More People, Working Together, can Make Change a Reality for Children in Foster Care

I was invited to attend the Metropolitan Council of Governments Annual Meeting & Awards Luncheon in recognition of the work I do with the Wednesday’s Child program in the DC-Metro area.  Click here to see my speech.

As I said at the luncheon today, if this award means anything, I hope it means that more people find more ways to make more of a difference for children in foster care.

There are so many ways to get involved from the obvious fostering and adoption– to mentoring to becoming a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA)– to photographing children who might otherwise have no pictures of their childhoods– to simply sharing your interest or skill with a child or group of children in a one-time program.

If you are interested in making a difference in the life of a child/ren in foster care and live in the VA/MD/DC area –  contact Beverly Howard, Fairfax Families4kids, Fairfax County, VA at Beverly.Howard@fairfaxcounty.gov or click here to learn about nationwide opportunities to make a difference.

If you are interested in learning about the award, here’s a link to David Robertson’s introduction.  For those of you who know me personally — you will be shocked to see me in a dress! 😉

Here’s the text from my speech:

I could stand up here and tell you all about myself.  But my life is well documented.  Just call my parents, they will be happy to tell you the good… the bad. And even the ugly.

But this award isn’t about me. It’s about the many children in foster care for whom important life events are rarely noted, much less documented.

When I learned that many of the children who appear on Wednesday’s child describe the time they spend with Barbara Harrison as the best day of their lives,  I wanted to do something to help preserve those wonderful memories. And, as a photographer, it was obvious what I could do.

It’s been incredibly rewarding to meet the amazing Wednesday’s Children and to work with great partners like COG, NBC and Freddie Mac. And while I’ve witnessed many heartbreaking stories, my involvement with Wednesday’s Child has also meant sharing in the joy of newly expanded families.

And it was through my work with Wednesday’s Child that I became involved with FF4kids, a unique group mentoring program  for foster children, where I document not just one event… but many events for the kids.

Kids in foster care are virtually invisible in this country. And when they do come to light, we see things like the fact that foster children are often grossly overmedicated and mistreated by the people charged with caring for them.

Things are not going to change for kids in foster care until we have more professionals working in the system who are as committed and caring as Kamilah Bunn – COG , Charelia Bazemore, DC and Fairfax County’s/Fairfax Famiies4kids DR. Beverly Howard. And more companies like Freddie Mac. And more elected officials like Michael Frey, Fairfax County Supervisor. And more members of the community like Molly and Brian, who adopted the boy they mentored. And Kathy, who has stuck by the boy she mentored for more than 8 years and can take much of the credit for the amazing man he is becoming. And Carmen, who is part mentor and part mother to many kids in foster care. More people like these, working together, can make change a reality.

Every child deserves to have people in their lives who think they are important and make them feel special. If this award means anything, I hope it means that more people find more ways to make more of a difference for children in foster care.

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3 Responses to More People, Working Together, can Make Change a Reality for Children in Foster Care

  1. cynthia says:

    Congratulations Joan! You deserve this award! It’s a lovely speech. I wanted to see/hear you deliver it but I’ll settle for seeing you in a dress! 😉 Seriously, I’m proud to be your friend. Thanks for all your care and concern for those who need it most.

  2. Kamilah says:

    Joan, your speech was heartfelt, honest and real. This was the takeaway of the day, for sure! thanks for being such a wonderful and steadfast champion for children!

  3. Tammy says:

    Wow! You rock! What an inspiring speech. You’re such a wonderful advocate for children in foster care.

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