92 Bowery St., NY 10013

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Foster Family

Dreamin’ of the Smoky Mountains

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*Update: Thanks to three generous donors, the trips have been fully funded complete with spending money. Special thanks to Margaret S. for making sure both boys were able to enjoy this trip, along with Stephanie H. and Michelle K. for ensuring the boys have spending money.

Two of our 5th graders would like to visit the Great Smoky Mountains with their class in April 2016.

Ethan and Justin, 11 year olds from our Ballwin home, are seeking sponsors for their class trip to the Great Smoky Mountains. They each need $415 to cover all travel/lodging/food expenses. Please help us send them on this trip of a lifetime. Their trip deposits of $135 each are due by October 24, 2015.

Click HERE to donate. Any donation amount ($10, $25, $50) would help Ethan and Justin get that much closer to exploring the beautiful ancient mountains, learning about the diversity of plant/animal life as well as all about the Southern Appalachian mountain culture.

Below is a personal request for support from Ethan and Justin:

“The 5th grade Smoky Mountain trip is all about learning new things, like new plants, animals, and other things of life.  The reason I want to go is because I want to learn those things and study new things like insects, beautiful rocks and cool waterfalls which I want to see.  Also, people say it is an AWESOME place.” ~ Ethan

“I, Justin, would like to go to the Smoky Mountains because I would learn about nocturnal animals and take a hike to the waterfall.  Also, I love to find new rocks for my collection, meet new people, and I would have a lot of fun.  To learn about the outdoors and see new things, that is why I would like to go on this trip.” ~ Justin

Foster Family

Little Angels Give Back


Thanks to our generous community, Angels’ Arms foster families are blessed with many wonderful things from clothing, birthday parties, bikes, school supplies and so much more. Debbie Clark, an Angels’ Arms foster parent from our Ballwin home, wanted to show her kiddos and other Angels’ Arms children what it means to give back. She came up with the idea of having our “Little Angels” perform acts of kindness each month in the communities in which they live. First on the list, baking goodies for the local fire department. All three Ballwin homes met up to bake assorted cookies for Metro Station No. 2.

The firefighters welcomed the families with a tour of their firehouse, firetruck, and ambulance. The day ended with the kiddos presenting their thank you cards and cookies to the firefighters.

What a great way to involve the children and show that there are many ways to lend a hand and show appreciation for others. We’re excited to see what the Little Angels will be doing next month.


Our team just grew!

Angels’ Arms welcomes a new member to the team, Amanda O’Neal. She will serve as the Teen Preparedness Director of Life Launch, a new program dedicated to preparing older foster youth living in Angels’ Arms homes. It involves working one-on-one with youth and incorporates life skills, career exploration, job shadowing, mentoring, and college visits as well as collaboration with other agencies focusing on the aging out population.


Amanda earned her Bachelor of Social Work degree from the University of Missouri- Columbia in 2007. She was employed through the MO DSS Children’s Division from May 2007 through August 2015, serving as case manager, resource licensing worker, and resource licensing supervisor. Much of her work included support of older youth and their foster families. She will help develop Life Launch to meet the needs of youth in foster care as they prepare to enter life as young adults.

Amanda is anxiously awaiting graduation from the University of Missouri- Columbia where she will receive a Masters in Social Work with emphasis in program development, policy, and administration in May 2016. When not working or studying, she spends time with her husband Nick, their two boys, Max (4) and Jon (2), and their extended families. They enjoy going to the zoo, swimming, and going to the playground.

Foster Family

The Clothing Fairy

At least three times per year, Angels’ Arms supporter Sylvia Zedan donates children’s clothing to Angels’ Arms foster families. The clothing is always new and always from Kohls. She saves her 30% off coupons and hits the sale and clearance racks. She loves to shop for boy’s clothes, especially, and has become a master at snagging the best deals. “I go when they have the big sales. I found a pair of pants in the clearance rack for $12 dollars and thought; I can do better than that. I went back a week later and the same pants were now $8. That’s more my price.”

She’s been shopping for our Angels’ Arms kids since August of 2011. She learned about Angels’ Arms through Zip Rzeppa. “I have always respected Zip and thought I should look into the organization he’s involved with.” She attended an event where she noticed some kids were wearing old t-shirts and wanted to help get them new clothes. She’s never looked back.

Every Easter, back-to-school season and Christmas, Sylvia drops off bags and bags of brand new boys clothes, complete with tags. She lets the foster moms and kids pick out their favorites outfits. Her support has meant so much to Angels’ Arms and the kids who benefit from her donations.


In Memory of Dan Reilly


A dear friend and long time supporter of Angels’ Arms recently passed away. The enthusiasm he brought to each event was something we’ll always remember. Dan was the first one to volunteer to sell tickets to the cooler of booze raffle at our fundraisers. He went to all of his buddies in Soulard to get gift cards for the auction. He wore beads and greeted everyone with the most radiating smile imaginable. And then there were the hugs and the kisses many of us were lucky enough to get.

