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Michael's Story From the Raise A Child 'Let Love Define Family' Series| The Huffington Post Portland, Oregon -- Friday, July 10th, 2015 --
When Michael was 7 years old, due to circumstances beyond his control and comprehension, he entered the foster care system in North Dakota.
Years passed, and there were families and homes where he would stay, but none for too long.
He grew and survived by recoiling into his own world and withdrew to the stark reality that he may never really belong anywhere.
So the foster system is not glamorous.
I won’t lie to you.
It’s very traumatic for the youth because they’re moving on average 3-5 times per year and with that, they’re changing schools 3-5 times per year and they’re making new friends and so consistency is not normal. Stability is not normal. And if we can offer a little bit of that through a mentor, that’s powerful,” Mavis said.
That’s where a mentor like Julie Lowell steps in.
She’s a single mother of a one-year-old and has been a mentor for Chrissy for nearly six months.
Eight-year-old Chrissy is becoming what feels to her like a big sister to her mentor Julie’s daughter.
Foster Children from all over the Northwest travelled to Eugene this weekend to become a princess for a day.
Nearly 400 girls between the ages of two and 18 received VIP treatment at the Valley River Inn thanks to the group “A Family for Every Child.” The community donated thousands of dresses, boas, slippers, and tiaras to make these girls feel like royalty.
“This day is about making a princess feel beautiful so any girl in the community can come in and just feel gorgeous for a whole day,” said event coordinator Sarah Cohen.
Mo Young’s 5-year-old daughter loves princesses. In fact, she “decided she was a princess,” says Young, a longtime community activist and parent.
When Young’s daughter came home from a princess event in tears last year, crying because she “wished she were white,” Young says she felt “heartbroken.”
“She’s beautiful, and she has beautiful dark skin,” she says. “She doesn’t see that in Eugene a lot, or in Oregon a lot.”
Now, Young says she’s encouraging young women of color to volunteer for Princess for a Day on May 3, in hopes that this year’s event will feature more representation for young girls of color.
Jen says the adoption was finalized on Saturday morning by conference call.
She and Lori on the couch in their sweats, a judge, some attorneys, the caseworker that matched them, Lori's former foster mom and a court-appointed special advocate on the other end.
A Family For Every Child runs: An Adoption Agency, Mentor Programs, Heart Galleries,
and a Mentor Program. Everything that we do is to make sure that these kids spend the least amount of
time in foster care. Ask the kids, what it is like to be in foster care. We help parents
too: our Matching Assistance Program helps potential parents locate and adopt children from any
state of the country and overcome some of the hurdles involved in the process.
There are dozens of kids from Lane County living in foster homes.
The young adults are getting great care, but that doesn't mean they don't need a little more positive influences in their lives.
That's where A Family For Every Child's mentor program comes in.
It serves at risk children in need of permanent connections.
The woman, Jen Bell, was matched with a Texas child, Lori, through A Family For Every Child, the Eugene nonprofit organization that seeks permanent, adoptive homes for foster children.
Bell said she considered adopting a child from overseas, but found that most countries are not eager to have children adopted by a single mother.
She also looked into domestic adoptions in the United States but found that most of those are parents seeking adoptions for their newborns.
"And the more I thought about it, I didn’t really want a baby," because she works full time running her business, Bell said.
She was familiar with A Family For Every Child, because she is friends with the organization's founder and executive director, Christy Obie-Barrett,
and is also familiar with its Heart Gallery, displays around the community of portraits of adoptable children.
Emilio, Ben and Emily now have what they've always wanted: a loving, stable, permanent home with the Jessops.
Emilio was in foster care for 5 years before being adopted.
"It's really great just to have a family that's going to care for me," he said.
That's something 8,000 kids in Oregon - more than 1,000 of them in Lane County - are still searching for.
The Moshofsky Center was packed Sunday, but those inside weren't wearing their Duck gear.
It was all about the capes and masks today for foster boys who got to be super heroes for a day.
Sunday's event was called "Hero for A Day", hosted by the non-profit, "A Family For Every Child".
Laughter and joy filled the room Sunday at the Moshosfky Center as foster children rushed through obstacles courses, played games and got the opportunity to be a "Hero for a day" with UO student athletes.
