92 Bowery St., NY 10013

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Foster Family

A Farewell to the Browns

Katie and Josh Brown have been an integral part of the Angels’ Arms family since 2011. They have treated every single child who has entered their home with love and compassion. The Browns are known for their love of the outdoors. During their time at Angels’ Arms, they have given children the opportunity to enjoy fun outdoor activities they normally would have never had.

“It’s so exciting to show kids who come to our home a whole world of experiences that they haven’t seen before,” says Katie. “Whether it’s going for a nature hike, running in their first 5k, or even just playing at a local

 park. One of my favorite memories was taking a young man on his first hike, he told me afterwards he had ‘no idea there was so much space out there to just walk around.’”

Below, we asked them a few questions about their time at Angels’ Arms:

  1. How long have you been with Angels’ Arms? How many years have you been fostering total?

We have been with Angels’ Arms for 9 years and fostering for 12 years total.

  1. What made you want to become a foster parent?

We both grew up understanding the need for kids to have a stable home due to our own life experiences.  It was, and still is, important to us to be a safe, stable support for kids in need.

  1. How many kids have you fostered through Angels’ Arms? 

We fostered around 50 different kids during our time with Angels’ Arms.  Kids as young as 2 weeks to young adults and just about every age in between!

  1. What has being a part of Angels’ Arms meant to you?

Being a part of Angels’ Arms, meant being a part of a family.  Without having many of our own family members close to us in St Louis, Angels’ Arms became like family and a strong support for us.  The love and generosity of the community not only helped the foster children we served but we also made some invaluable friendships along the way.

  1. What is your fondest memory of being with Angels’ Arms? 

We have so many special memories from our time at Angels’ Arms.  One of my first memories was when we took an infant girl shortly after moving into the Angels’ Arms home.  Within less than 24 hours of asking for clothes for the girl, we had an entire porch full of clothes for her!  We hadn’t felt that kind of love and support before with fostering!  Another fond memory we have were of the monthly family activities.  The volunteers who ran those activities had such a way of making each child feel special and appreciated!  We truly looked forward to each one because it brought such joy to the kids!  

  1. What’s next for you and your family?

We will miss being such an integral part of the Angels’ Arms family but with our 2 children growing up and needing more from us, we need to take a step back from taking the larger number of foster kids.  We will continue to serve children in the St. Louis area so keep an eye out, the Browns will still be around!  We want to thank each person who has been a part of our Angels’ Arms journey, you’ve made such a difference not just in our lives but in the lives of all the children we were able to foster with your support.  Thank you!

[ngg src=”galleries” ids=”13″ display=”basic_thumbnail” thumbnail_crop=”0″]As their chapter with Angels’ Arms comes to a close, we will not forget how essential they have been to Angels’ Arms’ entire story. The following is a message from our Founder and Executive Director, Bess, about how the Brown family has impacted Angels’ Arms’ mission:

Many of you have been fortunate to get to know some pretty special foster parents who have lived in our home in Winghaven for 9 years. Josh and Katie Brown have been family to many children in need over the years. But these two individuals go way beyond what foster parents are expected to do.
While taking kids who’ve been physically abused, sexually molested and severely neglected, they make sure that each of these children receives every available resource out there. They ensure that each child is included in all aspects of family life. In short, they truly love each and every child and teen who walks through their door.
I recall Josh, who’s a pilot, taking the kids on a tour of a plane. 
I recall Katie visiting incarcerated biological parents on multiple occasions and trying to keep the lines of communication open with their children. 
I recall Josh and Katie visiting the homes of the biological families to try and make the transition back home from their foster home a bit smoother.
I recall them taking children to the emergency room at all hours of the night.
I recall them ensuring the children in their care ate healthy and became physically active. They even enrolled some of them in walks and marathons.
I recall them going to church every week and ensuring the kids felt comfortable in their classes.
I recall Katie being in the delivery room with one of their teens who came to them pregnant. She was a mom to this young girl and still remains a part of her life. 
I recall Josh teaching a teen how to drive and trying to guide him in the right direction through all of his challenges. They still are in touch to this day.
And finally, I recall the day when this beautiful family adopted Zeke, a young boy full of life and tons of potential. And I recall the day they adopted sweet Olivia, a caring and lovely little girl. 
Please join me in sending off Josh, Katie, Zeke and Olivia Brown as they transition into their next chapter of life. They will be sorely missed by all of us, but they will always continue to do God’s work. Their journey is rooted in faith, and that’s where they get their extreme dedication and strength.

