Tag: foster care

Chelsea Phaire, 10, Donates Over 1,500 Art Kits to Kids in Foster Care and Homeless Shelters During COVID-19 Crisis

(Photo via chelseascharity.com)

Chelsea Phaire, a 10-year-old from Danbury, Connecticut, has sent more than 1,500 children in homeless shelters and foster care homes art kits to give them something to play and create with during these extra-stressful times brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

According to CNN.com, the kits — which offer markers, crayons, paper, coloring books, colored pencils, and gel pens — are sent to schools and shelters across the country as part of Chelsea’s Charity, an organization founded by Chelsea and her parents.

To quote the CNN article:

“Since she was seven, she was begging me and her dad to start a charity,” Candace Phaire, Chelsea’s mom, told CNN. “She was so persistent, every couple of months she would ask, ‘Are we starting Chelsea’s Charity yet?’ When she was turning 10, she asked us again, and we decided it was time to go for it.”

After her birthday party, Chelsea used the donations to send out her first 40 art kits to a homeless shelter in New York. The family then set up an Amazon wishlist full of art supplies. Every time they get enough donations, they pack up the kits and deliver them to kids in person.

In just the first five months, Chelsea and her mom sent out nearly 1,000 kits to children in homeless shelters, foster care homes, women’s shelters, and schools impacted by gun violence.

(photo via Instagram)

Before the pandemic, Chelsea was able to travel with her mom across the country to meet the kids in-person, and even teaches them some of her favorite drawing tips.

Now, schools are closed, and social distancing precautions will not allow Chelsea to physically interact with the kids as much. Instead, she and her mom are mailing the kits.

Since March, when schools began to close, the family has sent over 1,500 kits to schools, shelters, and foster homes in 12 states across the US.

“I feel good inside knowing how happy they are when they get their art kits,” Chelsea told CNN. “I have definitely grown as a person because of this. Now my dream is to meet every kid in the entire world and give them art. Who knows, maybe if we do that and then our kids do that, we’ll have world peace!”

Read more: https://edition.cnn.com/2020/05/20/us/10-year-old-girl-art-kits-foster-care-homeless-shelter-trnd/index.html

Liz Ferro’s “Girls With Sole” Non-Profit Helps Young Women Overcome Life’s Challenges Through Fitness

TODAY

Six days a week, Liz Ferro packs up her car and drives throughout Cleveland to teach young women yoga, swimming and other fitness-based activities. But it isn’t all about breaking a sweat.  “It washes away all the cobwebs,” Ferro told TODAY. “Not just out of my brain, but off my heart.”

After using fitness to recover from her own difficult childhood, Ferro now runs Girls With Sole, a non-profit organization committed to helping young women learn to overcome life’s challenges through exercise. “It’s so much easier for them to feel down on themselves,” she told TODAY.

TODAYFerro hits the road throughout the week to work out with pre-teen and teenage girls in schools, juvenile detention centers, social services and other organizations throughout the Cleveland area. “My car looks like a sporting goods store exploded in it,” she said. “It’s almost like Meals on Wheels, but we’re fitness and wellness on wheels.”

Girls With Sole, which she founded in 2009, is largely inspired by Ferro’s own past. She lived in four different foster homes as a child. By the time she was adopted, she had been sexually abused and experienced other traumas while bouncing from home to home.

“Sports and fitness was the thing that made me find the empowerment to be able to handle it and resilience to move on and keep moving forward,” she explained. “Even in the darkest times, it literally saved my life.”

Ferro is now turning to the next generation of young women to show them how to use healthy coping mechanisms, including running, swimming, biking and yoga, in the face of hard situations, whatever they may be.

“School has stressed me out so much, and I could always look forward to Wednesdays, when I would see Liz and I would see her smile and her energy,” eighth-grader Gina said. “People feed off that.”

When Girls With Sole participant Jada finished her first 5K, it meant more than crossing a finish line.  “It makes me feel like I can achieve something in my life,” she said. “Coming here brings the happiness out of me instead of sadness.”

Click here to see video of this story.

article by Amy Eley via www.today.com

Davion Only’s Adoption Quest Is the Most Hopeful Tough Story You’ll Read Today

Only
Foster teen Davion Navar Henry Only has been looking for a “forever home” his whole life; now he’s taking his plea to church. (Courtesy of Eckerd)

Fifteen-year-old Davion Navar Henry Only stood before a packed crowd at St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church in St. Petersburg, Fla., three weeks ago, his hands sweating and fidgeting, and for good reason: He was about to tell hundreds of congregants that he was looking for his “forever family.”

Only was born in prison and has spent his entire life in foster care. He lives at Eckerd’s Carlton Manor, a group home in St. Petersburg, where he has struggled to come into his own, often losing focus in school, fighting anger issues, and alienating himself from everyone he knows. His mother, LaDwina Ilene “Big Dust” McCloud, who served time for petty theft and drug charges, died on June 5, 2013, at the age of 55. It wasn’t until Only found his mother’s mug shot online just weeks after she died that he decided to take control of his future.

“Davion required some specialized recruitment efforts,” Connie Going, Only’s caseworker and an adoption specialist for Eckerd Community Alternatives, told Newsweek. She has known Only since he was five years old, and while she may be his fiercest advocate, she is also personally invested in his future. “I’m connected to him through my own adoptive son, who is 13; they met in a residential program together,” she said. “My own son was in care from three-and-a-half and he was adopted at 13 — and he was a return adopted child — so I know you can make a difference in these children’s lives.”

Navigating traditional channels has not helped Only find his adoptive family. Indeed, his photo was one of the first portraits to appear in the Heart Gallery, which showcases portraits of local foster children looking for adoptive parents — not with mug shot-style snapshots but with the kinds of pictures that parents pay professionals to produce. Only’s photo shows him in gray pants and a white T-shirt tossing a basketball on the beach; his profile, which reads “I am available,” reveals that he loves dogs, Chinese food and studying science, and wants to be a police officer when he grows up. His first portrait was posted when he was 7 years old (he  has had two more taken since then), but the Heart Gallery has yet to lead to a permanent home.

“There is a family out there for him; we just needed to do more to find that family,” Going said. “So many children age out of foster care and we did not want that to happen to Davion.”

When Only attended his mother’s funeral earlier this year, he met some of his relatives. They weren’t appropriate adoptive parents for him — Going explained that finding the right family means looking for certain strengths, including strong parenting skills and the ability to understand what a foster child needs for her or her future — but they did care about him. “One of the things they told Davion was that he was loved,” Going explained. “He got in the car and said, ‘I didn’t know I was loved, Miss Connie.’ That began the turning point.”

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