In early December, about 300 foster kids, parents and other family members convened in Milwaukee’s Third Ward for SaintA’s Annual Candy Cane Connection. For a time, the Italian Conference Center was transformed into a wonderland. There was jewelry making, Grebe’s Bakery cookie decorating, singing, dancing and more! Santa was available for photos and most importantly, to hand out candy canes – the event’s namesake!
In attendance were long-time licensed foster parents and some other familiar faces, as well as some folks attending their first orientation session across the hall that same day. All the families enjoyed visiting with friends and sharing their unique stories of caring for kids.
Some parents spoke of upcoming adoption hearings, while others shared their experiences as mentors for biological parents working toward reunification. All were getting into the holiday spirit despite the lack of snow outdoors at the time. There was plenty of baby cuddling, toddler wrangling and pre-teens giggling about their selfies with Santa.
About 30 SaintA staff members volunteered at the art, cookie and face-painting stations, the registration table or other host and hostess duties. “It’s always so nice to see our families and children in a fun, relaxed environment,” says Teresa Cocker, SaintA Director of Foster Care Services. “We’re thankful to all the SaintA staff who help make events like this happen.”