Working Remotely

Out of an abundance of caution for our team members, foster families, volunteers and supporters, we are following CDC recommended guidelines surrounding COVID-19 and will be working remotely through April 3. Although our physical office will be closed, we will continue to be available to support our foster families on a daily basis and will provide them with resources they need to care for the children in their homes.

Also, in an effort to keep our families and supporters safe, we are limiting visitors to our homes and suspending all meal drop-offs, birthday pal sign ups and volunteer work days. These are uncertain times, but there are still things you can do to help the families living in our homes:

  1. If you wish to continue to support our families with a meal, we ask that you consider making a donation on our website instead so that we can purchase grocery gift cards for the homes.
  2. For those who wish to ensure our March and April birthday kids still have a birthday celebration, we encourage you to send a birthday card and include a gift card if you wish. For a list of birthdays, email
  3. Visit our Amazon wishlist and have supplies delivered directly to our families.

As far as our May 15th Sip and Savor Fundraising Event , we have not made any decision to cancel or reschedule the event but we are monitoring the situation closely and will make any future updates relating to the event via our website and facebook page.

Sending you lots of healthy and positive energy!
Team Angels’ Arms

Get to know the new Junior Board President

In November of last year, the Junior Board elected a new President – Jordan Shelton! She previously served as the Vice President of the Junior Board and was the recipient of the 2017 Angel of the Year Award. Jordan got involved with Angels’ Arms since she joined the Junior Board in 2015. Her decision to join stemmed from her teaching; one of the students in her class was in the foster care system and separated from his sibling. Upon learning this information about her student, Jordan recalled hearing about a nonprofit whose mission was to keep siblings in the foster care system together – Enter Angels’ Arms and the Junior Board! Jordan says she hasn’t looked back since filling out the Junior Board application.

Below, we asked Jordan a couple quick questions about her newly-elected role and what Angels’ Arms means to her:


What’s your favorite part about being on the Junior Board?

I can’t pick just one favorite part of being on the Junior Board, it is so much fun for such a great cause! A few of my favorite parts of being on the Junior Board are getting to plan and execute fun events with the rest of the Junior Board that raise money to help the kids in the Angels’ Arms homes and getting to plan and attend events with the kids in the Angels’ Arms homes. Events like Trivia Night, Sip & Savor, and Bar Bounce are so fun to plan and a blast to attend, but getting the opportunity to meet the kids and young adults in the Angels’ Arms homes at those events really warms my heart and reminds me why we do those other events.


Describe what it means to be elected President of the Junior Board.

It is such an honor to be the new President of the Junior Board! I have had a lot of great examples to follow from the past presidents and I am so excited to get to help lead such an involved and passionate group of young professionals. The members of the Angels’ Arms Junior Board really help make my job fun because they are so involved, bring lots of great ideas, and have a heart for these kids.


“From the moment Jordan joined the Junior Board she jumped right in and took leadership roles by serving on committees, becoming the chair of events, and going above and beyond in many other ways,” says our Event Coordinator, Maria. “She was dedicated since day one and that passion for the organization has only grown. She is a terrific advocate for Angels’ Arms and is constantly finding ways to make the Junior Board more organized and effective. Two things I love! Those qualities, along with her ability to encourage others on the Junior Board to also be more dedicated and involved, have helped to create a wonderful environment and camaraderie between all of the members. We just love Jordan!”
We are so lucky to have someone who is so passionate about the work we do as our Junior Board President. People who have the drive and determination, such as Jordan, are the reason our Junior Board has raised over one million dollars for Angels’ Arms! We cannot wait to see all of the amazing things Jordan does as President.

Jordan at our annual Skating with Santa event.

Jordan at our annual Sip and Savor event.

Jordan receiving the and 2017 Angel of the Year Award.