He was a beloved employee at Anheuser Busch and his fellow co-workers honored him with a special toast and by wearing his favorite color, red. It was a beautiful moment which you can watch HERE.

You will always be with us, Dan. Your spirit will forever be among us. Thank you for showing us how to truly live  life, regardless of the challenges one faces.

Your Angels’ Arms Family

Foster Family

People Need Help

Few things in life can bring us complete, down-to-your-core joy. This is different than happiness. It’s different than satisfaction.

One of the things I’m convinced brings this type of joy is when you serve others. When I say “serve” others, I mean truly help them.

Approaching 50 years of age in a few months has brought me to a different level in life. At this level, I have come to know that life is about helping others. It sounds simple and even cliché, and that’s because it is simple. Helping each other through this experience of living life is what we should be doing day in and day out.

Many people think that their purpose on this earth is to find a career you love, to excel at a hobby or skill or talent, to be a good parent, to be good friend, be a good church-goer or religion follower; the list goes on and on of ways we try to fulfill ourselves.

All of these goals and purposes are good, and we should by all means aim to achieve them and be the best we can be. But life is so much more than that.

Every single one of us is part of a community of people who all need each other in different ways. Some people don’t care to admit that. Some people don’t believe that. But it’s a fact. Everyone needs someone, and we all experience challenges, dreams, and times when we need to invoke the help of our fellow humans.

It’s easy for those of blessed with a loving family, a righteous and fulfilling upbringing-or even just a decent one-who had someone in our lives who loved us, to focus solely on our own personal joy and/or our own families.

But that’s not why we’re here. We have to open our eyes. We have to step outside of our comfort zones and find ways to serve others.

Helping others involves taking time to find where your impact can be made and best used. Open your eyes and ears. See where there’s a need. We all can’t start a charity.

But if we all find one person, one family who needs help, imagine what could happen. Believe me, they’re out there. And they’re everywhere: in every single city, neighborhood, section, village, and town of the world.

The manner in which we get involved is up to us. Some of us open our homes to people. Some of us write checks to pay for tuition. Some of us purchase food, clothing and other necessities. Some of us invite them to holiday or special occasions.

When I was child, the church we belonged to decided to host a misplaced and lost family from Vietnam living in a refugee camp. They lived in our church basement. My mom extended her reach by offering them to shower and bathe in our home and by including them in our family dinners. I still remember having this family of 6 celebrate their very first Thanksgiving with us. The lessons we as children learned from this were invaluable and life-changing. People need people.

We can exempt ourselves from getting involved by saying how busy we are and that we’ll do this after our kids go to college. We can live in the fear some of these people having a bad influence on our children or being a potential danger to us or our homes. We can say that we’re financially struggling ourselves and can barely make ends meet. The list of so-called reasons not to help others is long.

Now is the time. People are crying out for help everywhere. They might not ask for it, nor might they appear to need it, nor might they accept it. But the fact remains: people need people, and being present for them is the only way to truly live.

I’ll end with a soul-touching story that is playing out now with a beautiful girl named Monique.

Monique has been in one of our Angels’ Arms homes for 12 years. She did well in school and had an infectious smile and always upbeat demeanor. She decided to go out on her own at the age of 19 and get out of the foster system. As is often the case with foster kids aging out, things didn’t work out too well. You see, Monique needed people. But she didn’t know who to go to and how to ask. Her pride was in the way.

The staff at Angels’ Arms decided to help this young lady. And guess what’s happening? Monique is quitting her current fast food job that is taking advantage of her and dictating her life. We took her to apply after a bit of coaching to a nice local restaurant, and she got the job on the spot after 2 interviews. We helped her complete her FASFA forms and apply at Meramec Community College. We tracked down her birth certificate and other documents that were needed. We arranged for a dentist to donate his services to fix her front teeth all banged up from a car accident. He did it the same day in a matter of an hour.

The process of helping Monique took several hours and days. We all have so many other things to do. But seeing this one lovely young lady realize that she needs others to help her and seeing the joy in her face and her confidence go through the roof is worth it all. Monique gets it. People need people. If only we could all embrace this fact.


Monique right before her job interview, that she landed on the spot!

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Bess Wilfong,
Angels’ Arms Founder/Executive Director

Foster Family

$10 goes a long way…

With as little as a $10 donation, YOU can help us send our kids back to school in a new outfit.

FINAL UPDATE: 7/31 – 10:40pm – WE DID IT!!! We hit our $5,000 goal and with just a little over an hour to spare. THANK YOU to everyone who donated and made this possible. Because of you, ALL our kiddos will have new clothing for back-to-school.

UPDATE: 7/30 – 11:22am – We’ve raised $4,320 and are only $680 shy of our goal with 24 hours to go until the deadline. Please donate what you can. Thank you!

