CASSTOWN — After reading accounts of foster children having to pack up their belongings in trash bags on social media, Miami East High School junior Adam Bensman decided to help local children in need.
“I saw the need that foster kids didn’t have anywhere to put their stuff when they went to a new home,” Bensman said. “So I decided to do this project.”
As part of his Miami East-Miami Valley Career Technical Center FFA “Passion Project,” Bensman has already collected more than 100 pieces of luggage and duffel bags to donate to Isaiah’s Place Therapeutic Foster Care, a non-profit in Troy.
Bensman and the FFA chapter will continue to collect new or used luggage through the month of February. The chapter will then clean and sanitize each piece before donating it to the foster care agency.
Each piece of luggage won’t be empty inside. Inside the suitcases the chapter will also provide care packages, which will include a new blanket — hand-tied by FFA members during next week’s FFA week — as well as toiletry items such as shampoo, soap, toothbrushes and toothpaste.
Each FFA officer is challenged to come up with a “Passion Project.” Bensman was elected as the chapter’s sentinel, who serves as the “welcoming committee” for the group and its visitors.
“It’s my passion project. The officer team we all decided to pick a project we were passionate about, and we need to complete it by the end of year, which was one of our goals,” Bensman said.
Bensman is the son of Brian Bensman of Troy.
According to the Ohio Job and Family Services data dashboard, as of December 2019, the state of Ohio has 16,388 children in placement custody such as family foster care, group homes and other settings. During that same time period, Miami County had 57 children in placement custody — 16 of those children are ages 16-18 years old.
Statistics for counties adjacent to Miami County include: Darke County — 33 children; Shelby County — 57 children; Champaign County — 29 children; Clark County — 93 children; Montgomery County — 614 children; and Preble County — 119 children.
Isaiah’s Place Therapeutic Foster Care serves foster children in 15 counties in southwest Ohio. For more information, visit www.isaiahsplace.com.
Contact Adam Bensman at (937) 999-8332 or Miami East-MVCTC FFA adviser Marie Carity at [email protected]