Teenager fosters kindness

Rosaria Marsh (15), of Dunedin, gives presents to Foster Bear, the Child, Youth and Family mascot. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
Rosaria Marsh (15), of Dunedin, gives presents to Foster Bear, the Child, Youth and Family mascot. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
A teen is using her babysitting money to put smiles on the faces of Dunedin foster children.

Columba College pupil Rosaria Marsh (15), of Dunedin, said she bought surprise birthday gifts for children in Child, Youth and Family (CYF) care with money she saved from babysitting.

''I want to put a smile on kids' faces who haven't had the most pleasant start to life.''

A former classmate at her primary school, who had lived in many foster homes and lacked birthday presents, had inspired her to start buying presents.

Since Easter, Rosaria had bought 20 presents and had created a Facebook page, With Love, to collect donated toys.

Child, Youth and Family Dunedin manager Christine McKenna said Rosaria's gift giving was ''absolutely wonderful''.

''It is lovely to see young people thinking about their peers - and younger children - and those not as fortunate as themselves. It's just awesome.''

The gifts would be matched to suitable children in care in Dunedin, who were aged between 2 weeks and 17, she said.

Social workers would present the gifts to the children on their birthday, she said.

Rosaria said she often included an anonymous note with the presents, ''just to remind them that someone is thinking of them on their birthdays''.

At June 30 this year, 117 children and young people in Otago were in out-of-home care.

shawn.mcavinue@odt.co.nz

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