In this newsletter we recognize Jason Preece, president of our Youth Advisory Committee, Peer Specialist at Aunt Leah’s Place, and Advocate for foster children. His story and his leadership are truly inspiring. Jason demonstrates what happens when we encourage young people to be healthy and strong.
I’m reminded of a ritual I had with my grandmother (Leah) when I was very little. She would hold me and rub my back and recite the phrase “Rub her Back and Make Her Strong”. Over and over she would repeat the phrase. It was similar to a nursery rhyme, a lullaby, a grandmother’s song to her grandchild. For me it was the warm comfort and physical expression of being loved and cared for.
This tiny piece of visual, poetic wisdom, is a metaphoric backdrop to ask, ‘What will make former foster youth strong?’ and what will help support the work of caring for foster kids as they transition to adulthood?
In a parental role, Aunt Leah’s board and staff have asked this question over the years and as a result we have added important pieces to this place of care. We “Make Them Strong” through life skills training, housing subsidies, employment training, educational support, food security, and counseling. Most importantly though, we provide a community that supports these individuals through difficulties and celebrates with them during success.
To you the reader, I suggest the question expands to:
“How do we provide family support to the young adults leaving foster care? How is this support currently provided within mainstream families? How can it be replicated at Aunt Leah’s Place?”
Thank you for your continued volunteer and financial support. You provide us with the space to creatively ask questions and the means to make the young people at Aunt Leah’s Place strong.
Wishing you the best for 2016. May we collectively move toward a Brighter Future for Foster Kids.
In the spirit of Leah,Gale Stewart
Aunt Leah’s Place