on foster care issues:

May 2013 Heroes

FC2S Staff | May 8th, 2013

May, as we all know, is Foster Care Month.  A time to celebrate ALL the foster care heroes.  We asked our students to tell us who they would call a hero, and we got hundreds of responses – far too many to post on a blog!  It was very hard, but we chose a representative handful.  Enjoy them – and be deeply moved by the love and appreciation shown by our students for these wonderful people.  The photographs were also sent in by our students of their loved ones, but they do NOT correspond with the quotes.

GrandfatherI wouldn’t have gone back to school if it wasn’t for Miho. She really gave me a boost. Money helps, but cheerleaders, mentors and well wishers, these are the reasons that keep me going. I have someone who believes in me and is patient. I hope to invite her to my graduation someday.  - Diann

Ms. Jackson is the director of the Lubbock Transition Center. I met her when I was about 15-16 years old when she taught the PAL (preparation for adult living) class in my area. I’ve kept in touch with her for the last 11-12 years. She’s a wonderful advocate for foster youth. She does whatever she can for us even it means offering her own home in time of need. She’s a mother figure for us and for some of us…she’s the only person that can be relied on. We all love her.  – Karla

My high school English teacher Ms. Mulvihill is special to me because she showed me that she really cares about her students. At first I did not think anything of her but as the year went on we began to grow close. I was being placed with different families in different parts of my state and I would have to go to different schools. My junior year at a new school, Ms. Mulvihill noticed that I was missing school a lot because of court dates and she told me that she would go to court with me and convince the judge to let me stay in the same school until I graduated. I ended up not moving again after that court hearing and I now look at her as my mom. She has done so much for me in the 4 years that I have known her for and I have the utmost respect for her. – Devon

My special person whom I’ve met from being in foster care would be Kelly, my foster mom for about six years all together. She is a blessing to me because I didn’t just get dropped off at her house and learn to deal with it, she actually got her foster care license because she had wanted to love me in her home. I’m very thankful I met her through foster care because she cares so much for me, and is very helpful-like a real mother. – JessGodparents

Sheri has been my foster mom for about seven years and she has been my side through the hardest times in my life. She is my best friend, mentor, and mother. Every day I thank my lucky stars she’s a part of my life because I know I wouldn’t be where I am today without her guidance and love. – Amar

My hero is named Nancy. She was a counselor at my high school. After my parents died, I bounced from house to house and was homeless for a period. One day, Nancy found out about me, bought me lunch, and said, “enough of this, you’re coming to live with me.” I lived with her family up until graduation. She got me into some much-needed tutoring to fix my grades and helped me apply to college. I definitely would not have been able to finish high school without her guidance and support. – Carly

Many people have made a difference in my life, but none as much as my CASA, Amy. As a broken teenager, she took me up under her wing as a daughter, nurtured me, spoiled me, built confidence within me, and then did everything in her power to help me during my transition and my life in college. My heart now takes her as a loving mother, whom I treasure oh so much. – Jahzeel

Foster MotherEva is my ex-case worker and I continue to stay in contact with her. She has strongly impacted my life in a positive way and I know I am who I am today because I know her. She is an amazing example of a strong unique independent women and I love her with all my heart! – Regina

My hero is my guardian, Pop.  He is special because when everyone gave up on me including myself, he didn’t.  School, especially math, is hard for me even with tutoring and extra help.  He believes in me and keeps me motivated to try and meet this challenge and all the things I deal with as a college student.  He is special. – Tony

Guardian AngelsMy older sister Caroline is also my best friend. She is so special to me because she is the prime example of the type of person I am striving to become in life. She is optimistic, affable, strong, intelligent, and a great role model. When I was put into foster care as a teenager Caroline was the one person that never stopped believing in me. It’s because of Caroline that I never gave up on my goals and I love her so much for that. – Philip

Jim is a person who came to me through foster care. I was introduced to him at a party I went to with my foster mom.  Somebody told the hostess that I played the piano.  I had taught myself how to play when I was young and still living with my biological mother.  I was introduced to Jim, who is a piano instructor. He had me play what I knew. I played for him Mozart’s Turkish March and he was very impressed. He was so moved by my talent, and the background I had, that he offered to give me free piano lessons once a week. From then on, and throughout high school I went to his house for an hour’s lesson after school every Tuesday. He and his wife welcomed me to their home with open arms. I began to see Jim as a mentor and went to him about advice. I have known Jim for 11 years now and having recently moved to San Francisco I don’t get to see him as often, but we still manage to stay in touch.  – Domingo

