Family Enrichment

Program Overview

Family Enrichment creates lasting memories for children and families affected by foster and adoptive care. Our diverse programs, including Birthday Buddies, Little Wishes, Cinderella Project, Back-to-School Bonanza, and the Clothing Allowance Access Program, bridge the gaps in the lives of foster and adoptive youth and caregivers. We also collaborate with external agencies, offering referrals to connect families with essential services, enhancing children’s well-being, and promoting stable placements.

Family Enrichment Programs

Birthday Buddies: As a Birthday Buddy, you donate to grant the birthday wishes of kids in foster care who have been identified as likely to receive very few or no gifts for their birthday. Our program collects monetary donations for children with upcoming birthdays, purchases the gifts online, and ships them directly to the child in time for their birthday. Through your donations, our kids 12 years and under get $75 worth of gifts, and kids 13 years and older get $100 worth of gifts. Click the link below to become a Birthday Buddy.

Want to make a difference? 

Become a Birthday Buddy 

Does your child need a Birthday Buddy?

Refer a Child

Clothing Allowance Access Program: We provide teens with a unique opportunity to obtain the clothing they need by purchasing clothing items on their behalf, awaiting reimbursement from the Children’s Division.

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Holiday Little Wishes: Holiday Little Wishes is the most magical time of the year here at the Coalition! Through our longstanding partnership with KSDK 5 On Your Side, we provide thousands of gifts each year to children impacted by foster care. If you’d like to sponsor a child’s holiday Little Wish, click the link below.

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Little Wishes: With every Little Wish granted, a child can experience one of their deepest desires, including activities, experiences, and material items. If you’d like to sponsor a child’s special Little Wish, click the link below.


Back-to-School Bonanza: Just in time for the start of the academic year, Back-to-School Bonanza gives 700+ backpacks to kids impacted by foster care.

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Cinderella Project/Project Dream Dress: Cinderella Project ensures high schoolers impacted by foster care have a special Prom night by providing dresses or tuxedos! We also donate prom dresses to a broader community of 150 kids.

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Hair Workshops (partnership with Tendai Morris): Our empowering hair workshops are designed to support foster parents in caring for textured hair. Parents gain valuable skills, learn effective techniques, and discover the right products to nurture this hair type. These workshops not only boost caregiver confidence but also foster a sense of pride and self-esteem in the child. Because we believe every child’s hair deserves to be treated with love and care.

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Respite Events: Our respite events offer foster/adoptive/guardianship parents a well-deserved break, providing 2-5 hours of free childcare. Held at exciting venues, these events provide a safe and fun space for kids to play and explore. Plus, it’s an inclusive experience ─ every child in the home, including bio kids, is welcome to join the fun!

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  • Most Family Enrichment programs serve foster/adoptive/guardianship families who reside in St. Louis City, the MO counties of St. Louis, Jefferson, St. Charles, Lincoln, Franklin, or Warren, as well as the IL counties of Bond, Clinton, Washington, Madison, St. Clair, Monroe or Randolph.
  • Birthday Buddies, Little Wishes, and Clothing Allowance Access programs have specific eligibility requirements, which can be found here:

What to Expect

Eligible families can complete a brief application on our website for programs like holiday Little Wishes, Little Wishes, and Birthday Buddies. Once submitted, our team contacts families to understand the kids’ unique requests and to coordinate logistics.

Families enter a lottery system for sign-up or follow a first-come, first-served procedure for Respite Events and Back-to-School Bonanza.

Join the Coalition’s mailing list to stay up-to-date on additional Family Enrichment and Volunteering programs and updates.

Program Goals

Family Enrichment aims to bring joy and normalcy to children and families affected by foster care. We provide a network of resources, including material support, enriching experiences, and respite events during times of need. Sponsoring a Little Wish, birthday, or Prom outfit can boost a child’s self-esteem and create cherished childhood memories, ultimately improving placement stability and outcomes.

We also cultivate a sustainable pool of dedicated volunteers who undergo background checks and training to support our families and children.


Shelley Thomas-Benke – Director of Family Enrichment & Volunteers
1750 South Brentwood Boulevard, Suite 210, Saint Louis, MO 63144

o 314.367.8373

Family Enrichment Inquiry Form