Youngster's projects bring smiles to foster kids

By Brian Sweeney
A fourth-grade student at Margaretville Central is doing her part to brighten the lives of foster children in the area.
Saira Pereira, an Arkville resident, first took an interest in assisting foster children several years ago. With the goal of helping a young girl who was entering into foster care, Saira held several bake sales to raise funds. Her thought was that while foster homes provide an improved environment, the situation often is accompanied by considerable uncertainty.
Saira felt that donating enough money so that a child could attend a movie and enjoy a pizza dinner at a restaurant would be a nice gesture to help ease the transition for a foster child.
Encouraged by the positive response to her project, Saira was inspired to provide other ways to brighten the lives of foster children. She came up with the idea of filling duffel bags with items that would be useful when children moved into a foster care setting.
Last fall, Saira began been collecting and purchasing items such as toys, books, magazines, grooming products, flip-flops, clothing items, books, puzzle, etc., so that she could fill bags and present them to foster children. The bags Saira put together have been specifically assembled for boys and girls in various age groups.

Likes to help
Saira said she simply enjoys assisting others and thought this would a worthwhile project.
“I like helping out other people,” Saira said. “It makes me, and other people, feel good.”
She also added some basic advice that she hopes other will consider.
“People want to help. Sometimes, they just don’t know how. They should just pick a cause and do it,” Saira advised.
Jen Fronckowiak is an employee of the Delaware County Department of Social Services, and her job includes assisting children in foster care. She performs some of her work at Margaretville Central School. As a result of this connection, she’s been coordinating the bag deliveries on Saira’s behalf through the department’s home-finding unit.

Admires her dedication
Jen said that Saira’s deeds on behalf of foster children are very admirable.
“She can appreciate that others need support and really feels empathy for them,” Jen commented. “These gestures are very sweet of her.”
She noted that sometimes, foster kids are not sent with everything they need when they move into a home. Saira’s bags are designed to provide commonly used items and, more importantly, to offer a sense of comfort.
Saira’s parents, Deana and Michael Pereira, are very encouraging of their daughter’s efforts.
“We do what we can to support whatever endeavor she’s out to fulfill,” her mom smiled.
“It’s all from the heart. She has always been a good-hearted, even-keeled child. She always wants to be helpful. She’s genuinely sweet and caring,” Deana added.
Saira’s mom said that her daughter enjoys knowing that she can make a difference in people’s lives.
“It’s important to note how easy it is to help. The smallest gestures can be the best and most beneficial,” she explained.
“We have a generation of young kids who like to help. We need to encourage that,” Deana commented. “The Girl and Boy Scouts do many things that go unmentioned. They are led by people who care and help. They, and us as adults, can point all of our kids on an empowering path. We can set the example, lead and encourage.”