"Our goal is to make children feel like a hero for a day, so they're going to meet a lot of everyday heroes and some TV type heroes and they're going to go and do lots of types of fun activities and be distracted for four hours," track and field athlete Madelayne Varela said.
"It's fun to see kids reactions and how they act around these cool people that seem normal to older people but amazing to younger people."
Superheroes took over the Moshofsky Center on Sunday for the first ever Hero For a Day event.
Hosted by the non-profit A Family For Every Child, it gave foster boys a chance to meet with Duck athletes, local rescue workers and some of their favorite super heroes from the pages of a comic book.
Like Spiderman and Batman, 5-year-old Izaiah hasn’t grown up in a traditional family.
While the superhero characters lost their parents at a young age, Izaiah spent part of his childhood in foster care, not knowing which home was permanent and which was temporary, before being adopted by Tom Leggate and his family about a month ago.
The O Heroes program, along with the A Family for Every Child organization, will give foster children and local kids ages 3-18 a chance to be a "Hero for a Day" on Sunday afternoon at the Moshofsky Center.
Many Heart Galleries, like A Family For Every Child, sponsor many different kids of special events in which foster children are introduced to potential parents who may eventually adopt them. This video shows two events where foster kids meet adults who might become their forever family.
For organizers of a special community event for girls, the glitz and the glam is in the giving and joyful receiving.
Princess for a Day is sponsored by local nonprofit A Family for Every Child, which helps children in the foster care system find permanent, loving homes. The event serves primarily girls in foster care, although anyone is welcome to attend.
Their hair primped, their necks sparkling and their giddiness unrestrained, hundreds of girls left the Valley River Inn feeling like royalty on Sunday.
The Eugene-based nonprofit A Family for Every Child held its annual Princess for a Day event to pamper foster girls between the ages of 2 and 18, and to raise awareness of the plight of many foster children through Oregon.
Lots of girls love to get made up and pampered. This weekend, there is a special event for children in foster care made possible thanks to people who care.
Christy Obie-Barrett with A Family for Every Child joined us live on KEZI 9 News This Morning to talk about the event Princess for a Day, happening March 2 at Valley River Center in Eugene for girls ages 2-18.
Birthday Girl, 11, Gives Away All Her Gifts | KVAL News Coburg, OR -- Monday, September 30, 2013 --
"She came up to me about a month and a half ago," said Melissa Bermudez, Kyleigh's mom, "and she said, 'Mom for my birthday this year I don't need anything. I just want everybody to just give presents for the kids in need.'"
Friends, family and people in the community donated.
"These are all boxes for the foster kids," the birthday girl said Monday. "They're signed girls clothes up here, and boy's clothes. These are a bunch of shoes, pants and jammies and stuff. And here's toys for the foster kids."
Kyleigh and her mom are working with the organization A Family for Every Child to make sure all those presents go to a good home.
Ramsey keeps beating the odds | ESPN Louisville, KY -- Friday, August 23, 2013 --Ramsey overcomes adversity to reach Louisville
Three-star defensive end Terry Ramsey committed to Louisville in July.
But his route to an FBS scholarship took him through years of uncertainty in foster care.
Now, with a permanent family, Ramsey is ready to take the field for his senior season.
For the fifth year, A Family For Every child sponsored Princess For A Day at Valley River Center in Eugene, Oregon.
More than 350 girls, the majority of which are foster girls, received a royal gown, slippers and a crown.
Power Talk: A Discussion of Adoption National - Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Our Associate Director Linzy Munger and others appeared with Linda Ballesteros to discuss Adoption on Power Talk.
Hear the former President of the Gift of Adoption, an organization that inspires adoption by providing grants
to qualified parents wanting to adopt, speak about how families can utilize their supports. Gift of Adoption helps families
figure out what kind of adoption is right for them. Linzy speaks about our matching assistance program and the
services we provide families who want to adopt from foster care but might be finding barriers in doing so.
Linda's Daughter April Keppinger spoke about her adoption experience and working with A Family For Every Child.
AFFEC Helps a Child Find a Forever Family Eugene, OR. -- Thursday, October 25, 2012
Thanks, largely, to the Eugene-based A Family for Every Child adoption agency, he not only has found a foster home that's working for him but
is scheduled for permanent adoption by a Maryland couple before year's end.
"They already love me," he says. "That's the great part. They're willing to tackle my problems with me."
