Sparkt Bridges

New Program Providing Peace and Comfort to Foster Kids

Custom suitcases help kids in the system feel like someone cares

This story is part of a bi-weekly series that celebrates people who are reaching across a divide to "build bridges" with those different from themselves. The Sparkt Bridges series is made possible with the support of UPMC.

Braddock, Pa. is a town that has seen its share of struggles. Businesses have closed and neighbors have moved out. But you don't have to look hard to find the good happening there. Gisele Fetterman, the former first lady of Braddock and wife of Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor, John Fetterman, is one of the driving forces behind that good.

Fetterman helped to create a non-profit called For Good PGH that focuses on helping people in the community. There are various initiatives under For Good PGH, including one called Foster Good. Foster Good provides one-of-a-kind suitcases to children and teens in the foster care system who often have nothing more than a garbage bag for their few belongings. We got a chance to find out more about the idea behind the project, and meet one of the artists whose designs are building bridges with kids who will know that someone, somewhere, cares about and loves them.

Fetterman says she drew on her experiences with her own three children to come up with the idea for Foster Good. "I have small kids, I see how they can get attached to things, physical things that are theirs and to know that these kids can't count on that, it is really difficult to think about that," said Fetterman.

In just a few months, Foster Good has handed out dozens of suitcases. Fetterman says although providing a suitcase is a small act of kindness, she knows the impact is significant.

There are plenty of suitcases that need to be painted. Fetterman says you don't have to be an artist to get involved.

"If you want to pour some love into designing something, painting something, we'd love to have you design a suitcase," said Gisele Fetterman.

If you'd like to get involved in decorating suitcases, click here to find out how. It's a perfect service project for a scout troop or youth group.

(Images: Gisele Fetterman Twitter )

The Sparkt Bridges Project is produced with

the generous support of UPMC.

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