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Arizona Sunshine Angels

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Human Services

Mission: Sunshine Angels is now Arizona Sunshine Angels! Arizona Sunshine Angels is a non-profit organization that was founded to support foster children living in group homes within the Valley of the Sun (Phoenix, Arizona metropolitan area). Our mission is to make a lasting difference in the lives of these children by instilling self-esteem and showing them that they are loved and valued, and to provide them with a brighter tomorrow.

Results: HOW WE MAKE A DIFFERENCE: The Arizona Sunshine Angels maintain a presence year round in the lives of the Sunshine foster children, by providing them with support needed to achieve success in school and in life. Our outreach includes providing recognition of life events and their needs, such as that received by children in traditional family homes. Foster children face many disadvantages which often lead to lives of drug addiction, unplanned pregnancy, homelessness and hopelessness. Through our presence in the children’s lives, they learn that they are loved and deserving of success. We provide school supplies, clothing, computers, mentoring, birthday, holiday and graduation recognition, summer camp and other wholesome recreation opportunities, cultural event tickets and passes, and support to transition to independent living after group home care. The Sunshine Angels have goals for enriching the lives of children in foster care with Sunshine Homes. While the children are under the age of 18, our goals primarily are to help them overcome the obstacles they face by providing them with the education, guidance and encouragement they often lack without family support. A greater goal is to help them survive and thrive through these early years in order to avoid the statistically common fate of many young adults aging out of foster care, which include dropping out of school, drug addiction, unemployment, prostitution, homelessness, gang affiliation, poverty and suicide.

Target demographics: foster children living in group homes

Direct beneficiaries per year: 800 plus children in foster care

Geographic areas served: The Valley of the Sun, Phoenix metropolitan area

Programs: Welcome Box, Birthday Celebrations, Graduation, Angel Scholarships, Angels At Christmas. Kid’s Closet, Backpacks For Kids School Drive & Back To School Night Sunshine Group Home Special Needs, Angels Fun Activities and much more.

Community Stories

16 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Advisor

Rating: 5

These Grandmas are truly Angels for children in foster care!
Mary was moved into a group home just before her 13th birthday. Think for a moment of the stress this youngster experienced – being separated from the only family she knows, perhaps having herself been abused, as well as having witnessed drug use by her parents. At 13, her life memories are mostly negative, her self esteem is low, and she is feeling unloved, suddenly living in a strange new place.
Mary and the other 1,755 children who were in group homes at 12/31/20 desperately need someone to care about them, to create beautiful happy memories that every child deserves. That is the objective of Arizona Sunshine Angels (“the Angels”).
Children in group homes throughout Arizona know Sandra Hurst and Cassa Olmstead, not by their names, but as “Grandma!” Sandra and Cassa are the leaders of the Angels, a non-profit organization that brings special moments to children in foster care whose life has brought them to a group home until a more permanent living solution can be found for them. These boys and girls have experienced abuse and neglect at the hands of adults they knew as family, but still their biggest dream is to have someone love them. That’s what the Angels do for more than 500 children every year – provide unconditional love and support to help them through difficult days, to put a smile on a child’s face who doesn’t smile often enough.
Formed in 1999 when one volunteer, Flor Smithger, enlisted her friends to help children in group homes. Shortly thereafter, Sandra and Cassa joined the ranks, and ever since they have devoted their time, love and passion to bring a ray of sunshine to youngsters in foster care. They have served as volunteers, using their residence as an office and closets in group homes as storage for items donated by the community to help these children, putting all donations to maximum use to help the children.
These Angels devote themselves to making special, positive memories for children who have had too many tough times. When a child is placed in a group home, the Angels provide a welcome box with personal care items and snacks. Positive memories are created with a birthday celebration that includes gifts and a cake, along with graduation celebrations and holiday presents. Items that most children take for granted, including haircuts, backpacks and clothing are provided by the Angels as well.
Sandra and Cassa have spent most of their “retirement” years dedicating their energies to these boys and girls. Hugs, smiles and gratitude are the gifts they receive in return for their service to the kids. They talk proudly of the child they took into their home to care for and comfort during his trauma-filled days, and of the boys and girls who call after leaving foster care just to say hi, or to request that the Grandmas sing them the Birthday Song. Their hearts are filled with joy, knowing that special moments have been created for children in foster care, and hoping that they will be remembered first, before all of the horrors that too many kids have experienced and witnessed.
Arizona Sunshine Angels maintains a year-round presence in the lives of children in foster care, providing supports needed to achieve success in school and in life. They show these boys and girls that they are loved, and that they can survive and thrive. Exactly what every grandparent seeks to do for their grandchildren. Grandmas Sandra and Cassa are truly angels, indeed they are lifesavers for the 500+ boys and girls whose lives they impact every year!
Learn more about Arizona Sunshine Angels and their wish list of needs at www.sunshineangelsaz.org. As a Qualifying Foster Care Charitable Organization (QFCO#10014), Arizona taxpayers can receive a dollar-for-dollar tax credit for contributions.

