Through the Eyes of a Child

Most of us can’t imagine life without our families. They are the people who are always there to help us celebrate our successes and our failures. They are who we turn to for a word of advice or a shoulder to cry on.

 

Because a family is more than flesh and blood. It’s having people who love you unconditionally. It’s a support system that helps each of us along life’s journeys.

 

Yet, thousands of children across South Carolina have never understood the meaning of a family. They have never felt the safety and security of a loving home; they’ve never experienced unconditional love… but they also haven’t given up on it.

 

These children are waiting, wishing for a family of their own. And, for the first time, they are speaking out about it. Through a series of videos produced by the South Carolina Heart Gallery Foundation, select children in foster care are telling the world about their lives, their interests, and what they are looking for in a forever home.

 

Here is what a few of them have to say:

 

“Just because things don’t go your way, that doesn’t mean you just give up on the world.”                  

–Derrick, 16 years old

 

“I’m nice, kind, and gentle…I’m not asking for much—just to have a good family.”   

–Devonte, 17 years old

 

“Someone taught me [three things] that help me every day: A. learn from your mistakes, B. if your day is going wrong, hope for a better one, and last but not least, treat others the way you want to be treated.”  –Kyle

 

“It would be a good family, if I just had the right family—that I’ve never had before.”

–Deon, 14 years old

 

The South Carolina Heart Gallery Foundation supports the work of the South Carolina Heart Gallery, which is a collaborative program administered and supported by the Foster Care Review Board, Office of the Governor and the South Carolina Department of Social Services.

 

Foster Care to College

This month on the blog, we’ve been talking about education as it relates to foster care and adoption. (It seemed only appropriate during the time of year when children are getting back to school.) But as August comes to a close next week, we’ll finish off this segment with some former foster youth who made it to college, courtesy of the media outlet Texas Politica.

 

We love their unique insight on transitioning to college, tuition waivers and the value of higher education—and we hope you will too.

 

FCYWMITC

photo by: Callie Richmond

“I’ve pushed myself more and more every day, making sure I have the education I need, because I know that without education I have nothing. I don’t have family I can reach out to. This is it for me. If I don’t succeed educationally, I have nothing.”  — Kasandra Robertson

 

FCYWMITC_2

 photo by: Callie Richmond

“The institutionalization of foster care is so detrimental to a young person’s mind. It’s like a prison. Education is key. It is key for understanding yourself, for improving your future, for rising out of the socioeconomic status of poverty. And as we know, poverty is the key to recidivism, the key to drugs, to pain and hatred and not understanding. I chose to rise above it.”  — Corey Vollette

 

FCYWMITC_3

 photo by: Callie Richmond

“I struggled my first semester, and my grades reflected that. However, the endless support from the previous foster parents did ease my anxiety and made things a lot easier once I got a hold of the whole ‘college thing.’ … I’ve always lived my life by this motto: It’s better to live to a life of ‘oh wells’ than a life of ‘what ifs.’ Go to college, even if it’s for a semester. Try it out, learn some new things and meet some new people. Obtaining a degree is monumental and a huge confidence and morale booster.” — Elijah Sullivan

 

*Source: http://texaspolitica.com/?p=55215&utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=slideshow-foster-care-alumni-who-made-it-to-college

 

 

Empowered to Speak Up and Be Heard

It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words.

 

The South Carolina Heart Gallery was founded in 2005 to leverage the power of photography to help find permanent homes for children in foster care. It has successfully done this through an online gallery combined with photo exhibitions across the state that show the beautiful faces of our waiting children. In 2013 alone, 73 new families initiated the adoption application process through the SC Heart Gallery.

 

But if a picture is worth a thousand words, what about video?

 

Over the next year, the South Carolina Heart Gallery Foundation is rolling out video profiles of individual children, allowing them to share their story, hopes and dreams for themselves. All these videos are available to view on our Vimeo channel—allowing potential adoptive families to digitally “meet” these children and explore a deeper connection with them than that provided by still photography.   

 

All the children in these videos are legally available for adoption; most have spent years waiting in foster care. These are children who, for the most part, have little input into their situation. Their social workers speak on their behalf. Others decide where they live and what is in their best interest. Their fate is rarely in their own hands.

 

The videos being produced by the S.C. Heart Gallery Foundation aim to change that. It’s not about “advertising” children. It’s about providing them with a platform to tell their own story, to make their own plea for their future families. It’s about empowering them to take their future into their own hands with the opportunity to speak up and be heard—through video.

 

If you would like to make a donation to support the production of these individual child videos, please click on the blue “DONATE” button at the top of our website. Each video costs approximately $250 to produce and distribute. Thank you for your support.

 

The South Carolina Heart Gallery Foundation supports the work of the South Carolina Heart Gallery, which is a collaborative program administered and supported by the Foster Care Review Board, Office of the Governor and the South Carolina Department of Social Services.