Friends of Wednesday's Child in danger of closing

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by DEBBIE DENMON

WFAA

Posted on February 27, 2012 at 7:03 PM

DALLAS - When you walk into the East Dallas Swiss Avenue office that houses Friends of Wednesday's Child (FWC), the wall of gratitude catches your eye.

"Thank you, thank you for my birthday money! I am going to buy me a bike. Jacqui," reads one letter, written in crayon.

To think there are some children would not get a birthday gift if it wasn't for non-profits like FWC may be mind boggling to some, but it is a reality, according to board member Lee Spiekerman.

"Those very basic and important things are not covered by the government, so Friends of Wednesday's Child closes that gap and that can make a huge difference in a child's life," he said. "There are children who go through eight different foster homes before age 18. Well, they get behind in school and our organization does things like tutoring to help them graduate or buy them school clothes - things a foster family may not be able to pay for."

The non-profit paid for Tyeisha, an adorable girl on the wall who is blind, to get Braille lessons to help her learn to read.

The list of giving goes on. Giving made possible due in large part to private donations that are now drying up.

FWC does not receive federal funds and grants from foundations can't cover everything.

"If Friends of Wednesday's Child were to close its doors, you would have hundreds, perhaps thousands, of foster kids that would not have a lot of the needs met," Spiekerman said. "[Needs] that a lot of kids take for granted."

Spiekerman says despite reducing its staff from four employees to only two workers and cutting programs, like a therapeutic camp for emotionally disturbed foster children, the organization is still in a financial crises.

"We could not meet 400 needs this past year, and we have never been in that predicament of turning down requests in our 28-year history," he said. "When we help the foster children, it is also helping the foster families who are also seeing tough economic times. They just don't get enough money from the state."

The popular Wednesday's Child Golf Tournament swings enough private donations to help, but can't offset the challenges brought on by the economic downturn. The charity needs $300,000 immediately.

"Really in three months, we've got to raise that," Spiekerman said.

A short time frame, but the hope is when viewers watch the News 8 "Wednesday's Child" reports featuring children looking for a forever home, that donations will pour in to help so many innocent faces in unfortunate situations.

You can go to the Wednesday's Child web site to help.

"In these tough times, it's nice to know someone cares enough to help out," another letter on the wall of gratitude reads.

Another letter that could come down if enough money is not raised.

E-mail ddenmon@wfaa.com

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