Dan Shufelt, the former CEO of Arizona Helping Hands, has been involved in the charity world as an executive and grant maker for many years. If you enjoy learning of caring people and the amazing work they devote their energy to advance, sign up to receive Dan’s blog posts at www.givingback-movingforward.com. Contact Dan at dan.shufelt11@gmail.com.

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Sunshine angels are one of the biggest blessings to the Foster Children in Arizona. They are devotees to their cause, have been consistent with their mission for a couple of decades and have blessed the foster children with care, love and charity.

They're truly doing God's work, those children have volunteers to look forward to that'll care for them during events and birthdays. This non-profit organization has a mission they walk with a passion for the Foster Children in Arizona

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Arizona Sunshine Angels work year around to ensure that the group home agencies that they work with that the children are provided with items that will boost their self-esteem. The children don't have to worry about having a back pack, school supplies, hygiene products, clothes or shoes because the Arizona Sunshine Angels are to the rescue. During the holidays they work hard to ensure every child has a bright Christmas by working with community volunteers and other organizations to donate items/money. Arizona Sunshine Angels having amazing volunteers that are a ray of sunshine to very child in foster care.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Our group home has been blessed with the loving support from AZ Sunshine Angels for about 5 years now. The Angels are such a great group of people with the heart to bring the Sunshine to our kiddos in their biggest time of need, through their amazing donations. Thank you so much, for the positive energy and support over the years when we were stretched thin. Our agency, as well as our kiddos, will ALWAYS be grateful to have you in the community. Shout out to Sandra H & all the volunteers supporting the Sunshine Angels.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Arizona Sunshine Angels make all the difference in the world to the foster children of Arizona! They go above and beyond gathering and providing foster children with everyday necessities as well as special treats and gifts for the kiddos. They not only provide welcome boxes, hygiene products, new and slightly used clothing/shoes/accessories, food, and school supplies, they also provide fun items for the children such as toys, craft supplies, movie tickets, recreational passes, pizza parties, and more! In addition, the Angels provide birthday cakes, presents, and party decorations for children who have their birthday while in foster care. The Arizona Sunshine Angels truly care about the children and do whatever they can to make them happy! They are true foster children heroes!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Arizona Sunshine Angels has been exceptional and amazing to work with. Arizona Sunshine Angels has greatly made a BIG IMPACT in our foster children's lives. We've had so much resources and assistance throughout the years because of Arizona Sunshine Angels. Sandra is always pleasant and very compassionate with the work that we do. Along with the whole board members. These group of ladies are truly a HUGE blessing in our lives and we are forever grateful. Thank you! Sacred Journey Inc

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Arizona Sunshine Angels have been an amazing support to foster children living in group homes. They have partnered with numerous agencies to reach as many foster children as possible. I work for one of those agencies. We have worked with Arizona Sunshine Angels for several years and I am always blown away by their incredible generosity. Each year they help make sure that each one of our kiddos goes to school with a brand new pair of shoes and clothing that they get to pick out. I'm not sure that many people understand the boost in confidence new shoes and new clothing can give a child! It can make such a world of difference on the first day of school. They have provided gift cards and gifts at Christmas time to help our children experience the wonder of waking up on Christmas morning to see that Santa came. During the summer and breaks, they help supplement our food budget with snacks and on holidays will often pay for pizza and ice cream or a special meal. I have had numerous people in the community reach out to me on their recommendation to help meet a need - new socks and underwear, pizza gift cards for a special treat, hygiene products, school supplies. Anything our children need, Arizona Sunshine Angels has often helped us get. A child made the school softball team and needs new cleats? No problem! New kiddo came to us with nothing and needs a new wardrobe? Sure! This organization truly loves children and will do whatever they can to help children in foster care thrive and feel important and cared for.

