Lindsey Wood, 17, of Thorsby, Alabama, a junior at Thorsby High School, has made and sold more than 10,000 hair bows over the past seven years to provide more than $8,000 worth of essential items for children entering the foster care system. Lindsey was inspired to create her “Bows That Bless” initiative by her best friend, who was adopted after being in foster care. From conversations with her friend and her adoptive mother, Lindsey said she learned that “when children enter foster care, they usually have nothing more than the clothes on their backs.” Coincidentally, at about the same time, Lindsey learned how to sew hair bows and realized that she could help foster kids by selling her handmade creations.
She sells each bow, which takes about five minutes to make, at schools, festivals and boutiques. She also hosts bow-making parties to encourage other students to raise money for local foster parents, and organizes breakfasts for National Foster Care Month and National Adoption Month. With the money she raises, Lindsey fills backpacks or diaper bags with items such as clothing, pajamas, bottles, blankets and stuffed animals, and donates them to agencies that place children with foster parents. “This makes the process of entering foster care more comforting and smoother for the children,” said Lindsey. In addition, she helps organize countywide clothing drives for a children’s home, speaks at schools to advocate on behalf of foster children, and volunteers at a foster care camp each year. She also created a $1,000 scholarship for a high school senior who has been in foster care.