Gallery of Strength: Zhorne Family

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“You gotta learn as you go” Matt and Amanda were not prepared to take in Jeremiah ten years ago. They had gone through the classes and had been contemplating opening their home, but never felt that the time was right. One night changed their lives forever. It was that fateful evening when DHS had called […]

Gallery of Strength: Warth Family

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“Give Them A Chance” “I think that people are afraid to work with teens, but we need to give them a chance.” Holly said. Holly has a soft spot in her heart for the older foster youth. She knows firsthand from years of being a social worker, and understands the struggles of finding good foster […]

Gallery of Strength: Lentz Family

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“Investing in All People!” “Being a foster parent has made me a better parent and has made me more compassionate toward all people.” When Sarah had a family member who needed help, her heart told her to get involved. She began with taking care of the family member’s children. Then became a licensed foster parent, […]

Gallery of Strength: Herring Family

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“They are completely innocent and need stability and love.” Amber’s story begins a little differently. “I grew up with my grandparents always fostering. They have done it for over 50 years and had well over 500 kids placed in their home.  They still do it to this day. I witnessed the emotional toll it has […]

Gallery of Strength: Heidgen Family

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“Using My Experiences!” “What works for 80-90 percent of your students might not work for children who have experienced trauma or were exposed to drug use in utero,” says Julie. Julie’s experiences as a teacher and foster mom have given her the strength to support and advocate for foster parents, children, and fellow teachers. Now […]

Gallery of Strength: Gansen Family

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“Our job is to love kids, make them feel safe, and give them a good home!!” Five years ago, Therese and her husband Joel had their whole world changed.  They were “blown away at the amount of children in the foster care system for our small demographic.” Therese said. After a friend had planted the seed […]

Gallery of Strength: Chase Family

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“Love. They’ll Never Forget It” “If you have an opportunity, do it. It’s well worth saving them from what they could possibly face. It’s worth falling in love with the child and having them feel safe and secure and experience the feelings that love, even if it’s a short time, they’ll never forget it.” says […]

Meet Fostering Strength Keynote Speaker, Charell Star

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Charell Star, storyteller, on-air correspondent, and advocate for foster youth. Charell’s story did not start off as picture perfect but whose story does? With a mother in and out of rehab and a father in and out of jail, Charell found herself living with her great-grandmother and eventually in foster care with her younger sister. […]

Helping Habitat for Humanity

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Junior League of Cedar Rapids members Amber Blomme, Amy Fell, Mandy Ferrante, and Jessica Mizaur volunteered with the Cedar Valley Habitat for Humanity on October 4th at one of their A Brush With Kindness days to help revamp some local neighborhoods in need of some love through landscaping!

What Happens When Growing Up Means ‘Aging Out’?

By AJLI Editorial Staff May 13, 2016  Each year, some 25,000 children “age out” of the foster care system in the U.S. A process known officially as “emancipation,” aging out more often means the loss of stability for young people unprepared for living as adults. In a no-punches-pulled report entitled “The Human, Social, and Economic […]