Welcome to the end of 2013! Today I want to share three awesome resources available to support teens in foster care during the holiday season.
FosterClub, the national network for young people in foster care, recognizes the struggle faced by young people in and from foster care during the holidays. FosterClub provides the following Holiday Guides to offer ideas and encouragement to young people and the adults who support them.
- 12 Ideas for supportive adults to help a young person in foster care through the holidays (view here)
- Helping Young People in Foster Care Through the Holidays (view here)
- FosterClub’s Guide for Getting Through the Holidays (view here)
Many of you know that my favorite movie is Krush Groove. I also love Christmas music and old school hip hop. You don’t have to be a Rocket Scientist to figure that I am a Run DMC fan and one of my favorite Christmas songs is Christmas in Hollis. Check out the video here.
I am grateful to all Veterans and their families for your selfless sacrifice.
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Today we remember and honor all who lost their lives on 9/11/2001!
“Time is passing. Yet, for the United States of America, there will be no forgetting September the 11th. We will remember every rescuer who died in honor. We will remember every family that lives in grief. We will remember the fire and ash, the last phone calls, the funerals of the children.” -President George W. Bush, November 11, 2001
“Every year on this day, we are all New Yorkers.” – President Barack Obama, September 11, 2009
Nicki Sanders, MSW, Chief Visionary Officer
The Teen Toolbox utilizes youth portfolio development and civic engagement and academic empowerment strategies to help teens set goals for life after high school and create a road map to reach those goals through its PACKAGED FOR SUCCESS™ Programs. We are committed to supporting and raising awareness about the needs and potential of teenagers in the foster care system.
I am very selective about the television shows and movies that I watch. I’m not into suspense, horror, and chaotic reality TV. Last night I saw the movie “They Call Me Sir” for the second time. Although he managed to avoid the child welfare system, I was a bit disturbed by the portrayal of Sirr’s relationship with his aunt and her hesitance to allow him to live with her. I was also rooting for Sirr’s cousins to reconcile with their mom and leave the gang life behind.
You already know that I’m not a sports fan so it wasn’t until the end of the movie that I found out that I was watching the biography of Sirr Parker’s life – a former running back for Texas A&M University who went on to play professionally in the National Football League, the Canadian Football League, and the Arena Football League. I was glad the movie had a happy ending even though it wasn’t the one I expected.
This has become my NBA week. No, not because of the NBA championship games between the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs. (I haven’t seen any of the 6 games played so far). You know I love sharing stories that crush stereotypes by celebrating those who are thriving and not just surviving, right? Well, this is my NBA week because I learned about two NBA powerhouses who have dedicated their lives to supporting youth. On Sunday I had the pleasure of hearing an enlightening Father’s Day message from Etan Thomas and on yesterday I heard Derek Anderson’s inspiring interview on the Tom Joyner Morning Show (audio).
Roland Martin began an introduction about a boy abandoned by his parents at 11 years old and responsible for his own survival. While shuffling from place to place he became a teen dad at 14 and was tasked with a second person to provide for. This young man worked two jobs, continued in high school, and played basketball because of the support and mentoring provided by a community of caring adults. Derek graduated high school and went on to college.
I don’t think I’ve ever blogged about my religious views (I’m a Christian) but today I want to share the Father’s Day message that was presented at my church on yesterday. Mr. Etan Thomas delivered a powerful “call to action” to adults challenging us to reach out to and embrace our youth. Prior to yesterday, I had no idea that Etan Thomas is a husband, father, author, speaker, and community activist who played professionally in the National Basketball Association. Etan was raised by his mother in a single parent home but never fell victim to the stereotypes and tragedies in his community.
Since releasing his second book,Fatherhood Rising To The Ultimate Challenge, last year, Etan has traveled the US empowering young people with the message that they can be anything they want to be in life despite their current circumstances. He speaks in middle and high schools, colleges, prisons, and to professional and social justice organizations.
There are over 400,000 children in foster care in the United States. There have been many big screen and made for TV movies about the struggles of children in the system. The most famous movie (and one of my favorites) is The Blind Side. National Foster Care Month has ended but foster care is back in the spotlight with a television series on ABC Family called The Fosters. The Fosters is an ethnic mix of biological and foster children being raised by two mothers. Get your attention yet?
Many, many people in the foster care and adoption community were glued to their television sets on Monday night for the premiere. I missed the first episode but no worries — it will replay on ABC Family, it is available to view online, and it will be available On Demand soon. I will definitely be tuning in.