Angel Gring-Vazquez displays some of the many bags and luggage he collected for youths in foster care. This photograph is from his first collection effort on his 16th birthday.

Adopted youth makes sure other children don’t have to ‘trash’ belongings

Topton, Pa. Tuesday November 26, 2013

As a child, Angel Gring-Vazquez moved seven times—from one foster home to another—toting all of his possessions in large green garbage bags. And he wasn’t the only child to move this way; like Gring-Vazquez, many children in foster care don’t own luggage.

That memory haunted him, even after he was adopted by a loving family in 2005, until his 16th birthday in 2010. That’s when he asked guests at his birthday party to donate a duffel bag or backpack instead of buying him a gift. He received more than 150 bags that he graciously and generously donated to Diakon Adoption & Foster Care.

“The way he cares for others is so admirable.”

The experience was so positive that the young man recently decided to repeat the gesture for his senior graduation project. “I went door to door at school asking the students if they had extra luggage or backpacks they would donate,” he says. “By the last day of school, there were a lot of bags.” In fact, Gring-Vazquez ended up collecting and donating four boxes of bags to Diakon Adoption & Foster Care.

Kathy Roach, director of permanency services for the Diakon Adoption & Foster Care office in Topton, Pa., appreciates Gring-Vazquez’s spirit and kindness. “We are so grateful for Angel’s donation,” she says. “For a young man who was in foster care to remember and care about others in the same situation is so admirable.”

Angel poses on graduation day with his adoptive father, Ted Vazquez. Angel's graduation was the occasion for his second collection of luggage for youths in foster care.

Angel poses on graduation day with his adoptive father, Ted Vazquez. Angel's graduation was the occasion for his second collection of luggage for youths in foster care.

 

Without his adoptive family, Gring-Vazquez’s future had been uncertain. Now, he is working and looking forward to a future in the military. He is not only excited to travel, but also feels as if he is indebted to this nation. “I feel like I owe my country and the world something,” says Angel, shown above with his adoptive father, Ted.


If you would like to donate new or unused bags that youths in foster care can use, please contact Diakon Adoption & Foster Care at (610) 682-1504 (Topton office), (717) 795-0320 (Mechanicsburg office), or (717) 845-9113 (York office).

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