Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Good intentions, better action

It's November 10th.   And yes like my good intentions of posting a place to give every single day has fallen short. I'm not superstitious but I am going to claim that the upcoming holiday "well- intentioned- to- have- it- all -together" beast just won this round.   And while I would have liked to have had a post for each day it is not like I have been sitting around eating bon bons. I have been busy and not so busy, just chilling, with family. My KK just turned 19 yesterday. Her first birthday away from home : She was living it up at college with some friends.

We have been very fortunate that both are girls have been able to go to college; and while the expense has been hard it has been managed. Beyond application, tuition and room and board there were a whole host of expenses that came with moving in.  We navigated trips to Target, Walmart and the grocery store numerous times.  We all worked together, child, parent and siblings.  Some kids are not that fortunate.

 I recently attended an event where one of my favorite authors, Vanessa Diffenbaugh, was speaking about her latest book We never asked for wings. She told about her personal life which involved accidentally becoming a foster mother.  Her story and her books are filled with perspectives from so many angles and parts of society many of us never think about. She talked about an event known in the foster world as "aging out" where kids in the system turn 18 and n longer are taken care of by the state or their assigned foster family.  These children were never adopted and are now adults thrown out into society with very little experience of what to do next.  Many without skills of money management , work experience or how to apply for college or fill out the FASFA find themselves homeless, addicted or incarcerated. The 18-24 age demographic constitute a significant portion of our prison population.

  SIDE NOTE:  Someone here is going to say "The system should have prepared them better." Indeed they should have. Yet since they didn't an advocate is needed to make that a happen. So if at this point of the blog you are raging about that, leave this page and research your states foster system and how you can contribute to the betterment of it.  If you want to find out how you can be a part of helping a recently aged out foster child to having a great start at adulthood  then stay tuned.  If your not interested in either and your still griping about who shoulda, woulda, coulda then please stop reading this blog- your not my people and nothing I write here will inspire you.  I have experienced this scenario so many times in person that I just wanted to be transparent.

Pick her
Vanessa Diffenbaugh's  experiences led her to create a network called Life Set.  It is a brilliant social network platform that  first-of-its-kind social network that connected former foster youth to supporters, opportunities and resources from around the country.  It allows you to connect with a transitioned out foster child, who is now a legal adult, and provide them with things that set them up for life.  giving straight to the network helps support education teaching how to apply to college, filling out financial forms, money management, budgeting and many other skills we take for granted because our parents taught us ( or did for us-eek! that's another story ).  You can also search for a youth in need of a certain item such as XL twin sheets for their dorm. (Who new this was a size before college). You could contribute to their books, toiletries or household item for their first apartment.  It is set up like a wedding or baby registry where you can choose among the requested items. You also are also connected with the individual youth that you are giving to. You can offer encouragement, advice and keep up with their progress in life. If you don't end up helping in this organization that is okay but pass it on. Someone in your friend network will catch the passion. This is how we become the solution. We don't have to save the whole world. But we work, we pray, we speak on behalf of other;s needs and the life of another is better for it.  Never, ever doubt the power of compassion that God has placed in you. However you choose to act may it be for someone, may it move forward. 
or him.

If you are a young adult going to college or working I challenge you to choose one item on this registry and help out a peer. Use your own money, not your parents, and see how you can empower your own generation.    

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