Miss Ludington Area to host fundraiser for foster children

May 26, 2014
Emma Martin

Emma Martin

Today was the third time in 3 weeks that Sarah has been called into the nurse’s office. The nice woman with a kind voice asks where the marks on her arms came from.  Sarah pleads to her that mommy and daddy aren’t always mean.  They really do love her.  However, for some reason, 6-year-old Sarah is told that she will soon be getting new parents.  New parents?  What would that mean?  That night a strange woman came into her house and took her away from her parents and her home.  She was not simply scared, she was terrified.  Terrified of what may happen next.

Today there are approximately 400,000 children living in the American Foster Care System.  Of those children, 100,000 are in need of a home.  Although we can say with a sigh of relief that these children are safe and away from harm, they are still in dire need of more permanency in their lives.  Each year 250,000 children between the ages of 0 to 18 years enter the foster care system.  Within that year, half of the children are placed in homes, while the rest remain in the system.  Unfortunately, it’s difficult to find permanent homes for these children, and each year more than 20,000 children reach 18 years of age and are forced to leave the system.  Out of these numbers almost 25% do not receive high school diplomas, 25% end up in incarceration, and 20% experience homelessness. What is most devastating is that all of these numbers aren’t just statistics; they are children’s lives. We need to look beyond the numbers and focus on the individuals.  It’s important that we, as a state, are united to be a light in the lives of children that have so much darkness.  We must start caring for the fatherless.

Many people believe they are not qualified to help with this epidemic because of the many misconceptions.  People think it costs too much money to adopt, or think they are ineligible.  However, contrary to belief, adopting through the foster care system in the United States can be cost free.  Aside from adoption, there are also opportunities to become foster parents and to be a short term home for a child.  Something as simple as caring for a child for a few months, giving them a place to stay, and a family to be loved by is better than staying at a state owned shelter while they wait on a family.  As a student, I know foster care and adoption aren’t an option. Many others are not in a position to foster or adopt a child.  There are many opportunities to be a mentor to kids in the foster care system.  Dedicating a few hours of your week to be a mentor and source of comfort will help them succeed in school and may even change the course of their future for the better.  Another possibility is to mentor the biological mother or father of the children in the foster care system.  By mentoring the parents you have the potential of assisting them and helping them prepare to reunite their family.

As Miss Ludington Area 2014, I have decided to host an event in conjunction with Staircase Youth Services called Fundraising for the Fatherless.  This event will help raise funds for my new project, Nightlight Backpacks.  Nightlight Backpacks are backpacks that will be filled things like stuffed animals, blankets, or a clean pair of clothes and will be given to children or adolescents that are in crisis situations and entering the foster care system.  It is my wish, that these backpacks will bring a piece of hope to these children’s lives and remind them that, ““no matter what you’re facing in life, there’s always light at the end of the tunnel.”

So please, join with me on June 3 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Cartier Mansion on Ludington Avenue in Ludington for heavy hor d’oeuvres, beverages, and to learn more.  Tickets will be $15 per person, and reservations are required by May 25.  At the event you will also have the opportunity to donate money that will go towards a number of things including backpacks for young children, duffle bags for adolescents or various items that will fill the backpacks. To purchase tickets or to ask questions call or e-mail Cartier Mansion at 231-843-0101 or [email protected]

 

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