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Granting wishes for foster kids

Published 4:13 PM ET, Wed November 27, 2013
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Foster children don't often get the things other children do, but CNN Hero Danielle Gletow is trying to help change that. She posts their wishes online so the public can help grant them. "I'm here to be the mom to all these kids who might not feel like they have one," she said. Krisanne Johnson/Getty Images for CNN
Gigi, 5, plays at her foster home in Cape Coral, Florida. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, more than 400,000 children were living in the U.S. foster-care system in 2011. Krisanne Johnson/Getty Images for CNN
Gletow plays with Gigi's brother in Cape Coral. Gletow recently brought them the toy kitchen seen in the background. Krisanne Johnson/Getty Images for CNN
Photos are seen on the wall of the children's home in Cape Coral. Krisanne Johnson/Getty Images for CNN
Since 2008, Gletow's nonprofit, One Simple Wish, has granted more than 6,500 wishes for children living in 42 states. Krisanne Johnson/Getty Images for CNN
Each child's wish is posted online, and anyone can pay to make that wish come true --- from tangible items such as a bicycle, a varsity jacket or school supplies to an experience like music lessons or a trip to the theater. Krisanne Johnson/Getty Images for CNN
Gletow helps find and organize gifts at the One Simple Wish offices in Trenton, New Jersey. Since 2006, Gletow and her husband, Joe, have been foster parents to several children. Krisanne Johnson/Getty Images for CNN
All the wishes on One Simple Wish are submitted by approved social service agencies and caseworkers. Once the wishes are reviewed and posted to the website, donors can post funds to make a wish come true. Krisanne Johnson/Getty Images for CNN
The most common wishes on One Simple Wish typically cost $10 to $100, and they generally do not exceed $500. Higher-priced wishes can be granted by pooling the resources of multiple donors. Krisanne Johnson/Getty Images for CNN
"The wishes that don't seem like the basic necessity are (often) the ones that are the most important," Gletow said. "Because those are the wishes that are really just a kid being a kid, and asking for something that they want to have fun. We want them talking about fun things and happy things. We don't want to constantly remind them of how sad or tragic or challenging their circumstances are." Krisanne Johnson/Getty Images for CNN
Thank-you notes line the walls of the One Simple Wish offices. Krisanne Johnson/Getty Images for CNN
"It's up to every individual person to say all of our children deserve better," Gletow said. "Not just the ones that are born into good circumstances. ... That's what I'm going to do with my life. I want my life to be a life of purpose." Krisanne Johnson/Getty Images for CNN