Helping Foster Kids Succeed

By Devonne McLaughlin

You might not always realize how you’re impacting a child’s life for the better, but if I am any example, trust me.  You are!

My name is Devonne and I am a beneficiary of quite a few of the supports Friends of Children offers young people who have been in the foster care system.  And because of the help I’ve received, I feel like my life has changed dramatically.

My life had been an uphill battle.  Before high school, I was in several foster homes.  Then I was adopted and un-adopted.  When I talk with staff at FOC, I wish I had a CASA (court appointed special advocate) back then. During high school, I bounced from home to home, went to four high schools, but still managed to graduate on time.  Before starting college, I got to participate in Friends of Children’s Seeing Their Voices Project and learned not only how to take really AWESOME self portraits, but also that what I had to say about my own life mattered to others.  And I was so proud when a judge bought one of my portraits  and asked me to sign it!

When I was starting college, Friends of Children helped me get ready. Through Foster Dignity, I got everything I needed for my dorm.  FOC helped me apply for a laptop from a foundation that helps kids who were in foster care.  Once in college, I was mentored and given encouragement to succeed and believe in myself even when others had doubts.  And when I learned I was pregnant, I knew that putting a group of folks around me to help would be important.  People at Friends of Children never gave up me….and because of that, I never gave up either.  Foster Dignity helped again when I needed a stable place to live with my daughter so I could complete college. 

Last spring, I graduated college with my bachelors in social work and received an academic award.  I am now working doing what I love.  Not a bad start, is it?!!

The most important thing I’ve gained through my connection with Friends of Children is believing in myself and knowing that people love and care for me.

I know how to advocate for myself…and I know how to ask for help and support when I need it.  I know I have the ability to give others the support they need to succeed.  And best of all, I know I have the ability to be a good mother to my three year old daughter!

So if you aren’t sure if your advocacy, or if your support or mentoring is making a difference to kids like I was, think again. 

Believe in us.  Believe in yourselves!  Don’t stop speaking up for kids.   It really makes ALL the difference!

To donate to Friends of Children, follow the link provided and click on Add to My Donation Basket, or use the code 560288 on your paper pledge form.