Club Spotlight: Fostering Connections

Together We Rise Club aids foster care one step at a time


Elisabeth Lee

Together We Rise Club at Ayala aims to aid the foster care system in America while bringing light to the foster community through drives and events. “It was heartening to see all of the students who wanted to get involved with our club,” said Clarisse Nikaido (11).

Elisabeth Lee, Staff Writer

An important, but commonly overlooked system within the United States is foster care. The foster network temporarily provides a home for a child in order to keep them safe until they can comfortably live with their family. At Ayala, a student-led organization, the Together We Rise (TWR) Club, led by Carol Nasr (12), contributes to the foster care system in a variety of ways.

The club meets once a month every Tuesday, in B139, advised by Spanish 1 teacher Ms. Park.

TWR was established a number of unrecorded years ago as a branch of Foster Love, a non-profit organization that aims towards helping the foster care system in the U.S. Ayala’s TWR club was specifically set into motion by a foster child herself, whose goal was to bring light to the system  which she had spent the majority of her life in. With prior knowledge of the organization and dedication to its cause, she successfully grew the club and passed it down to Nasr, the current president. 

TWR’s mission is to provide a space where students can work towards informing and aiding foster care. They strive to contribute to a community by creating a more knowledgeable body and helping the foster system in a variety of ways. By carrying out TWR’s mission, club members learn about the detailed aspects of the foster system and what they can do to support it.

I have learned a lot more about foster care, especially the statistics, and I have learned how easy it is to help and donate whatever is needed. ”

— Carol Nasr (12)

“I have learned a lot more about foster care, especially the statistics, and I have learned how easy it is to help and donate whatever is needed,” Nasr said. 

TWR is composed of a set of officers, including President Nasr, Vice President Lauryn Park (11), secretary Ashna Bhandari (11), treasurer Alyssa Nasr (9), social media manager Kendall Baldrias (11), and UCC representative Clarisse Nikaido (11).

The 2023-2024 board will include Park, Nikaido, Baldrias, Elisabeth Lee (9), Julissa Altamirano (11), and Caesar Torres (10).

As the leaders of a club that requires attention to detail and knowledge on the field, the officers of TWR are not only responsible for carrying out their designated tasks, but also have passion and heart to learn more about foster care.

I’ve learned that being one of the main leaders requires a lot of planning and communication, and that having all the officers on the same page is vital. It’s hard to keep the club active and for people to keep coming out as the year progresses, but these are the times we have to really make the club activities interesting to make sure our members stay committed,” 2023-2024 President of TWR Lauryn Park (11) said.

To carry out their mission of supporting the foster system and informing others, TWR hosts a number of small events throughout the years. These include guest speakers, book drives, toy drives, Christmas gift drives, and many volunteer opportunities. Through the volunteer events, students not only add to their list of service hours but also have the chance to interact with and help foster kids face-to-face.

Clarisse Nikaido (11) recalled her favorite experience from TWR, “I was at our first meeting this year! It was my first meeting as an officer and we had a great turn out. It was heartening to see all of the students who wanted to get involved with our club.”

She also hopes to expand the club as the 2023-2024 vice president through more activities and interactions with the foster system.

“Next year, I hope that we can incorporate more events [like] fundraisers, drives, and booths in the community and attract more club members to raise awareness about the foster care system,” Nikaido said.

Through TWR,  students of Ayala have the opportunity to take part in eye-opening experiences involving the Foster Care System of America.