Resident Feature

Set To Thrive: Helping Our Communities Foster Youth

May is Foster Care Awareness Month! 

Set To Thrive launched in 2021 and came from the idea that children entering the foster care system deserve access to new, brand-name essential items to provide them a sense of comfort and confidence during a difficult time in their lives. 

There are approximately 1,000 children in foster care in Contra Costa County and approximately 1,200 in Alameda County. The moment when a child enters the foster care system is a moment of extreme vulnerability and stress, and it can often be traumatic. Many of these children only have the clothes on their backs, and maybe little more. Set To Thrive is a California nonprofit charity that seeks to ease that transition by providing these children with a custom bag – a Thrive Bag.

We fill each custom Thrive Bag with a new backpack or duffel, two days of clothing, underwear, socks, tennis shoes, hygiene items, as well as other items to help ease the transition. We customize each bag for each child, including fit, ethnic hair care products, LGBTQ ordering options, etc. Our goal is to help each child thrive in their new home and community. 

We work directly with many organizations – County agencies and private nonprofit groups – that support foster children. When a new child enters the system, those organizations request a Thrive Bag through the Set To Thrive website fillable order form. Once ordered, we provide that child’s custom-ordered Thrive Bag to that organization within two days. 

Set To Thrive currently serves our community’s children from ages 0-18 years old that are entering into or transitioning within the foster care system. We have been very successful during our inaugural year. Our growth plans include both expanding to surrounding counties and also partnering with other foster organizations that assist foster youth who “age out” of foster care on their 18th birthday.

Set To Thrive relies on individual donations and corporate partners. For more information on how you can help, please visit our website at

By Lisa Henderson, President & CEO