The Art of Transition
Hunter Beaton is not your stereotypical 16 year old teenager at Boerne High School, obsessed with cars, girls, and counting the seconds until he can leave town for college. Instead, he’s a thoughtful, compassionate and focused young man that has some pretty high aspirations…for himself and others.
Upon first meeting Hunter, you are struck very quickly by his poise, intelligence, and focus. As he begins to explain the work he has done, you find it not very surprising that this kid is capable of virtually anything he puts his mind to.
Hunter begins, “My family has taken in foster kids before. 3 of those kids are now adopted by my family. When they arrived in our home, all of their earthly belongings were in trash bags, or literally nothing at all…simply dumped on the floor.” Knowing that he had his Eagle Scout project looming, Hunter saw an opportunity. “I guess you could call it a charitable project. I needed to develop a project, and normally they do a building project. So when it became time for my Eagle Scout project, I thought, ‘Why not tackle this and provide them with a proper bag?’”
And just like that, Hunter began working with local churches, various online sites, and within a short period of time, he delivered 100 bags to the Kendall County Welfare Board, who then began using them for each of their foster children. However, with his Eagle Scout project complete, Hunter saw that the program could quickly disappear.
“After I got my Eagle Scout, I told my parents that these bags would probably be gone soon so I wanted to establish a way for these counties to make a sustainable bag project and to keep them continually for kids being placed.” Thus began “Hunter’s Bags” – a program which quickly expanded to Kerr, Gillespie, Bandera, and Kendall counties. Hunter taught each county how they can buy the bags inexpensively, and how they could work with manufacturers to keep the program operating annually. At last count, there were more than 17,000 Hunter’s Bags for foster children throughout our area.
Quickly Bexar County jumped on board, which then took Hunter to the State level and now the entire State of Texas is participating in the program. A complimentary program, One Simple Wish, based in New Jersey is also participating now. They include a card in each Hunter’s Bags that allows the child to make a “wish” for an item (a bike, laptop, etc) and the program works to find a donor. This collaboration has caught the attention of other foster care entities, and Hunter is now working to take his program nationwide.
Hunter finishes, “My folks were always focused on the child, and I just thought that it was weird that these kids were showing up with virtually nothing. I was only 6 when we started adopting foster kids, but I can remember that it confused me that I had so much, and they had so little. Why should these kids have so less than I? I felt called that I could bring the knowledge that they aren’t trash…they have worth…and they have their items and I didn’t want them to experience such big transitions without such a simple thing.”
A sophomore at Boerne High School, he has equally large plans for after graduation in 2019. He dreams of going to Notre Dame as a Pre-Med student and to ultimately specialize in… (you guessed it)… Pediatrics.
If you’d like to donate to Hunter’s Bags, email Hunter at firstname.lastname@example.org