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Striving for Excellence in Foster Care
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Think back to the first eight years of your life – how formative they were in shaping your attitudes, personality and habits. Pivotal memories rooted in what may seem like minor details: the sometimes-working stove that your parents used to cook meals, the coat rack on the wall to catch a wet winter jacket or backpack bulging with homework you knew you would be reminded to finish later. Children rely on memories like these to shape how they interact with the world.
Now think how challenging life would be if essential elements like family, stability and a sense of identity were absent. More than half a million children in the United States alone currently live that reality.
These children reside in foster care, also called out-of-home care. Foster care is a multifaceted initiative that serves children and youth who cannot live with their families because of domestic violence, child abuse, housing insecurity or other types of trauma.
To meet the various needs and challenges of the vastly diverse youth, foster parents are called upon from every race, ethnicity and culture. In addition to raising foster children in their homes, foster families mentor youth into self-sufficient adults with the assistance of counselors and case managers.
“FCCI has been dedicated to serving its communities since 1959. The company’s eighth pillar is Charitable Giving and our core value of Service includes giving back to those in need.”
Duane Padgett, Vice President, Marketing & Communications
One such case manager is Micah Kane. Kane is a 2023 graduate from Kennesaw State University and works at the Atlanta Angels Foster Care Community in Georgia. Micah has a unique perspective, as he lived in the foster care system until he was adopted at eight years old. The experience equipped him to pursue his idea of reinventing foster care for the betterment of kids and parents. “You aren’t a victim of your circumstances,” asserts Kane when interviewed by Atlanta News First, “You can become someone who can triumph over all that.”
Compassionate acts of support and service toward at-risk demographics and disaster victims not only continue to positively impact lives, but they also save lives. For every hour dedicated to helping another individual or group, hope flares, victims become something greater and obstacles are overcome.
For these reasons, The FCCI Charitable Foundation selected the following foster care organizations as the recipients of its 2023 fundraising activities:
Sunnybrook Children’s Home is a nonprofit childcare organization in Ridgeland, Mississippi, chartered in 1963. It prioritizes the safety, potential and healing of each child over all else. Sunnybrook nurtures responsibility and self-sufficiency in each child to grow in healthy self-expression, productive communication and reconciliation with past traumas. The administrators and houseparents implement education and job training to cultivate independence in youth that families usually develop in raising their young.
Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services draws its mission to compassionately care for orphans. Their care is guided by respect for their clients and a focus on strengths over weaknesses or problems. After 120 years, this foster care nonprofit continues serving approximately 4,500 children and families throughout Texas, Missouri and Louisiana.
The Foundation for Foster Children encourages foster kids to take part in healthy and creative activities such as sports, art and music that bring some regularity into their lives. Four women in Central Florida founded the Foundation in 2008. Since then, it has taken on a board of directors and staff of more than 30 individuals who passionately serve their communities’ needs. They've also educated themselves in various areas, such as sociology, mental health, anthropology, psychology, human studies, global health and human development. Among their three programs – Educate, Enrich and Empower – they have annually employed more than 10,000 hours of tutoring foster kids to help them academically succeed.
The Atlanta Angels of Georgia operate from the conviction that each child and young adult has a profound need for belonging and an untapped capacity to triumph. Rather than settling with the status quo, members of this foster care community empower youth and the commonwealth to care for one another. More than 3,000 volunteer hours were donated by program volunteers in 2023, serving 400 affected individuals and 71 families in the surrounding area.
The Firefly Children & Family Alliance began in 1835 as the Indianapolis Benevolent Society. This was the first community agency to seek impoverished families regardless of race or faith. Since then, and especially after World War II, the nonprofit prioritizes rebuilding families and providing urgent relief to those in need in Indiana.
The Bair Foundation of Virginia strives to provide quality care since it was chartered in 1967 by its namesake, William Bair, a Methodist minister. This therapeutic foster care agency was organized to support, restore and empower disadvantaged youth along with their families. In 2002, this nonprofit was certified by The Council on Accreditation for meeting the highest national standards in quality community care.
The Twig Cares, Inc. focuses mainly on three words: Believe, Empower and Thrive. The founders, Lloyd and Dianne Weed, opened a shop in 2016 where foster children could obtain essentials such as clothes with dignity and assurance. In its first year, The Twig shop serviced more than 460 kids. By the following year, the shop had moved into a larger space and serviced more than 1,500 kids. In addition, the nonprofit works diligently to spread awareness in the Gulf Coast of Florida.
Such tireless nonprofits seek to be the best at guiding and empowering youth who are, by default, often excluded because of their disadvantages and challenges. Kids who grow into adults through foster care organizations that thoroughly support healthy foster families do more than learn to survive – they thrive.
Houses are built by volunteers for resilient single-parent families, food is donated and distributed to struggling communities, Christmas toys are collected and sorted for children of incarcerated adults and awareness is spread on severe ailments such as breast cancer and Parkinson’s disease. What may seem like a mere act of kindness to some leaves a lasting impression on those receiving kindness – carrying them through the most trying circumstances.
At FCCI Insurance Group, each teammate receives eight hours of company-paid volunteer time each year to serve at the organization of their choice. In 2023, dozens of nonprofits received 3,008 hours of productive volunteer work to bring each charity’s initiative that much closer to its goal. In addition to donating time, financial support is provided through the FCCI Charitable Foundation. Established in 2019 and administered by the Gulf Coast Community Foundation, 99 cents of every dollar are maximized and dedicated to supporting organizations in all states where FCCI conducts business. Each year, the Foundation targets one specific need that is prevalent across the nation. The focus of FCCI’s charitable giving in 2023 was on foster children.
Seven foster care nonprofit organizations across FCCI’s footprint received a total of $118,000. Such financial reinforcement propels these entities to go beyond the minimal provision of food, shelter and clothing for foster kids. It empowers mentoring and counseling programs to help youth proactively transition through extremely challenging stages of life and train single parents to thrive and strengthen families.
To learn more about the FCCI Charitable Foundation, click here.
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