The Angel Shop

The wait is over – we have brand new merchandise! Visit The Angel Shop to get all of your Angels’ Arms gear. Sport your favorite charity organization while golfing with our stylish new quarter-zip. Or get the kids involved with our first-ever toddler and youth graphic t-shirt. You can have your ordered shipped to you for a small shipping fee, or pick it up from our office. 100% of the proceeds go directly to the foster families living in all of the Angels’ Arms homes.

Life Launch

National Mentoring Month

January is National Mentoring Month! According to National Day Calendar, all throughout January we “focus on how we can all work together to increase the number of mentors to make sure young people in our communities have dependable people to look up to and follow in their footsteps.”

The mentors who help the kids in our Life Launch program are truly unmatched. We currently have several teens and young adults, ages 14-21, who take part in Life Launch, which is an extensive program that involves working one-on-one with foster youth and incorporates life skills, career exploration, job shadowing, college visits and mentoring. One of the most important pieces of Life Launch is matching every single youth with a mentor. Mentors help guide our youth as they explore, prepare and transition from foster care to young adult life.

“Being Jason’s mentor has been an incredible experience for me,” says Nate, mentor to an Angels’ Arms youth. “The opportunity to have fun with someone, build a friendship with them, and pour into their life in a positive way is a huge blessing. I highly recommend it! Our lives are so much more meaningful and rich when we invest in others. I believe mentoring not only provides an opportunity to make an impact in someone else’s life – it provides an opportunity to impact your life as well.”

Not only do the mentors prepare them for life, but they also help our youth start to trust others again and form meaningful relationships. 

“Nate has been more like family to me than just a mentor,” says Jason, the Angels’ Arms youth who was matched up with Nate. “He’s always positive and that makes being around him all the more enjoyable. He’s so nice and checks in with me a lot. I appreciate things like how we always laugh when we’re together and how he’s super sincere about who he is. I am grateful he’s my mentor and my friend.”

For more information about what it takes to be a mentor to one of our youth, email or visit the Life Launch page on our website.


A message from our Founder & Executive Director

What started as an idea of getting the community involved in foster children’s lives is now a 20-year-old organization that has served close to 600 children. No single person can be given the credit of starting this thing. From the very first day as we gathered around my dinner table with close friends, the support and determination and hard work began. Each day that we shared the idea of providing a loving family to foster children with a focus of keeping siblings together, more and more people came forward and showed their love.

First was the 501c3 application process. (No one told me I could have an attorney handle this.)

Next was gathering a group of passionate and committed individuals to form a board. 

We needed to generate funds so we sold cookbooks resulting in a whopping $4,000 profit. 

Then Tom Hartanagel (founding Board Member) decided to host a fashion show/auction. We had 100 guests and were beyond elated.

Then came the first house. John Dennis, a teacher I worked with at Sperreng Middle, decided to help us obtain the house across the street. It was big. It had a huge yard. It was a great location. It was $400,000. John Dennis believed.

From that point on every weekend over the course of 9 months was dedicated to transforming this dark and old house with shag carpet throughout (they even left us a rake!). Volunteers poured in from all over the place and made this house a warm home. People adopted rooms, made meals for the volunteers, donated supplies, held garage sales, painted, remodeled, replaced, tore down, and gave and gave until 12128 Tesson Ferry was ready to be called a home and to welcome children of all ages. 

Next came the search for foster parents. Interview after interview finally resulted in Becky and Jesse Hughes being chosen as the inaugural house parents. Their application read like this: “How long do you see yourselves doing this?” “Until we’re physically unable or until God calls us home.” 

Next enter the Greek ladies. From the time that we had one home all the way to 13 of them, these selfless and beautiful souls hosted activities every single month for all the families. Their outings started with a family of 12 and ended with over 100 participants each month. 

The foster system is broken. Most people in the field either quit from burnout, sadness and frustration, and they’re told to keep quiet about what happens. 

It doesn’t have to be that way. We should all have the opportunity to be a part of these children’s lives. 

And that’s what happens every day at Angels’ Arms. People give in countless ways. Lemonade stands. Cereal drives. Meal drop-offs. Birthday celebrations. Hundreds of fundraisers. Tons of work days. Activities and opportunities. We’ve had everything from a carnival in the backyard to kickball and wiffle ball tournaments to Easter egg hunts and more. We’ve witnessed more acts of love and kindness than we ever would have imagined.