The women in my Independent Living Program were absolutely fantastic-always ready and willing to listen, attentive to learning who I truly was, and they were sincerely loving and concerned with my well-being.  – Ivory CASA

One of the most special people in my life I would have to say is my foster mother. She is always there for me; no matter what I m going through she is always there to help, or just listen. She has helped me get to where I am now, and for that she will always have a special place in my heart. She has a big heart, and is always willing to help those in need, and one day I hope to be as kind and as patient as she is. – Filomena

Best FriendsMy grandma is that special person that has always been there. No, she didn’t have money nor could she give me lavish gifts, but she always showed me unconditional love. Before I became an orphan, my grandma was always very loving and protective over me. We were separated for a while; however, once I reconnected with her, the love she gave me was still the same. She always told me that my parents were proud of me and that I had God-given strength. From as far back as I can remember (3 to 4 years-old), my grandma used to always tell me that I was her best friend. To this day, she still says the I’m her best friend. I know that no matter where I am in life, I’ll always have at least one person in my corner, my grandma.  – JeromeMiddle school teacher

Rosa is the mother of a good friend I had as a freshman in high school. She was willing to initially support me and later completely willing to take me in after my mother died. Her relentless support of my ambitions has revealed how selflessly benevolent individuals can be. – Michael

My hero is one of my old teachers, Mrs. Hunwick. The reason why she is so special to me is because of the way she goes above and beyond to help a child. She would take me out to eat and to Barnes & Noble to get books, once a month. This was huge for me because she wouldn’t let me pay for anything….for the life of me I could not figure out why she wanted to waste her time and money on me. Those visits were very special to me though because it gave me something to look forward to every month. It also enabled me to increase my reading and writing skills because of all the books she bought me.  Books became an escape for me during my foster care years. But the story doesn’t end there…I was told by my case worker that I would remain in the foster care system until I graduated high school. My caseworker was wrong….suddenly I aged out and government stopped paying for my care, and I had nowhere to live except for my car with three months of high school left. When Mrs. Hunwick found out she asked me to move in with her for those three months, which enabled me to be the first in my biological family to graduate high school and go to college. The part that impacted me the most was that she did not charge me anything, and would not let me pay for anything while I stayed there. She got no compensation for me what so ever, but she still cared enough to take me in during my last three months of high school. Those three months were the closest thing I ever had to a true home. I will forever be grateful. – Sara

Mother and meBeing adopted allowed my grandfather, Leon, to become part of my life. Having a single mother, he was my only father figure. He taught me everything from how to mow a lawn, to basic math, and everything in between. While we may not have gotten along at certain points, his love for me was unconditional- a characteristic I will never forget. – Robert (and the same was said by his brother, Michael)

When I was placed into foster care my siblings and I were placed into different homes. The social workers were unable to find a house that was able to accommodate my 4 siblings and me until Limbania and Carolina opened up their home to us and reunited my family. There have been a lot of rough time and struggles but I am glad they have come into my life. Thanks to their love and support, my family is a strong as ever.  – Jeffrey

My hero is my 12th grade bus driver.  I was always the last student, waiting to go home.  I was so excited to tell her news about my acceptances to colleges, and my dreams to be a fashion designer, and then how one day I’d like to end up on TV.  She’d always say I’d get there, and how she couldn’t wait to see me “doing my thang.”  She was the first person to ever tell me that.  Every time I want to give up, I just remember her and her uplifting words.  Living my dream is bigger than just ME now.  My dream now is to find  a way to create art to give back to those who believed in me.  – Terrel

