Quantez Russell Scholarship Fund, Sheriff’s Office gives back to Foster Care

Published 10:00 am Wednesday, February 14, 2024

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The Quantez Russell Scholarship Fund and Suffolk Sheriff’s Department joined together to bring new stuffed animals donated by the Sheriff’s Office and the community to the Suffolk Social Services’ Foster Care Unit on Tuesday, Jan. 30, at 135 Hall Ave. The scholarship, named after Quantez DeMont Russell, who disappeared on Nov. 11, 2015, aims to help Suffolk youth while keeping his name alive.

Joan Turner of the Quantez Russell Scholarship Fund and Russell’s mother say the scholarship fund is based on families affected by violence and aims to partner with various organizations to assist Suffolk youth. She talked about what prompted her to give back to the unit.

“I thought this would be a great idea since there [might] be some kids who are moving from one home to another and may not have a lot of personal belongings to have a special NEW stuffed animal,” Turner said. “Quantez used to sleep with his favorite stuffed animal and his little cars, so this is what prompted me [to think] of this idea.” 

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Turner also shared that while the scholarship fund had to cancel this month’s Sneaker Ball event, aiming to help SPS high school seniors further their education, she hopes that those who would attend the event can donate a new stuffed animal to help the Foster Care Unit. Family Services Supervisor Brandy Miller of Suffolk Social Services also discussed ways for Suffolk residents to support the Foster Care Unit.

“My team works specifically with youth in foster care, and as you can imagine, this work is tough! Day in and day out, we are trying to ensure the youth in foster care are not only safe, but also ensuring each and every child has an appropriate plan for permanency,” Miller said. “Some ways the citizens of Suffolk can support Suffolk Dept. of Social Services Foster Care team includes volunteering time to help at the agency filing, cleaning up, sorting foster children’s belongings, sharing random appreciation gifts, providing small tokens of appreciation [and] sponsoring luncheons for the team…”

Miller says that families can better support loved ones going through traumatic and difficult circumstances by allowing parents time to themselves while children are with a babysitter.

“Other ways for families to be supportive include spending time with each other, participating in daily or even weekly activities as a family, [such as] bowling, taking a walk, worshiping, and just taking time to truly observe their love ones and their needs,” Miller said.