Valerie Smith was our speaker from Fostering Further who was introduced by Delta member Kathy DeVolld. Valerie first clarified the meaning of foster care which means children placed because of abuse or neglect. Foster homes can be traditional, residential or kinship. There are 522 children currently in foster care in Licking County. Eighty one percent of the foster care children are there as a result of substance abuse. More than half of the eighty one percent are due to meth.
Fostering Further is a 501(c)3 group since 2015 and has a 100% volunteer board. They work with Licking County Job and Family Service, National Youth Advocate, House of New Hope and many more. The Bridges Program assists 18 year olds in the transition from foster care to life without foster care. Another service which they offer is they replace car seats as needed to foster care homes. They also support Family Night Outs for fostering families which give the foster parents a break for just a few hours. All foster kids are included even special needs kids.
Another segment of this group is the Emancipating Youth group. They sponsor a store on Union Street which has furniture items that might be needed when a foster kid coming out of fostering care needs to set up their first apartment. This group helps kids with college applications, essays, scholarship applications and high school awards.
They assist these kids by mentoring, offering life skills needed, host homes and local contacts. Fifty percent of the female fosters will be pregnant by the age of 19 so they assist the new parents with items needed by new parents.
Fostering further has a Grant A Wish for children in foster care. This program provides extras such as a laptop, tutoring, graduation expenses, recreational and socialization expenses, health, safety and therapeutic expenses. Five hundred dollars is provided for each child each calendar year.
Many of the members wondered how we might help this worthy local group? The following suggestions were made. Grant A Wish can be accessed online. If we as members have special skills we could share with fosters such as quilting, knitting, crocheting, sewing, etc. Provide items for young moms, provide college care packages, provide small or folding furniture, follow on Facebook and Instagram, link your Kroger card, collect boxtops for education or consider foster parenting.
Valerie’s email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Her phone number is 740-777-6053. The website is https://fosteringfurther.org.
The secretary’s report was approved as printed.
The only new business acted upon was to accept Judy Clark’s request for reserve membership.
The scholarship committee reported that scholarship applications had been sent to Ohio State student teachers and to high school student female seniors.
We Miss You Committee reported that they sent Christmas cards and birthday cards to missing members.
Kathy DeVolld made a plea for our members to support the Reading Foundation in which is in need of members. This foundation was formed in 1999 with the goal of trying to increase literacy in Licking County. It was a group that has tried to get all students to read at least twenty minutes a day. They also have the Reach Out and Read program which gets new books in the hands of children. They have another program called Birth to Five Years old which encourages children being read to daily. It is believed this will help students pass the third grade guarantee test with at least ninety percent of students passing. They store books and materials at Licking Valley School district donated by them. They are responsible for about 20 events a year. A couple of these events are Back to School Event and books for new teachers to set up classroom libraries.
The Reading Foundation meets five times a year and its next meeting will be held on Monday, March 25 at 5:30. She asked that as many of us come to the meeting as possible to support this group. The meeting will be held at the library in meeting Room A, the small meeting room on the left as you enter the library. Please try to support this group as they will be taking a vote to dissolve or continue the group.
Sandy Stoker, Co-President, made the suggestion that next year’s charity group should be Fostering Further. Fostering is also the state’s focus. A special collection was collected amongst the members present at our meeting. We collected $264.00.
Our next meeting will be 6:30, March 19th at Arlington Care Center, 98 South 30th Street, Newark. We will make an item for patients’ rooms.