CAVE CREEK, AZ — Foster kids from around the Valley took part in a special event Sunday aimed at offering them an outlet and capturing their personalities in photos that can be viewed by parents considering adoption.
“I aged out of the [foster care] system in Oregon when I was young so it’s something that touches my heart and always will,” Vicki Dryer, who hosted the event at her equine therapy ranch near 32nd Street and Carefree Highway, told ABC15. Dryer said she was recently introduced to an Arizona social worker by her niece and, within weeks, teamed up with the Department of Child Safety to volunteer her horses for the children to pet and ride.
“They have a way of connecting to you without judgment — without a preconceived notion or an agenda — that no other animal has,” she said.
In addition to meeting the animals, the kids also had the opportunity to pick out new clothes, receive a haircut and play games. Volunteer photographers snapped photos of each child “in action” that will be posted on the state-run ChildrensHeartGallery.org website. Volunteer interviewers are also helping create a unique biography for each child.
The website is “where the public is welcome to come and get to know the kids a little bit better and, for those that are called to adopt, maybe there’s a connection made,” DCS spokesperson Cynthia Weiss told ABC15.
Weiss said the agency aims to host similar events four times per year.