But at the end of every single day we know this: all children need love. And all children who’ve lived and are currently living in one of our 13 homes get just that. There is so much love in every action that people take. We get to witness this every day. And more importantly, each child experiences this love. 

Sometimes we deal with heartache. Sometimes we feel defeated. Sometimes we get tired. But then we are energized by the smile on a child’s face or the letter that a youth writes us or the story that a foster parent shares conveying something that may seem small to most but is huge for them. 

I’ve said this since the year 2000 and I say it almost daily: we’re all in this together. Giving and showing love is something everyone can do. That is what changes lives. Truly the most powerful therapy is human love.  We are filled with wonder and excitement to see what another decade brings. Yes, the foster system is broken. Yes, we are fixing it…one child at a time. 


New Year; New Decade; New Logo!

As we head into the new decade, we head into a new chapter of Angels’ Arms as well. We are so overwhelmed and overjoyed with the outpouring of support we’ve had for the past 20 years. We couldn’t have made our mission possible without the help of our supports, donors, board members, junior board members and staff. Because of this monumental year, we have rolled out THREE new logos to showcase our excitement.

“There’s much work to be done,” says Bess, our Founder and Executive Director. “More kids, more outreach, more homes, more families and more love.”




Making the Season Merry and Bright

The outpouring of love that our families have received in the past week is overwhelming. We had over 40 companies and individual donors who adopted our families in order to ensure they were taken care of this holiday season. Joy, laughter and love are three words that simply describe how we felt seeing the support for our families. From all of our at Angels’ Arms, including our families, staff and board members, we wish you a happy holidays.

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Upcoming December Events

We are dubbing this Thursday, December 12th the unofficial “Angels’ Arms event day.” There are THREE, that’s right three, events supporting Angels’ Arms on Thursday; read below to find which one (or two) you’d like to join us at!

Junior Board Karaoke Happy Hour

Date: Wednesday, December 11th
Time: 5:00pm

Regular Happy Hour Deals at Double D’s are 5:00pm-7:00pm. With a purchase of a bracelet, an individual will get an extra hour of the deals ($2 off draft, $1 off well/bottles).

Check out the Facebook event page for more details!




Saks Fifth Ave. Soiree & Profit Share Weekend

Date: December 12 – December 14

Enjoy an exclusive shopping experience during Saks’ December Gift Card Event. There will be live music, light bites and cocktails.
Can’t make the soiree? No problem! Saks Fifth Avenue St. Louis is proud to donate 10% of sales to Angels’ Arms all weekend long – Thursday, December 12 to Saturday, December 14. This is the largest percentage Saks has given back all year, and we are so beyond grateful.
Learn more here!



Guy Phillips at Vin de Set

Date: Thursday, December 12th
Time: 3:00-6:00pm
Join KTRS The Big 550 on-air personalities Guy Philips and Heidi Glaus for a happy hour at Vin de Set as they broadcast The Guy Phillips Show LIVE on location. Come and treat yourself to some beautifully crafted cocktails and yummy French-inspired eats. A percentage from the happy hour will benefit Angels’ Arms! 
Life Launch

A Helping Hand

Last week, Bess and Cat took one of our youth, Faith, to meet with MOHELA (Missouri Higher Education Loans Association) to discuss how she may go about furthering her education. Faith talked about some barriers that have hindered her from dedicating as much time as she should be to her studies; her car payment itself was causing her to work multiple jobs, which takes away time that could be used completing homework. To our amazement, MOHELA said they could pay off the rest of her car payments! This caused the tears to flow. “Do you realize this is changing my entire life?!” exclaimed Faith. She will now be able to forgo one of her multiple jobs in order to focus more on her studies.

But the good news didn’t stop there.

They asked what else some of our college-aged youth needed that they could help with. Cat mentioned that one of our other youth, Josh, was in a rent predicament; the person he was splitting rent with moved out suddenly and he couldn’t afford to pay double. MOHELA, without hesitation, said they were more than willing to help pay half of Josh’s rent for the next seven months! Our jaws hit the floor. 

MOHELA has a fund set aside in order to give back to the community. The truly are changing the lives of our youth one step at a time. We now have a great partnership with them, and they are willing to help with other school-related needs of the youth who are seeking to further their education. We cannot thank them enough for their support!