As the holidays approach each year, a common refrain among family and friends begins popping up: “What would you like for Christmas?” For teenagers in the foster care system, this is a question that many of them don’t get to ask.
Because of their age and the fact that they don’t really have a stable or permanent home, these youth are often forgotten during the holidays. The teenagers that live in non-relative, non-adoptive, non-parent foster homes had come not to expect gifts; they wouldn’t even know who to ask for a gift. It’s not the fault of the system, or the fault of the foster parents; just like you and I, they have to make decisions about spending every year.
Abuse and neglect are the two most common reasons a child ends up in foster care. But regardless of the reasons, these teens did not ask to be foster children, and the holidays can be one of the hardest times of the year for them.
At The Radio Station, we wanted to make a difference in the lives of these youth. That’s why, ten years ago, Pump Up the Kids was created. It is a partnership between 94/7 Alternative Anchorage (KZND), The Center for Resource Families, and the State of Alaska. Pump Up the Kids aims to make each Christmas memorable for these Alaska’s foster kids by giving teens who are in non-relative, non-adoptive, non-parent foster homes a Christmas they would otherwise not enjoy.
How it works: Foster youth ages 13-18 who are given the chance to tell us what they want for the holidays. Wish lists are distributed to the teens via the social workers assigned to them and the teens are allowed to ask for whatever they want (up to 5 items). Once the wish lists are completed, they come back to The Radio Station. We then reach out to our listeners and the business community asking that they come together to “adopt” these teens.
As you can imagine, the wish lists cover a wide range of items. Some of the youth want the same things as any other child their age. Others have been deprived of the most basic items that seemingly simple things give great joy to their holiday season. Overall, for the kids, the very thought that someone is thinking of them during the Holiday season and would be kind enough to buy them presents is often the most prized gift of all for these teens.
Join the generous individuals and businesses of our community to help make these foster teens Christmas awesome during the 10th annual Pump Up the Kids!
How do I adopt a wish list?
Simply fill out the form above. You will be placed on a waiting list and once we have received all the wish lists from the case workers you will be assigned a child to Christmas shop for.
By when do you need the gifts?
Gifts must be dropped off to The Radio Station by Friday, December 17th, 2021.
Should I wrap the gifts?
No. At the time of drop-off, gifts should be unwrapped and in their original packaging, if possible. All presents must be screened before we distribute them to ensure the safety of the teens.
Where do I bring the gifts?
Gifts will need to be tagged with the wish list or wish list number as assigned. Please be sure they are clearly labeled with this information and bring your gifts to:
The Radio Station
94/7 Alternative Anchorage
4700 Business Park Blvd
Building E, Suite 12
Anchorage, AK 99503
We are open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
When will the kids receive their gifts?
All gifts will be distributed in December before Christmas.
What should I expect after adopting a wish list?
You will receive an email from The Radio Station with a copy of your foster teen’s wish list. Most lists have between three and five items. Some of the teens have been deprived of the most basic items that seemingly everyday things give great joy to their holiday season. Others desire the same things as any other child their age. The wish lists often included items like shoes, coats, gift cards, art supplies, and headphones. Others ask for laptop computers, electronics, or bicycles, items that will provide tools for school, entertainment, freedom, and responsibility. We ask that you fulfill at least 3 items on each list you adopt.
Can I know more about the child who’s list I’m adopting? / May I meet the child who’s list I’m adopting?
We must ensure the privacy and safety of the youth we’re helping, so contact is not possible. Know that each child is extremely grateful for your generosity. Many of them write to us via their social worker, saying that they normally do not receive anything during the holidays and are overjoyed. By adopting a wish list, you may be reminding these teens that the world has not forgotten about them.
I can’t afford to adopt an entire wish list. How else may I help?
If you can’t afford to adopt a kid’s entire list that’s OK! Gift cards are a common request from the kids and we use them to help fill out lists that are not complete fulfilled. We suggest a minimum of $25. Gift cards from local business or from places such as Fred Meyers, Zumiez, Pac-Sun, Hot Topic, Best Buy, iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Wal-Mart, and others are an easy way to help us fill lists. You may bring any donations to The Radio Station at 4700 Business Park Blvd, Building E, Suite 12 in Anchorage, Alaska between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.