Our Village of Volunteers: Featuring Sam Burke

by Caitlynn Lopez

How did you get connected to Foster Village?

I came across a post in my neighborhood's Facebook group, where one of our foster moms shared about Foster Village. Intrigued, I decided to reach out to her directly to gather more information. After hearing about the incredible support she received from the organization, I immediately registered for an orientation session through Foster Village's website.

What does a typical volunteer day look like to you?

Currently, I have the privilege of serving on our childcare team! If I were to describe a typical day as a volunteer, I would say it is filled with an abundance of joy and excitement. I absolutely love having the opportunity to engage with our kids in foster care, while also providing our phenomenal caregivers with some much-needed time to connect in a safe environment.

At Foster Village, we are fortunate to have a beautiful resource center where the children can immerse themselves in endless fun. From swinging on the sets, diving into the foam pit, getting creative with crafts, sliding down slides, to playing with an array of toys and games - there is never a dull moment. What makes this experience even more wonderful is the chance to form meaningful friendships with our kids and welcome new faces into a safe space where they can have the time of their lives.

Why did you decide to jump in at Foster Village?

After meeting Caitlynn during orientation and witnessing the positive impact the organization has on our foster families, I was instantly captivated. Fostering has always held a special place in my heart, and I had been searching for a way to make a meaningful difference. Having the opportunity to interact with our foster families has provided me with invaluable knowledge about the dedication required, and it has only fueled my excitement for the day when I can become a foster mom myself.

What is a moment or story that has stuck out to you while volunteering?

Oh goodness, it’s hard to narrow down to one moment that has touched my heart the most. It's amazing to witness the immense love and support that the entire organization has for our foster families and children. I’ve been able to witness the beautiful friendships that blossom between the kids during childcare, and it's inspiring to see how some of them have become more confident as they become more familiar with the crew. Even though every child is unique, they all crave love and support, and it brings me so much joy to be a part of that support system for them and their families.

What is one piece of encouragement you’d give to individuals and families thinking about volunteering?

Do it! I promise you won’t regret it. There are numerous ways you can serve depending on your lifestyle - from childcare, fulfilling deliveries, building welcome packs, and organizing our resource centers. It truly takes a village to ensure the success of our foster families, and you have the chance to be a part of an extraordinary organization that is dedicated to setting up our kids and families for a bright future.

What are you learning by volunteering and being connected at Foster Village?

Honestly, I have learned SO much. I've gained a deeper understanding of the foster care system and the immense effort required to be a foster family: from how the placement process works to the necessary supplies required for a new child, as well as the importance of supporting these children as they adapt to their new environment to ultimately help them successfully navigate the foster care system.

What else would you like us to know?

Finding Foster Village has been such a positive and life-changing experience for me. Austin is home to countless organizations that are making a beneficial impact on our community, but Foster Village stands out as a shining example of what it means to create a warm and supportive environment for families in need and changing lives for the better!