A glitz factor has been added to recent lineups at the Bi-Mart Willamette Country Music Festival. In just five years, big names and big crowds have become the norm.
Stars such as this year’s closing acts — Sugarland, Martina McBride and Trace Adkins — are vastly popular in the country music world. And several others, such as the Band Perry and Jana Kramer, are moving up the Billboard charts.
For the second year, the Bi-Mart Willamette Country Music Festival will support the HEART Gallery, a national effort to find a home for every foster child.
There are more 12,000 children in foster care in Oregon and 500,000 nationwide. Fewer than 50 percent will ever return home to stay.
The Great Rotary Duck Race has had that impact on more than two dozen non-profits in its 25 years. This year, organizers invited all of them to a reunion of sorts -- with some incentive: build a duck. The best one will win $2,000; the rest will be auctioned off with the money going back to the agency that created it.
The girls were given the royal treatment including hair, nail and makeup styling, plus a tea party lunch and a special photo shoot. Springfield-based non-profit A Family for Every Child organized the event.
4th Annual Princess For A Day | KEZI News Eugene, OR. -- Sunday, March 4, 2012 --
A Family for every Child hosted its 4th annual "Princess for a Day" event.
Foster girls get their hair, make-up and nails done, along with a dress and crown to take home. And of course, they get to attend a royal tea party, all for free.
A Family For a Child and Princess For A Day | KUGN News Eugene, OR. -- Friday, March 2, 2012 --
A Family For Every Child is a non-profit organization based in Springfield, Oregon where what we try to do is find a loving and permanent home for every
waiting foster child....Click left to hear more
Foster Girls to Receive Royal Treatment | KEZI News Eugene, OR. -- Thursday, March 1, 2012 --
Foster children often don't get the same privileges as non-foster children, but this weekend, A Family for Every Child will make hundreds of Lane County foster girls feel like a princess.
The Princess for a Day event this Sunday is a chance for foster girls and non-foster girls to dress up, get their hair done and make-up done -- the full royal treatment....
GUEST VIEWPOINT: Even the best foster homes can't replace family support
Eugene, OR. -- Wednesday, Dec 28, 2011 --
When you hear about child abuse or neglect, most people's first reaction is "get that kid out of danger." Once we know the child has been removed, we breathe a sigh of relief, assume that the child will be better off in foster care, and consider the problem fixed. If we think of the abuser, it is almost always to condemn and judge: "How could they do that?"
Holiday Events Schedule Filling Up
-- Friday, A Family for Every Child and Fifth Street Market invite you to "A Night of a Thousand Stars."
The free celebration is a fundraiser for A Family for Every Child. The non-profit focuses on finding
permanent and adoptive homes for children. The event is open to the public it's from 5 to 8 p.m.
Friday night at the Fifth Street Market.
12 Kids Is Just a Start
-- Saturday, May 9, 2009 -- Many hands pitch in to put candles on the first cake of "birthday season,"
as the Barrett family of Eugene calls the busy months of April through July. Christy Obie-Barrett and her husband,
Bill Barrett, built a rambunctious, affectionate family of 12 biological and adoptive children before she started
a nonprofit focused on making a difference in the lives of many more children.
Oregon Ducks Assistant Coach Scott Frost mentors a teen.... can you?
Scott Frost started as a mentor in Eugene more than two years ago, an experience that turned into much more than he had planned.
After mentoring turned into fostering, Frost said:
"I forget who said it, but a quote that I really like is, 'Don't make the mistake of doing nothing because you can only
do a little.' I'm not there for Chris as often as I'd like to. But because I'm there for Chris, I've seen changes.
Not only that, it's been one of the best things I've ever done for me.
Because I'm starting to realize the value of having someone completely depend on me,
and the impact that I can make on someone."
We have a need for more male mentors in the Eugene / Springfield area.
Stop making excuses why you shouldn't.
The Register Guard November 10, 2011 Local shopping malls brace for Black Friday
Valley River Center joins a growing trend in planning a midnight opening
Princess for a Day Paonia, Colo. June 16, 2011 –
Once a year, A Family for Every Child, an Oregon-based nonprofit that works to place foster children in permanent homes, hosts its Princess for a Day fundraiser. For $50, participants get pampered and primped, glittered and gifted with goody bags and gowns and an elegant tea followed by ice cream sundaes and a dance with a handsome prince from a college fraternity. Kids in foster care get to attend for free. "This is stupid," a teen in glasses muttered to her friend as she entered a conference room full of perfumed beauticians wielding curling irons.
