Have you ever been really pleasantly surprised by something? Or happened upon something fantastic just by chance? It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it can feel like the universe is sending you a message.
A few months ago I was walking down the street in Oakland. You may associate Oakland with high crime and the Raiders, but it’s a pretty diverse city and not as bad as the press would have you believe. Anyway, as I was walking a city bus stopped about 20 feet ahead of me. I’m not one to notice ads on buses, but this one caught my eye.
Family Builders, finding homes for LGBT foster kids
Wow. That ad would look right at home in San Francisco, but in Oakland?
When I got home I went to the Family Builders website to see what they’re all about. While I can’t foster a child, I did become familiar with the alarming statistics about LGBT kids in foster care while researching for Gingerbread Palace, where one of the characters was a foster kid who finally found a loving home after years of abuse in the foster system. I made up an organization that he worked with helping out foster kids. But Family Builders was a real life organization that did exactly what I imagined.
I immediately sent in a donation. It wasn’t much, but any little bit counts.
I also called to find out about volunteer opportunities. The woman I spoke to was surprised, because they don’t usually get volunteers and didn’t quite know how I could help, though she’s keeping me in mind.
That was also when I decided to donate the royalties from my Gingerbread bonus story to Family Builders.
I was going to post about that during May, which was Foster Care Month, but didn’t manage to.
So I’m posting about it right now. During June, as part of Pride Month, Family Builders is running a special campaign and I’d like to be able to send them a much bigger donation than last time.
Would you believe their goal is only $2500 for this special Pride and Joy campaign? That’s a tiny amount for such a huge problem. I imagine they don’t get much support at all, if that’s all they’re trying to raise.
You can help by buying a copy of An Extra Helping of Gingerbread. Whether or not you’ve read the original novella, this stands alone and doesn’t give spoilers about Gingerbread Palace. It’s a Christmas story with a hot fireman and a sexy chef. What’s not to love about that?
Why you should consider supporting this project:
- LGBT youth enter foster care due to homophobia and transphobia in their homes and schools. Research shows that LGBT youth enter the foster care system at a disproportionate rate to other young people.
- Of the 59,000 children and youth in foster care in California, it is estimated that anywhere between 25% and 40% are LGBT youth. That’s at least 14,000 kids just in California, who might not find the right family without support from Family Builders. Extrapolate that out to the rest of the country and you see the magnitude of the problem.
- 100% of LGBTQ youth in New York City group homes reported that they were verbally harassed on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity while at their group home.
- 70% reported physical violence due to their sexual orientation or gender identity.
- 78% were removed or ran away from their foster placements as a result of hostility toward their sexual orientation or gender identity.
- 56% spent time living on the streets because they felt “safer” there than they did living in their group or foster home
(Statistics from Family Builders and National Center for Lesbian Rights)
Please pick up a copy of An Extra Helping of Gingerbread and help support these kids to find permanent accepting families.
More about Family Builders:
Family Builders believes that every child has the right to grow up in a permanent, nurturing family regardless of that child’s age, race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, or medical, physical or emotional condition. Family Builders educates the community about the needs of waiting children, advocates on their behalf, and places children with permanent, secure families through adoption, and other forms of permanence. Family Builders’ goal is that no child will leave the foster care system without a permanent, loving and caring parent.