Hello World, hope all is well with you and yours. This past 17th of February I was fortunate to participate as a panelist during an open discussion regarding children who age out of foster care. The event was held in the city of Oakland California with Mayor Ron Dellums and his wife Cynthia Dellums, both as the host. The title for this first annual affair is "The Mayor's Model City Summit". There were many positive people there; one notable speaker was Susan L. Taylor (editor-in-chief for Essence Magazine).
During one of the break out sessions, I and four other persons involved with foster care had in my opinion, profound dialogue pertaining to the current state of foster care. The reason why I am sharing this experience with you all is because our society, as a whole not excluding any region, race or creed, is failing our foster care youth! I learned that 60% of foster youth who age out of foster care become homeless. I know that I am truly blessed to have had the desire and ability to obtain a wrestling scholarship upon graduation from high school, yet not all of us have elite athletic and or academic skills. I hope to open the eyes of everyone because foster care issues affects millions of families negatively on a daily basis.
Please encourage those around you to contribute, as growth is needed in all areas associated with foster care. Whether it's conversation or volunteering with various programs, your involvement can promote the next Alonzo Morning, Dr. Ruth Westheimer, John Lennon, C.J Walker and George Washington Carver. All of which were at some point within the foster care system.
Ok, I'll be realistic. Most of us may not want to give up our weekends or personal time. I do not disagree with anyone wanting to enjoy their private time, but, if possible, please share an hour here and there in what ever fashion you wish. The reason being is that your personal contribution will enhance the life of those foster kids in need. I was taught how to use a knife and folk properly by Linda Reaves who was my first foster mother. Volunteers at the Fresno County "Independent Living Skills Program" taught me how to prepare for a job interview and balance a check-book. Within my last foster care placement; I learned social edict from my parents Mike and Dana Darling. These skills have become essential within my everyday life.
The following is a list of foster care programs and or persons that can assist you with contributing to this cause, www.tonythurmond.com, www.casaofalamedacounty.org.
In Kijita (Wajita) (Africa) there is a proverb which says 'Omwana ni wa bhone,' meaning regardless of a child's biological parent(s) its upbringing belongs to the community. With that being said; do you know of anyone that could use your (our) help?