Princess for a Day Eugene, Ore. March 6, 2011 –Hundreds of princesses were at the Valley River Inn in Eugene Sunday. Girls in foster care from all over the region received some royal treatment. "Everybody wants to be a princess, all little girls want to be a princess," said Andrea Kingsley Rippee, president of A Family for Every Child. The local organization, A Family for Every Child, believes every girl deserves to be a princess, if only for a day....
Princess For A Day Springfield, Ore. March 3, 2011 – Girls ages 2-18 are royally invited to become "Princesses for a Day," and admission is free for girls in foster care (with advanced registration at www.afamilyforeverychild.org). Last year this event drew nearly 200 girls, and 75% of them were in foster care. This year, A Family for Every Child hopes 300 princesses will make their royal debut for a day of finery and fun.
Princess For A Day EUGENE, Ore. -- A Family For A Child is a non-profit agency which seeks to find a permanent loving home for every waiting foster child. In line with its mission, A Family For Every Child sponsors A Princess For A Day, an event where girls in foster care can be...
AFFEC's "Winter Wonderland" Held As First Fundraiser
EUGENE, Ore.--A local non-profit group that helps foster children finds homes, hosted its first-ever fundraiser. "A Family for Every Child" invited folks to come out to the "Winter Wonderland" dinner and auction. About 250 people answered the call, and got to hear one child's story about her adoption.
A Family for Every Child An Oregon mother has made it her life's mission to find forever families for Oregon and Washington foster children. Mother of 12, Christy Obie-Barrett, says when her youngest child entered kindergarten she decided she wanted to spend her free time helping others experience the gift of family.
Foster kids get to be princess for a day.
In early March of each year, A Family For Every Child sponsors the Princess Event, a chance for girls in foster care to be treated like royalty! Girls in foster care get a gown, slippers, a tiara, and a hairdo. Then they partake of one of the delicacies of royal life: a tea party and photo shoot, all in a luxurious Holiday Inn. Over 200 girls participated in this year's event.
A message from the heart Chiropractor encourages foster parenting on the Harbor
Article By Leif Nesheim The Vidette (Monsanto Wa.)
OregonLive.com THE BACHSCORE: Ducks assistant Scott Frost speaks about mentoring teen
The Register Guard Family counts for everything: Mother of 12 balances busy home life with working to meet the needs of children waiting for families to call their own.
The Register Guard GUEST VIEWPOINT: Service class teaches timeless lesson — how to be charitable
The Register Gaurd PAGES FROM THEIR LIVES:
Volunteers put their hearts into designing pages for adopted children's Lifebooks
We Are Family (An AFFEC Sucess story) Some people
are meant to be parents: Julia and her family were supposed to go to Southern Utah for spring break. Instead, they're here at the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport. Eleven-year-old Julia loves this place. Today she's wearing pink and purple: a purple hat with sparkly plastic jewels, a pink hooded sweatshirt, purple flip-flops.
"This spring, Hiram's portrait will join those of more than 300 other New Jersey foster children at an exhibit titled Heart Gallery of New Jersey. If all goes well, adults who visit the exhibit (or view the photos online at www.heartgallerynj.com) will be moved to adopt."
"Organizers hope that if more people see compelling portraits of Jaillah and other children like him - life-size and lively - more will consider adoption."
They're photographing the children with the same dignity and respect that they would give to big stars and CEOs,' notes Feanny. 'They're bringing the same lights and assistants, the same backdrops.' One boy, she recalls, said to his social worker, 'I feel like a movie star."
"Nearly one hundred thirty thousand children in the U.S. public welfare system are waiting to be adopted. Most are eight years old, or even older. Now though, there is a new strategy to get them a home."
Christy Obie-Barrett appointed to newly formed National Heart Gallery Board
Christy Obie Barrett, President of A Family for Every Child, and Director of the Heart Gallery of Lane County, has accepted the invitation to join the National Heart Gallery Board. She will be presenting workshops at the first national Heart Gallery conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico at the end of August. Heart Galleries are an innovative adoption recruitment tool using positive portraits of children needing adoptive homes.
Christy will have national impact on adoption recruitment practices.