayn.
When she was 14 years old, Rayn was placed in the foster care system, where she met another young girl like herself.
“She was also 14 and came in wearing clothing that would have fit a small nine-year-old,” Rayn writes in a now-viral Facebook post. “I remember seeing her change for bed and noticed reddish-purplish welts on her skin. Her clothing had literally injured her. I made a silent promise to her that day, that when I grew up, I would do something to help children like her and me.”
Sometimes the most difficult seasons of our life can prove to be the most fruitful later on. I have to believe that’s the case for Rayn.
The beautiful thing about her past and the difficulties she’s overcome is that her fruitfulness is impacting thousands of lives beyond her own.
She is carving a brighter future for children who don’t have the luxury of basic necessities, let alone a mother or father who shows them unconditional love, support and encouragement.
“For many of these children, we are the spark of hope that lights up their otherwise dark world. Many individuals and businesses have already stepped up, asking for tags; and for these children, we hope it is only the beginning.”
Things of My Very Own Inc. is based out of Schenectady, New York, but they’ve created several ways for people from all over the place to come alongside them and make a difference in the lives of the children they serve.