Making A Difference
Posted on October 7th, 2019
Congratulations to Aleks Pesali, recipient of Kit Magazine’s Women Making a Difference Award.
When Fishers resident Aleks Pesalj began volunteering with Child Advocates as a CASA (court appointed special advocate) in March of 2009, she didn’t dream the decision would completely change her life, and even result in her founding a related non-profit to help foster children in another way.
During her time as a CASA volunteer, Aleks has represented 20 children. She noticed that each child she represented had one thing in common – they didn’t always receive gifts on their birthdays or holidays. Typically bouncing from one placement to the next, even getting basic needs met could be a struggle. Heartbroken by the situations she saw, but inspired by the children, Aleks wanted to find a way to brighten their very difficult days.
In 2012, Aleks founded Foster Fairies to help make these kids’ wishes come true, whether it be fulfilling a special birthday wish, making sure prom is an unforgettable experience, or providing items as essential as toiletry products. Via Foster Fairies, Aleks matches the needs and wishes of kids in foster care with eager donors, typically via the Foster Fairies Facebook page.
Foster Fairies has grown exponentially in seven years but remains steadfast to its original mission: representing and helping children who might otherwise be forgotten, and showing them that sometimes the world can offer kindness and hope. Today, over 4,100 people, follow the Foster Fairies Facebook page eager to fulfill the needs and desires of our community’s most vulnerable population. Often, “wishes” are granted within minutes of her posting a request.
Aleks has a true passion and genuine enthusiasm for helping children, and her leadership is contagious. Her supporters regularly ask her how they can help more, pushing her to find creative ways for everyone to get involved. She recently led an initiative called, “A Chance for Underpants,” an effort to ensure youth had access to new, appropriately sized underwear. This is one example of the many innovative ways Aleks serves our community’s youth.
From the beginning of Foster Fairies, Aleks has collaborated with Child Advocates in an effort to ensure all children have the opportunity to open gifts during the holidays. It is not uncommon for her to recruit more donors than there are children with wishes. In the weeks leading up to Christmas, she drives around picking up gifts and spends 12+ hours at a warehouse accepting, processing, and sorting gifts in preparation for delivery to children. When donors arrive at the warehouse with their carefully selected gifts, they greet Aleks as if she’s an old friend, even if they’re meeting her for the first time.
On Christmas Eve, you can find her out delivering gifts or welcoming advocates into her home to gather toys for children who have just entered the child welfare system. Her dedication to these children is remarkable. Because of her tireless efforts in organizing individuals, companies, and other groups, over 2,800 children were sponsored during the 2018 holiday season.
In the midst of raising her own family, working, and going to school, single mom Aleks always makes time for youth in need. In moments of exhaustion, she reminds herself, “We are doing it for the children. We are doing it for our most vulnerable and most valuable citizens. We are doing this for our community.”
Congratulations, Aleks, for being selected as the winner of Kit Magazine’s Women Making a Difference Award.