Client Served

Rating: 5

It's hard to put into words all that my organization has benefited from the generosity of ASA! Since day one, they have gone above and beyond to help my program which houses 22 young men from the ages of 9-20. One day it's a back to school donation, then a paid for activity, followed by a pizza party, no matter the occasion they have it covered. And they genuinely care about every individual, and are there for them YEAR AROUND, not just holidays or special occasions! We have worked with many organizations, but they are HANDS DOWN, the BEST OF THE BEST! It is truly a blessing that they have adopted our program, and we look forward to this association for many years to come! And it's our honor, to get them some of the recognition that truly deserve! Thanks again ASA for all you have done and continue to do!

Client Served

Rating: 5

The sunshine angels are such a detrimental part of children's lives. Not only do they help with birthdays and Christmases but they also help on getting tutors and supporting these children and making them feel special. The sunshine angels are godsend and an amazing non-profit organization we are so blessed to have them.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Dear Sunshine Angels,
First let me start off by saying you all are a gift from God. The love and donations you give to our kiddos in foster care is untouchable. You not only give but you give with true Love in your heart. You all go above expectation. There is not enough stars that could rate you. The kids are so thankful and so am I. Please continue doing the work that you do because it shows. I just couldn't pass up this moment to write a review. Angels sent down from Heaven with pure love is all I see through you.

Curtis B.1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Sunshine Angel Organization has gone above and beyond, to make a difference in the lives of the young men, that we work with! We can't thank them enough, and the impact they are making will last a lifetime!

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been a part of the Sunshine Angels for over 10 years and cannot express enough how wonderful this organization is. All donations go directly to benefit the children (100%). There is no greater joy than to feel like you make a difference in their lives. To see the smile on their faces warms my heart. So many of these children have had to deal with circumstances that no child should ever have to face. Sunshine Angels not only helps to provide the basic essentials for these children but does it with love and care. If you want to make a difference in their lives, please help to support this organization.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a sunshine angel for 3 years now and am very impressed with how much this organization does for the foster children in Sunshine Residential homes. Everything from providing Christmas presents and a party to academic achievement celebrations. Also they send the kids to camp every summer and provide new shoes for school as well as school supplies. They also have a clothing shop that clothes all the chidren. I am sure they do much more that I am not even aware of.

So proud to call myself a Sunshine Angel!

Board Member

Rating: 5

100% volunteers, funds many programs and services for foster children in Phoenix, Glendale, Avondale, Peoria and Surprise, Az. Volunteers become extended family and aspire to provide all the perks that this entails.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Sunshine Angels is an amazing group. Children come to us from CPS ages 0-17 with a bag packed containing little to no clothing. Most of the time their clothing is in bad shape and not fit to wear or they come to us with just the clothes on their back. Sunshine Angels has brought joy to many children with their kind and generous donations of clothing, hygiene products, toys, stuffed animals, books, cd's, dvd's, Easter baskets and the list goes on and on. Every visit is like Christmas and you cannot imagine the smiles from ear to ear. What a blessing this organization has been to our agency and children.

3 Sunshine Angels

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Sunshine Angels are a 501(c) 3 charitable organization that exists to support and enrich the lives of foster children in the care of Sunshine Residential and Group Homes, in Maricopa County, AZ. Currently there are 250 children from ages 6-18 residing in the 24 facilities of Sunshine Homes.

Our vision is to show unconditional love to these children to instill within them the confidence and self-esteem needed to overcome many obstacles on their journey from foster care to independent living. The Sunshine Angels have been volunteering for the children of Sunshine Residential and Group Homes since 1999, officially becoming a charitable organization in March 2006. We serve the foster children of Sunshine through outreach and positive interaction to promote their health and healing.


Our mission is to bring about greater success in these children’s ability to achieve positive life skills and become wholesome citizens, through our outreach which includes providing birthday, graduation and holiday recognition, assistance with clothing, computers and school supplies, summer camp and other wholesome recreational opportunities, and helping the foster children transition to independent living upon reaching age 18, when they are discharged from the foster care system.

Our goals include maintaining our current giving, adding a college scholarship, and increasing logistical and financial support to foster youth at age 18, when they must move out of group home care and into independent living.

Review from Guidestar