Positive children who fight during the pandemic receive the necessary support from a CNN Hero


Some do not have access to the technology required to continue distance learning. Those who have aged outside the system often do not have a support network to return to – and are already at greater risk of homelessness.

"For so many of us, the Covid-19 pandemic has caused a great deal of confusion and fear," said Danielle Gletow, a 2013 CNN hero. it was an extremely difficult time because many of their support systems have been removed. "

Gletow, a foster mother and stepmother, started the non-profit One Simple Wish in 2008. The organization gives wishes to children in foster care across the country and to those who have grown up. Last year, the group reached 20,000 young people.

Every wish is published on the internet and anyone can cover the cost of fulfilling this wish – from tangible items such as a bicycle, jacket or school supplies, to an experience such as music lessons or a trip to the theater.

But when Covid-19 hit, Gletow knew that this population would have very different needs.

Danielle Gletow wants to ensure that no foster children are forgotten during the pandemic.

"We immediately set up a Covid-19 response fund and started focusing on what we knew our young people would need," Gletow said.

The biggest demand the body has seen is for laptops and other technology for remote children's learning. And often, these laptops are important to more than just school.

"The children made weekly visits with siblings and biological parents, but when the pandemic struck, it was no longer possible," Gletow said. "Right now, the only way to do that is through tablets or laptops."

For young adults who have grown up with foster care, job loss or calm can be devastating. And those in college no longer have the housing they relied on. Thus, Gletow's non-profit work helps ex-adoptive young people with the help of rent and ancillary services, along with food and other necessities, during the pandemic.

A senior college in New Jersey is among them. Living with her eight siblings, they all help take care of each other.

"As one of the oldest in my family, I have a lot of responsibilities such as providing food, money, time and basically raising my younger siblings with the help of my older siblings," said the student.

With the support of One Simple Wish, the family was able to meet needs such as food and gas.

"They provided us with ShopRite gift cards, targeted gift cards, gas cards to help us pay for groceries and everything," he said. "It's very appreciated."

Former youth host Amber Whitaker also received support from the organization during Covid-19, including assistance with her postgraduate studies.

"I really hope I can help children in a situation like this when I was growing up," said Whitaker, 31. "And a simple wish helped make that happen."

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Gletow said her team has seen more than a 300% increase in the needs of foster children and ex-foster youth during the pandemic, and the organization is able to meet those needs very quickly without much bureaucracy.

"It's important to us that no one ever feels that they're not being seen or heard," Gletto said. "We can approach cases that don't necessarily fit into larger planning."

Gletow wants to make sure that this population knows that they can come to their aid for anything and that they will be treated with zero judgment.

"We just want to make sure everyone is safe and secure," Gletow said, "and that everyone has a sense of support at a time when the whole world is completely out of control."

Do you want to participate? Checkout the One Simple Wish website and see how to help.