A child’s luck of the draw?
by Ron McGinty
No child picks their parents. It is a God given right to have children. There is no pre-testing of suitability, stability, mental health, drug-free testing or other requirements to get pregnant. Fortunately, income is not a requirement to be a loving parent.
I have experienced responsible and loving parents in slums and ghettos around the world. Consequently, it begs the question why does foster care exist? Some parents made terrible mistakes and worked hard to rectify them and some just can’t or won’t resolve their problems. These good children can become wards of the state. Our society spends millions of dollars to offer life’s living necessities, but can’t contribute LOVE. Thus the staggering statistic, only 25 percent succeed in adulthood. I have experienced second and third generations of foster children. My awareness comes from the first-hand experience as a Guardian ad Litem for over four years and 18 children.
The numbers keep swelling, resulting in a total of 652 foster children as of May 2016 in the 20th Circuit of Southwest Florida.
There is a critical shortage of foster homes. Collier County is especially in desperate need of additional foster parents.
Each of these children has gone through ruthless times creating personal trauma. The term “Foster Child” is a lifespan term, if not reunited with parents, adopted or aged out. The world can be cruel, especially bullies who don’t care about theirpeers’ feelings of this label. As survivors, the foster children can become guarded and isolated. Their despair most often can lead to questioning their place in the world or even if there is a God. Too often, it can tip many into addictive behaviors to cope.
Now flip the coin over, look into the hearts and minds of these exceptional children. Many give a supreme effort to build a path to reach their dreams. Eleven female children, age 15 to 18 years have started a scholarship fund (from local donations) to enable six months of participation in No Barriers Youth/Learning Afar Program. When selected the students will study culture, leadership, current global changes before embarking on a ten-day excursion to Southwest USA. The program solidifies confidence, passion and resilience.
When asked to relate their visions, the responses were:
- They are all inspired to help others.
- The career that I want is to be a chef.
- I would like to study Music Therapy or anything involving music because I like music, I also like to sing.
- I want to study culinary arts and become a traveling chef one day.
- I would like to become a youth pastor and a Christian rapper.
- I hope to serve our country in the Army or the Marines.
- I consider myself a leader. I push others that need pushing; I never leave anyone behind. A leader needs a strong personality and being in foster care has given me that type of personality. I’m able to take all of the bad things that happened in my past and use that to make me a stronger person.
- The career I want is in the medical field.
- I hope to graduate from law school and pass the bar exam so I can become a successful lawyer.
- I want to go to college to become a counselor and a surgical nurse. I have a dream to help hurt and abandoned kids. I’m only one person with a big dream, but I believe that nothing is impossible if you set your mind to it.
- In the future, I want to become an FBI agent because terrorism is something that hurts me.
We can touch the spirit of these foster children being the first in the nation to experience this custom program built for them. They will become the trail blazers and leaders to help others…A rainbow over troubled waters…
IF MOTIVATED; YOU CAN HAVE AN IMPACT!