THE DIGNITY SUITCASE COLLECTION PROGRAM
The Shocking Facts
* Annually, 650-700 Arizona youth transition into independent living with a trash bag for their precious belongings.
* Hundreds more transitioned from one temporary housing unit to another with plastic grocery sacks, as a result of a lack of resources.
* 80% of these teens end up homeless or in prison by the age of 19.
The suitcase program is an ongoing, yearly drive to meet the needs of ALL Arizona foster youth either transitioning into independent living or another temporary residence. Suitcases will be stored and distributes at local church distribution centers throughout the state where there is a participating DCS office.
How can I participate?
1. Contact the OCJ Kids’ office at 602-439-2171 or firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Collect both new and “gently” used suitcases
3. Collect potential Suitcase packing list items for the suitcase (optional)
4. Drop off suitcases at one of the Drop Off Sites or call OCJ Kids office at 602-439-2171 to arrange a pick up
5. Volunteer to help fill the suitcases with the packing items
6. Spread the news of this amazing statewide initiative
7. Ask your faith community to participate
Who can participate in the collection?
Social Service Clubs
Chamber of Commerce Groups
Suitcases are distributed to the group homes on a monthly basis for distribution as needed for youth moving within the system.
Youth can be moved at a moment’s notice, so we must have each group home supplied with plenty of suitcases.
For teens aging out of the system, we invite them to participate in a ceremony hosted by local churches around the valley. During the ceremony, suitcase recipients will attend a service where they will be introduced to the congregation, receive their suitcase, members of the church will speak a blessing over them, and contact information will be exchanged between the youth and a caring adult mentor.
Mentors will follow the youth over the course of a year, guiding them through tough times and significant decisions.
View Suitcase packing list.