It’s National Adoption Month. But you don’t have to adopt a child to help out. (Of course, it’s beyond wonderful if you can.) Anything you do to support Downey Side’s mission is an enormous contribution.

Because Downey Side is a lean, truly grassroots organization, however you choose to participate has an outsized impact. In fact, some of the simplest actions are hugely beneficial. Here are a few ways you can make this month matter.

Spread the word
Tell all your friends, family and associates about us. They’ll listen to you and you’ll save us a ton of money in advertising and publicity costs. It’s especially helpful if you get them to sign up for our newsletter here.

Become an ambassador
What does an ambassador do? Open doors. At Downey Side, we’re super focused on helping kids and families so knocking on doors takes us away from what we do best. When you introduce us to your union, HR department, professional association, fraternity, sorority, or other organization you not only connect us to resources you help us “jump the line”. We don’t like to admit we’re competing for attention but that’s the reality.

Why not organize a mini fundraiser? Do what you enjoy—run a race, host a bake sale, throw a party, whatever, use your imagination—and raise money and awareness for Downey Side while you’re at it. Plus you can close the communications loop by tagging us on social media when you publicize your event.

Upgrade our (non-existent) tech
Getting kids into permanent families is possibly the most human activity imaginable. However, every step of the way involves serving a laborious bureaucratic machine. At Downey Side, that humungous paper trail is literal. We need someone who can analyze our manual processes, then help us select the right combination of hardware and software to digitize our workflow while remaining fully compliant plus preserving the privacy of our families. If that’s you, or someone you know, please get in touch. (Okay, this last one isn’t so simple.)

Just remember, when you’re helping Downey Side you’re part of the solution to a huge problem—finding permanent families for the 500,000 kids in foster care. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by this situation but don’t be. Every small action counts and they all add up.

Even if you don’t do any of the above, you’ve still got Giving Tuesday to look forward to. That’s right, November 29th, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving is the national day for charities. And we’ll be making it easy for you to participate.

Finally, we’d like to give a big shout-out and congratulations to our sister organization, the Adoptive and Foster Family Coalition of New York . For almost as long as Downey Side they have been working to ensure no foster, adoptive or kinship care family in New York feels alone. On October 20, they put on a superb night of storytelling, featuring the real-life experiences of adoptive children and parents.

Naturally, throughout National Adoption month, the simplest and easiest way to show you care is to make a donation to Downey Side.

Yours for children,

Br. Terry Taffe, ofm Cap, and Ian Keldoulis