When I was still a pretty little kid, I saw a show about foster kids. It must have been 20/20 or something like that. I still remember one pivotal part of the story. Kids who were around 12 years old were standing in line because people interested in adopting children were coming to visit the foster home. The kids talked about how they always wanted to give the best possible impression. They smiled as much as possible, they were as nice as possible. But because they weren’t cute little babies anymore, they knew that their chances weren’t real good. Indeed, none of the children featured on the show were adopted that day.
This is a story that is being lived out by kids all over the nation. The thing is, these kids are on a clock. If they are not adopted by the age of 21, they actually “age out” of the foster care system. With no more existing connections in the foster care system, no family, and no solid foundation to turn to, these young adults often suffer very difficult lives.
The stories of these lost children are finally being highlighted by a group called SalaamGarage NYC. This group is gathering stories and photographs for a photography exhibit, a website, and a book. The stories reveal, as the group’s kickstarter page indicates, “sobering odds.” “Nationally, 1 in 5 will become Homeless. 1 in 4 will be incarcerated within two years of aging-out. About 1 in 2 young women will be pregnant within one year and only about half will graduate high school.”
You can help turn the tide
Thanks to the wonders of social media and modern technology, we have a chance to spread the word about the SalaamGarage project, which means we in turn have a chance to help shine the light on these stories that are too often shoved into dark corners and ignored. The project is looking for funding of just under $13,500, and we have 33 days to make that happen.
Visit the Kickstarter page. Watch the video, which does a much better job than this of explaining the plight of these young people. See if you can donate a little, or if you can’t, just help me spread the word. It’s the least we can do for these kids, don’t you think? And after all, as the project so eloquently states – Everybody needs someone.
Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dvs/15495574/ via Creative Commons