Foster Kids 'Shop' For School With Thunder Girls

For many children, the only saving grace for having to go back to school every fall is getting to go back-to-school shopping.

But the staff and volunteers at Citizens Caring for Children realize that not all kids have that opportunity. That’s why they work every year to give foster kids in Oklahoma a chance to get stocked up for school at their one-stop facility in northwestern OKC.

On Tuesday, Thunder Girls Brooke, Helen and Jada came out to help those kids “shop” for everything they need to start the school year.

“We’re having such a great time with the Thunder Girls,” said Amy Mitchell, executive director of Citizens Caring for Children. “(For the kids) to get to pick out their very own outfit and backpack is really priceless for them because they don’t get to do that (otherwise), but when you add on that the Thunder Girls are here and they get to meet them – they’re celebrities – and they’re having the time of their lives.”

Since 1984, Citizens Caring for Children has been providing kids in foster homes with clothing, shoes, books and other necessities. For the past ten years, they’ve held a Back-to-School event to make sure more Oklahoma children can start the school year with everything they need to be successful.

“It’s great for the kids to come out and get to spend time with the Thunder (Girls) – and get to shop and get new clothes,” said Reggie Richardson, program coordinator for the Genesis Project, a group home that serves abused and neglected boys.

Richardson, who brought four boys to the event on Tuesday, appreciated the help from the Back-to-School program because it allows the Genesis Project to use their limited resources to do other things to take care of their boys.

The boys from Genesis Project are among the 700 children that Citizens Caring for Children expects to serve during this year’s Back-to-School event.

Resource Center Manager Melba Frazier gets to shop for all the clothing and shoes the organization provides.

“The children here today are getting ready for back-to-school, and we get to help them have a wonderful first day,” she said. “It is a labor of love.”

She smiles when she thinks of parents in line at the store overwhelmed with the back-to-school shopping for their own children.

“I shop for 700 or 800 kids every year!” she laughed.

While most kids seemed happy enough just to be shopping for their school outfits, several were filled with excitement to have the Thunder Girls there to help them. The first young girl who came in to shop greeted each of the three Thunder Girls with a joyful hug and excitedly led them through the facility as they helped her get just the right top, jeans and shoes.

When the girl couldn’t find capri pants in her size, Brooke leaned over and showed her how to cuff her jeans to get the same look.

Helen helped one young boy find superhero shoes to give his school uniform some flair, while Jada made sure another boy didn’t overwhelm his Batman shirt by adding Spiderman sneakers.

Kids, foster parents, staff, volunteers and Thunder Girls, presented by Riverwind Casino alike all seemed to delight in sharing this experience.

“I just heard one girl say it’s the best day of her life,” said Mitchell.

Citizens Caring for Children provides opportunities throughout the year for children in the foster-care system to get basic clothing necessities, as well as connect with mentoring and other services. The agency serves more than 3,500 children each year, but they are always looking to connect with more foster children and more volunteers. For information on their services and volunteer opportunities, go to