Many of us have fond memories of being kids and going back-to-school shopping for school supplies, new clothes and shoes. Of the 55 foster children living in an Angels’ Arms home, 45 of them will be starting school in a few short weeks. Much of their current wardrobe is made up of hand-me-down clothes. Let’s give them a confidence boost for the first day of school with a brand new outfit they pick out themselves. They too are deserving of those memories.

Our goal is to raise the $5,000 by August 1st so the foster families can take advantage of shopping for their kids on tax-free weekend, August 7-9.

Click HERE to donate NOW!!!

If every single person who reads this blog post gives at least $10, we will surpass our goal in no time.
Will you help?

Your donation is 100% tax deductible.
Please share this link with your family and friends.


A Childhood Without Pictures


Photo courtesy of Casey Trueman Photography

Today’s generation will grow up with every season of life captured in photographs. From daily moments caught on camera phones to annual school pictures, memories now live forever for the average kid next door. But this is not the case for thousands of foster children in our country. They move from foster home to foster home, school to school, never capturing special childhood milestones in photographs but Angels’ Arms supporter Casey Trueman is hoping to change that, one photo at a time.

Casey first began her photography career when she received a professional camera as a Christmas gift. What started as a hobby turned into something she could see herself doing long term. She went from casually taking pictures of her children to setting up photo sessions with her friends and family. After seeing an Angels’ Arms facebook post seeking a volunteer photographer,  Casey immediately responded with the intent to help.  “I looked up Angels’ Arms online and fell in love with the mission. Anyone who welcomes a child into their home with unconditional love is a hero in my eyes.” said Casey.

“As a mother, I know how quickly childhood passes and I try to freeze those moments for my kids,” Casey stated. “When I see my family pictures on the wall and think about families who don’t have that, I want to help.”

Casey has been a wonderful support system to Angels’ Arms over the years. She’s hosted numerous photo sessions for Angels’ Arms foster families. Many of the kids never had professional photographs taken before but thanks to Casey, they now have beautiful pictures that they will treasure forever.

Written by: Kelsey Baker – Angels’ Arms Intern

About Casey Trueman Photography:
Casey is a natural light, outdoor photographer who specializes in senior and family portraits. “I want to give my clients a fun, stress-free experience and beautiful images that capture their personalities and lives,” said Casey. To learn more or contact Casey, please visit her website at or like her Facebook Page, Casey Trueman Photography.


Foster Family

School Supplies Needed

Can you believe school will be starting again in a month?!?! Soon the stores will be filled with moms and dads buying notebooks, pencils, calculators and more. Children will be picking out their backpacks and lunch boxes, while moms stock up on lunch favorites.

Of the 55 children living in an Angels’ Arms home, 45 of them will also be preparing for a new school year. Thanks to our friends at The Crossing, our children will be provided with new backpacks and the basic necessities for the first day of school. However, there are still a few additional items needed. As you’re picking up items for your children, nieces, nephews, or grandchildren, please consider picking up a few needed items for our Angel’s Arms kids as well.

Donations can be dropped off at the Angels’ Arms office at 12128A Tesson Ferry Rd, St. Louis, MO 63128. If you would like for someone to pick up your donation, please contact Amber Odom at 314.842.8400.

Items Needed:
Clorox wipes
Lysol disinfecting spray
TI-89 graphing calculator (2)
Two pocket folders in assorted colors
1-subject notebook in assorted colors
2″ and 4″ 3-ring binders

Thank you in advance for your kindness.


Amber Odom
Administrative Assistant


Angels’ Arms Opens House #11

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After many months of renovations, Angels’ Arms opened its newest foster home in July. Foster mom Kim Hergemueller and her fiance David will reside in the home with their eight year old daughter and up to five additional foster children.  Kim has been fostering for 13 years and to date has cared for close to 50 children. She was thrilled for the opportunity to join the Angels’ Arms family and move to a larger residence where she and David will be able to provide more children with a safe and loving place to call home.

The house was gifted to Angels’ Arms in 2014 by a very generous donor. This is the eleventh Angels’ Arms home and the third home to be located in the Ballwin, MO area. The other eight Angels’ Arms homes are located in South St. Louis City, South St. Louis County, Ferguson, Florissant and O’Fallon, MO.

The house renovations would not have been possible without numerous donors and volunteers who contributed thousands of dollars worth of labor and supplies to the project.

Special thanks goes out to the following individuals, groups and businesses:
Rick Winchester – Architectural Concepts
Two Men and a Truck
Kaplan University Learning Center – St. Louis
Mike Meyer
Mike Niedringhaus
Mike Bork
Tim Hessel
Tom Jaggie
Eric Verhulst and Friends
Trish Munson
Grace Bisaga
Marissa Lampley
Stacey Kee