The Whistle Stop Mall was proud to host a fundraiser and recruitment drive for The Children’s Home, Inc. Saturday, August 20, in an effort to 'Change a Life Forever.'
The main event was an exhibition by Danny Antoine’s Karate Academy. The Nikwasi Dulcimer Players were another featured entertainment. There was also a bake sale, raffles, a magic show by volunteer Mike Barboff and a foster parent recruitment booth.
Rebecca Barboff, the Director for the Franklin campus of the Children's Home, said that the event “went really well and, overall, there was a good turnout.” Barboff stressed that the event was not just a fundraiser, but was also to raise awareness for the great need for foster parents in Macon County and the surrounding area.
“The foster parent recruitment booth was the most important part of the event,” she said. “There is a huge need here and we are getting referrals all the time.” She also said that she was not expecting people to sign up to become a foster parent on the spot, but that the decision to become a foster parent was something that required careful thought and planning. Therefore, the foster parents at the recruitment booth on Saturday were passing out information that people would need to begin to make that decision. Foster Parents on hand for this event were Linda Stewart, Crystal Hopkins, Linda and Chris Meyers and TJ Cabe.
Stewart has been a foster parent since 1997. She says that the reason she does that kind of work is because "the children give back to me as much as we, hopefully, give to them." In a sense, being a foster parent also brings a sense of purpose. Stewart said that being a foster parent makes her and her husband still feel needed even though their own children are fully grown. And according to Stewart, the rewards far outweigh the work and commitment that being a foster parent takes. "It is very rewarding for everyone involved."
In an article that Barboff wrote in May 2010, she said, “The foster care 'system' is only as good as the people who choose to be a part of it. With the help of more Americans, the lives of these young people will change for the better.”
According to Barboff, the North Carolina mental health system is undergoing some changes. As a result, there are some facilities that will be closing and many of the kids in these group homes are being referred to therapeutic foster homes such as those licensed by The Children's Home.
The Franklin campus of the Children's Home offers Therapeutic foster care and more traditional family foster care. Barboff explained that therapeutic foster care is offered to families that have children with multiple mental health issues and that therapeutic foster care aids the families in learning how to adapt and care for their children. It is considered a short term treatment intervention with the goal of returning home. Traditional family foster care is for kids with little or no mental health issues. These children tend to need longer term placements and sometimes are freed for adoption.
So far Barboff estimates that $450 was raised, but she says that more funds and donations may still come in as a result of the event.
For more information about the Franklin campus of the Children's Home or becoming a foster parent, call (828) 349-0345, or stop by the campus located at 827 Wiley Brown Road in Franklin.