Since opening its doors in August of 2016, Phoenix-based Thrive AZ has made it their mission to change the lives of countless Arizona families for the better. Thrive AZ has played an integral role in foster care prevention, biological family reunification, and services for aged out by connecting deserving families and youth with critical resources and support that would otherwise be out of reach.
As a volunteer about 5 years ago, Thrive AZ founder, Teri Vogel, was working with a young woman who was dealing with a crisis pregnancy. She was also dealing with domestic violence, substance abuse, a history of trauma. She was six months pregnant, and Teri was working with her as an advocate to help reunite her with her six other children that were in foster care.
Teri and her husband, Steve, decided to help take in her baby when it was born to help her focus on the things she was dealing with. Over time, they were able to move the mom into a temporary home, help her find employment, and connect her with other resources she would need—and slowly reunite her with her infant son and her six other children.
It was this woman and her family that showed Teri the challenges that families face while navigating the foster care system. Because of her time working with this mom, Teri came to learn that at the time, there were 18,000 kids in foster care. Every 40 seconds in the state of Arizona, a child was being removed from their home and put into the foster care system. Teri knew why they were removed – they didn’t have beds, they didn’t have enough food, they were sleeping in cars. They didn’t have the basic needs for their family to just survive. At that point, she couldn’t unknow it.
That’s where the passion came from. Walking with this mother and seeing all of the missing pieces that had to come together for her to get back on track. Our work with Thrive AZ comes from a very deep place in our hearts because we were a part of that journey.