Foster Arizona just celebrated 5 years and it still amazes me to see how all of this came from a tiny seed; a single thought that I could use my skills, influence, and passion for kids in foster care to make a few videos. But, in reality, there were many seeds that came before that, that had to be planted to get me to the place where I would even have had the thought to start Foster Arizona. Seeds that opened my eyes to the need for adoption. Seeds that opened our door to fostering. Seeds that allowed us to think it was possible to expand our home and hearts to become the family we are today. My family and I are forever grateful for the ones who didn’t know who they would impact but, planted seeds anyway.
Foster Arizona is committed to doing the same thing that was done for me; planting seeds through education, through opportunities that empower Arizonans to get involved, and through encouragement on the journey to impacting a life because we believe those seeds will bloom into the hope of tomorrow.
The reality of the tremendous need is overwhelming; approximately 900 kids will age out of foster care this year alone, we are losing foster families at a higher rate than we can get new families in– with the latest report showing 945 homes closed while only 681 opened, approximately 20% of kids adopted will have their adoption dissolved and experience foster care again. We have kids in foster care experiencing, on average, 2.6 placements with the high end being 59…can you imagine what it would be like to be rejected 58 times during the most influential years of your life?
It would be easy to say the issues and challenges are too big because, in reality, they are really, really big. It could be justified to turn a blind eye and focus on something easier. But, we understand that the youth of today will become the hope of tomorrow. Over 70% of our prisons are filled with lost potential; adults that were themselves kids in foster care at one point in time. Imagine what they could have added to our world if someone had shown them they matter; if someone had offered them a hand and a real chance for connection. That is why Foster Arizona started and why we will continue to work to educate, empower, and encourage Arizonans to positively impact the lives of kids in foster care.
And how will we do that? My favorite quote asks the question of how you eat an elephant. The answer is you take one bite, then another, and another. And before you know it, there’s progress. For us, those bites are one story at a time. One event at a time. One dream. One life.
Five years ago we started by telling 1 story of a child needing a forever family and this year we told the story of 24. Three years ago we did our first ever Kid Connection event that allowed 12 Arizonans to have life on life contact and this year alone, we’ve had over 450 volunteers that have shown up to tell these kids they do not go unseen. In March, we started a housing project with 4 youth that had aged-out of foster care and by the end of this year we will close on a property that will open up the possibility to provide housing for 38; with a five-year goal of having beds for 200 throughout Arizona. The past two years we have been working towards launching Foster Cooperative; an open-sourced online platform to provide resources, community connections, specialized trainings, and communication solutions for champions of at-risk children; beginning in Arizona will the goal of expansion to all states and beyond. We are aggressively working to launch this resource in 2020. We are serious about taking ground and we are serious about taking it together because we stand united when we say these kids’ lives matter.
This Thanksgiving, I am grateful for each of you that make up the collective “WE”. Foster Arizona is not who we are because of one but because of the thousands that have partnered with us to say each of us have the ability to positively impact a life. Thank you for believing hope is always possible.
For more information how you can join the movement to plant seeds of hope, contact email@example.com.
Support kids while you shop this Black Friday by supporting Foster Arizona! smile.amazon.com/ch/46-3920514
Founder & CEO
Foster Arizona//Foster Arizona Housing Project