FOR IMMEDAITE RELEASEÂ Â Â FEBRUARY 9, 2010
An amazing kid!
Salinas youth helps comfort children in protective custody, sets example for others to follow
Launched when she was 6-years old, Samantha Dilbeck, now 12, established Sammieâ€™s Kids Foundation to help children cope with the harsh reality of being removed from their homes.
(MONTEREY COUNTY, CALIF.) â€“ Samantha Dilbeck is an amazing kid with the heart of an angel.
At age 6, she informed her parents, Tiffany and Erick Dilbeck that she wanted to help foster children who were plucked from their homes without a momentâ€™s notice.
To serve these children in crisis, the Dilbeck family founded Sammieâ€™s Kids Foundation (SKF) in 2005. A nonprofit organization serving Salinas and Monterey Counties, Calif., SKF relies on the support of both private donors and the local community. At a recent fundraiser Tiffany said enough funds were raised to keep the program running for another year, but more donations are always needed.
Since its inception, SKF has made a difference in the lives of more than 800 children and teens taken to the Salinas-based Cherish Receiving Center operated by Aspiranet, one of Californiaâ€™s largest foster care and adoption agencies.
â€œChildren who arrive at the receiving center often do not have any personal belongings with them,â€ Tiffany said. â€œOur goal is to provide each child or teen with a personalized tote bag containing three days of clothes, a sweatshirt, pajamas, shoes, undergarments, a blanket, a stuffed giraffe (the foundationâ€™s mascot) and toiletries for older youths.â€
Even a nightlight is included with every tote bag, bringing comfort to a child on dark nights.
Aspiranet also operates Harmony House in Contra Costa County. Both centers support children immediately after removal from their homes, offering a safe haven for up to 24 hours while placement decisions are coordinated with county social workers.
â€œThe children and teens we serve are suffering through a tragic ordeal and are comforted with their tote from Sammieâ€™s Kids,â€ said La Trice Taylor, Aspiranet District Director of the South Bay. â€œWithin 12 hours after our call to Sammieâ€™s Foundation, Tiffany (Dilbeck) delivers a tote bag to our center that is specific to each child. It makes a world of difference and gives these young people something to call their own.â€
Tiffany says some children taken into protective custody have never owned a pair of pajamas or item of new clothing. â€œWhen we buy something new for ourselves, the first thing we do is remove the tag, but for many of these kids, it is the first time they have ever had anything brand new to remove the tag from.â€
To help Sammieâ€™s Kids Foundation with sponsorships or in-kind donations, call (831) 769-0355 or visit the foundationâ€™s website at www.sammieskidsfoundation.com.
For more information on Aspiranet and becoming a foster or adoptive parent, call (800) 439-1905 or visit www.aspiranet.org.
Courtesy Photo Cut Line: The Dilbeck Family: Tiffany and Erick Dilbeck (back row), Tristan, Samantha, and Mackenzie Dilbeck (front row) founded Sammieâ€™s Kids Foundation when Samantha was 6 years old to help comfort kids taken into short-term protective custody.
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Tiffany and Erick Dilbeck
Sammieâ€™s Kids Foundation
La Trice Taylor, District Director of the South Bay
Consortium Media Services
Tina Vervoorn, (805) 654-1564 x117
Adrienne Stephens, (805) 654-1564 ext. 116