Kids, especially foster kids have been the sweet spot in my heart for many years. Many years ago I met a gentleman that created a local charity for foster kids. He and his wife worked tirelessly for years to do as much as they could for as many foster kids as possible - and there are about 14,000 foster kids in the system. In time the charity garnered a lot of local support and have done tremendous work. In fact they are now branching out to other states and teaching them how to do what they've done - reach a lot of foster kids in need.
I first began by giving money and gifts whenever they let us know there was a need via a Chamber Group. They then asked me to be on the board of directors of which I was for several years. From there it bloomed into back to school projects, fund-raising events, wine tastings, you name it, we did it. Now we mostly donate funds as well as attend some of the fund-raising events to support this worthy cause.
A new project that is on my mind a lot this month is the 18 year old 'aging out' issue. I recently attended a fund-raiser and had a long talk with one of the co-founders and it opened my eyes. When foster kids turn 18 they are literally given $100 and they have to leave their foster home and find their own place. Many of these kids bounce from couch to couch and some end of living on the streets. For one, I can't imagine being 18 and having no support system, no Mom or Dad, no home, no job, no nothing. It is hard to fathom, isn't it? In 2017 my plan is to get further involved with this particular program and see how and what we can do to assist these young adults who so desperately need guidance and support. There is a huge need for this age group of 'kids' who clearly are not ready to be out on their own. I hope I can make a difference to at least some of the kids.
My favorite - Pay it Forward