No single person has affected my life positively as much as my grandmother.  I consider myself very lucky to be in contact with any of my biological family, as it is a short list, and I barely have managed to keep connections with my prior foster family.  My grandmother was my mother’s mother.  It took a very brave woman to stand up even when her daughter was considered unfit as a mom, and not protect her own past parenting, or her shining offspring, but the safety of a child.   ***   Even today, as she battles stage four cancer she still calls every week to make sure we both know the other is alive and breathing.  Somehow, we laugh about it all, the slight insanity and misfortunes that have been bestowed upon our lives, but somehow failed to ruin us, and we value the truth as commonplace.   ***   We bonded in the crux of it all.  Even better is that together we have become people that truly understand that love can be unconditional. – Acadia

My biggest influencers were my godparents, Inge and Werner. They have been there since birth and have always taken their jobs seriously as godparents. Although I have been with five families they were my constant which I think was the key to my sanity. – JoshuaRespite mother

My special person is Regina. I met her through the Foster Care to Success mentoring program seven years ago, and we still email regularly. She is a dear friend. She has always been there to support me, and she’s someone to talk to when I don’t have anyone else. She sends me gifts every holiday, which I appreciate most especially because my parents aren’t around to do that anymore. When the holidays come, and I’m missing my parents, getting Regina’s packages in the mail makes me feel better. She is just a kind, wonderful person. I’m grateful to have her as a friend.  - Jessica

The people who are special to me would be my parents and not society’s perspective of parents, but the ones who raised me. They were my second foster parents. They are special to me because when I felt like no one loved me and no one could, they showed me there was still hope. They have shown me compassion and continue to be there for me even years later into my adulthood. They didn’t give birth to me, but they have done so much more for me then the lady who did. – Talisa

I think about my CASAs. Both were very influential in giving me the support I needed to help me get where I am. They were both supportive and were always there when I needed them, and I am truly grateful for them. Even now I still continue to see them and keep in touch with them. I am very proud to have them be part of my life. They are always kinds, sweet, gentle, and most of all very loving.  - Alejandra

I could write novels on how much my brothers mean to me, and how they have always been my rock. I would do anything for them, without a thought. They have gone through so much in their short lives, and have never even thought to blame their past for anything that happens in their life. To me they are the image of innocence, purity, love, and strength. I would not be where I am without them, and there is no one in the world I could ever love more. In fact it is very hard for me to every just sit and think about my brothers without crying. They are my heroes. – Kassi

When I was first placed into foster care, I lived in the Alabama Baptist Children’s Home. My house parents, Ms. June and Mr. Woody, were amazing and I still keep in touch with them today. I am so blessed to have had these two as my house parents and one day I would love for Mr. Woody to walk me down the aisle. - Michaela

I have two special people in my life who go hand in hand (literally) – my foster parents Kihei and Mapuana. Before I came to live with them, I didn’t know what it was like to have a family. I didn’t know that family meant that there are people you can actually count on, people that even in the peak of their anger, still make sure to tell you that they love you. Before them, I didn’t know that love was anything but conditional. I thought love had rules and conditions. But with them, no matter how badly I mess up and upset them, they’re still going to stand there with me and we’ll weather the storm together. – Britny

Mrs. Bajc was my respite mom.  I went to respite often because my behavior was not the best.  I was what they called a “problem” child, but Mrs. Bajc saw right through that.  She was the first woman who told me that she saw something in me.  I will never forget when she told me “You have potential girl, you can be whatever you want to be and I believe in you.”  Mrs. Bajc was the first woman who actually believed in me and got me to believe in myself. -  Melanie

AuntI really would credit Hillsides Home for Children (Episcopal Church) in L.A. for helping keep my life moving in a positive direction. I was court-ordered to go to therapy there, ended up going on a backpacking trip where I met my future wife, and received really good support there from a therapist, Tom. I also learned about the independent learning program, and probably through that program, about OFA (Foster Care to Success) which has obviously been the greatest support I have received of all! – Richard

I could not have done all that I have without my parents Jane and Michael. At first they were my foster parents, but when I was 16 they adopted me. They supported me in everything that I wanted to do no matter how crazy or odd, including running in the Spartan Race and starting and running both my high school and my college quidditch teams. They would do any favor for me and take care of anything that caused me to worry when they could. Doing that allowed me to develop into the person I am today by being able to focus on what was important. For that I will be forever thankful and I am proud to say they are my parents and some of my greatest friends. – Lauren

We celebrate ALL of our foster care heroes – today, during the month of May, and always.  Thank you!

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