Saturday, May 20, 2006

Foster Children Alumni of America

As Ferris Bueller pointed out, "Sometimes life comes at you fast. If you don't stop and look around around once in a while, you might miss it."

This year, my life has come at me fast. 2006 has been a year of wonderful opportunities. I have been interviewed on the radio, for the first of four tapings. My book is progressing, with my agent eager (but patient) for the final draft. I've prepared and led workshops for foster children and foster parents.

In the meantime, I've also been made exempt (non-hourly) at my day job, which means that I often work 12-hour days. Fortunately, my day job as a children's librarian often intersects with my volunteer work as a child advocate...

Where work and advocacy collide:
-Programming for homeless children and teenagers
-Visiting schools in the inner city and getting to know the teachers and students
-Leading programs for teen moms
-Booktalks at residential facilities

So many of the things I do in my day job have allowed me to meet local resources...

Whom I then contact on my own time, to offer:
-Interviews (so that I can promote their services on the radio)
-Free programming for children and teens, in my spare time
-Workshops more specific to foster care needs
-Bibliographies of resources
-Links to mentoring, including contacts for local organizations

The city where I live seems fragmented. Nonprofit organizations have to compete for dollars, which often means competition between organizations, rather than mutual support. There is an attitude of secrecy; a fear that by sharing ideas with another organization, that group might 'steal' the idea and launch it on their own.

This saddens me, because I've always been a connector. When I was in college, I joined countless college organizations. If I met someone who 'didn't fit' with one group, I would invite them to come with me to visit another group. Many of the college students who were drawn to me as a friend seemed to be looking for a support group, and I really liked helping them find the right place for their needs.

I guess I'm a big picture person. If group A can't meet your needs, why not try group B? If church A isn't right for you, go to church B. We can't be all things to all people, and sometimes the mission and goals of one group will be more in allignment with what you need than another. And, who knows? The right fit for you might change over time.

All this is an introduction to say that...

Hopefully, I will finally be able to impact the big picture. My friend Gayle and I have been chosen as a chapter designee for FCAA, Foster Children Alumni of America. I'm traveling to Seattle, Washington at the end of the month in order to attend a summit, wherein foster alumni from states across the nation will discuss national policy regarding foster care.

The focus of FCAA is national policy, not direct service. Therefore, my plan is to:

- Partner with my friend Gayle and working as a subsidiary of her organization, to provide direct service such as housing for foster alumni, on a local level.

-While also continuing my research and advocacy to impact foster care on a national level, through FCAA.

More information about this new and growing organization can be found at:
www.fostercarealumni.org

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Comments:
I am so thrilled to meet you!!!!

I will keep in touch!
 
You do amazing work.
I also want to work with homeless youth/children some day.
And am currently working voluntarily in community services with families.
 
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