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Danielle Gletow lends a helping hand to children in foster care

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Many of the requests aren't for physical items at all, she says, but rather the opportunity to have life experiences that many other children have – like music or gymnastics lessons.

"A lot of them do want these experiences that a lot of their friends are having," she says. "We are giving someone an opportunity that they may otherwise go through life not having."

Current wishes include mentoring for a 16-year-old foster child; an entertainment coupon book for a youth shelter in northern New Jersey, which will help organizers afford activities ($30); and photography supplies for a foster child who loves art ($45).

A foster child starting college is also wishing for a laptop computer ($325); another child needs gift cards toward clothing and food ($100); and another wish by a needy child is for a ticket to see "Annie" or a similar musical production ($55).

Fulfilling these wishes, says Martina Davidson, gives a needy child or teen something he or she might never otherwise have or experience.

Ms. Davidson is operations director for PEI Kids, a Lawrence, N.J.-based nonprofit group that provides prevention, education, and intervention programs for children, families, and caregivers related to personal safety, sexual abuse, and the overall well-being of children.

Gletow's work has touched the lives of some of the children at PEI Kids, and Davidson says the impact of such gifts can be tremendous.

One Simple Wish "will come in and provide that extra-special something for that child, whose needs and wants would not necessarily be met," she says. "They provide that extra-special wish for the child that does not always happen."

Life in the foster care system is full of ups and downs, Gletow says. Growing up in just one household throughout childhood is often only a dream. "There are children out there who don't have normal childhoods," she says. "Our child welfare system is broken, and it is leaving many children in devastating circumstances."

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