San Diego-based nonprofit Promises2Kids, which helps thousands of children throughout the county who have been through the foster care system, has received a boost from an Encinitas resident who has volunteered for the organization over the past few years.
“The whole goal is to have volunteers in their lives, people in their lives who they can look up to,” said Monica Feakes, who got involved with Promises2Kids about three years ago after moving to Encinitas.
For many of the children, she said, social workers and lawyers would be the only adults in their lives. But a “traumatic” experience years prior nearly stopped her from volunteering with children again.
As a student at Rutgers University in New Jersey, where she’s originally from, Feakes was involved with the Embrace Kids Foundation, which pairs volunteers with children facing cancer or other life-threatening illnesses. She became close with a girl named Madi, who died at age 12 from brain cancer in 2012, the year Feakes graduated from college.
She moved to Los Angeles, and years later settled in Encinitas, where she works for Scripps Health Foundation. Despite the lengthy grieving process after losing Madi, Feakes became interested in volunteering with children again after learning about Promises2Kids and checking out the organization’s website.
“It was just so hard the first time,” she said, adding that she didn’t think she’d be able to have close of a relationship with another child.
After first joining Promises2Kids, Feakes took part in a four-day Camp Connect Program, which reconnects siblings who have been separated. She worked with a family of seven siblings, including a girl who is deaf.
“They’re so inspiring,” she said of all the children the organization serves. “They’ve been up against so many challenges, they make me feel like I can do anything.”
Promises2Kids launched 35 years ago as the Child Abuse Prevention Foundation of San Diego County. It’s spent approximately $25 million to help over 200,000 children. For more information, visit promises2kids.org.