Dearborn Woman Buys New Crib for Baby Entering Foster Care

One Crib, and Two Foster Children’s Lives are Changed…

I have always … truly believe[ed] that if a small gesture of kindness or opportunity is given to someone, it has the potential to multiply into great things. I hope that this crib is just the start of good things to come — for both the children their new foster mother.”

— Kathy McComb

Ed. note: This story happened in March 2014 – right in the midst of our preparations for In Seventh Heaven. We apologize to our wonderful donor and volunteer Kathy McComb for taking so long to acknowledge her generous gift!

In March of this year we received an urgent request from Shana Williams-Gordon of
GEE Edmonson Academy, a K-8 public school academy in Detroit:
A volunteer in her program needed a crib, and she needed it now.

Why? Because she was in the process of becoming a foster mother to her two cousins; a five year old girl and her baby sister. The abuse in these children’s original home was so horrific that the five year old may never walk normally again. 

Kathy McComb of Dearborn purchased a brand new crib for a baby entering foster care. Thank you, Kathy!

Kathy McComb of Dearborn purchased a brand new crib for a baby entering foster care. Thank you, Kathy!

Allowing their cousin to become the foster mother to both sisters would seem like a no-brainer, right?  However, there was a catch: Shana’s volunteer was already a mother of four, and she couldn’t afford to buy a crib – a crib that DHS required her to have in order to foster her baby cousin.

Unless someone donated a crib that week, the baby would be placed with a stranger – and the older girl, who had already suffered so much, would be separated from her sister.

We posted the request on our Facebook page in the hopes that a kind parent out there would be able to donate a nearly-new crib; maybe an extra one they’d received at their baby shower.

Instead, Kathy McComb of Dearborn emailed us the very same day and said she was planning to the store after work that evening to buy a brand new crib, and could we tell her whether the baby in need was a boy or a girl?

We were floored! And we had to ask Kathy why she stepped in to help so generously.

“I saw your post on Facebook,” she says, “and I couldn’t get it out of my head. I’m a single mother and raised my daughter (who is 17 now) by myself.”

“When she was a baby, times were very tough and money was extremely tight, and I never imagined that I would ever be able to make it.  Fortunately, I was given a job opportunity that really turned my life and the life of my child around. I have always been grateful for the chance that I was given, and truly believe that if a small gesture of kindness or opportunity is given to someone, it has the potential to multiply into great things. I hope that this crib is just the start of good things to come — for both the children their new foster mother.”

Sometimes we’re asked whether or not For The Seventh Generation makes any real difference in the lives of foster children, families, and teens. The truth is, though, that we’re just the conduit – in this case, Kathy McComb’s gift kept an abused five year old foster child and her sister together, and allowed them to make a fresh start with a loving family member.

And really, that’s all it takes: one gift or gift of service, one foster child (and sometimes more), and miracles happen. Miracles that will impact the foster child, that child’s eventual children, and onward … through the seventh generation.

Seventh Generation

Hot Nights, Hot Music, Hot Art – 2nd Motor City Songbirds Raises Over $1500 for Metro Detroit Foster Kids

On Friday and Saturday, June 27 and 28, the 2nd annual Motor City Songbirds Festival packed and rocked the house at PJ’s Lager House in Corktown – and raised over $1,500 for Play It Forward, For The Seventh Generation’s music program for foster children and teens.

The Whiskey Charmers at Motor City Songbirds

The Whiskey Charmers at Motor City Songbirds

Sonya Mastick, the chair of Play It Forward, summed up the festival like this: “It was intensely hot both nights, but the music was hotter! The bands were great and the turn out was excellent, though people filtered in and out because of the heat.”

Here’s a sample from this fantastic festival: Oblique Noir with Sylvia Inwood and Kurt Prisbe on June 27

The Festival, which features all-women and women-fronted bands who have won or been nominated for the Detroit Music Awards, was created by Julie Sias of Pleasant Ridge. Last year’s chosen charity was Alternatives For Girls.

“The whole idea behind Motor City Songbirds is to create connection and community for people – and to make money for kids,” Julie told us.

Julie wasn’t “just” the event organizer, either; she also stepped in front of the camera (with FTSG co-founder Kelly Ramsey) at WXYZ to promote the event.

Ellen Keyt ("Keyt") is a long-time FTSG supporter

Ellen Keyt (“Keyt”) is a long-time FTSG supporter

It was her first time being interviewed, and, “… the night before I couldn’t sleep, and I felt a little nauseated, but once we got started I made it through just fine.”

We want to thank Julie for her hard work, dedication – and bravery! — and for her hard work to make it possible for “our” children and teens in foster care to enjoy the gift of making music.

But that’s not all – we’re also grateful to artist and Huntington Woods Gallery Coordinator Lisa Grix for helping organize The Mixed Media Women of Detroit Artists Marketplace, which was part of the festival on Saturday night the 28th.

And of course, we can’t forget the performers!:  

Great Aunt Ida was there for "our" foster kids

Great Aunt Ida was there for “our” foster kids

 

 

 

 

474 Detroit-Area Foster Teens, Children, and Families Served in the 1st Half of 2014!

During our 2014 In Seventh Heaven gala, FTSG Executive Director Lorraine Weber vowed that our organization would double last year’s performance and serve 1,000 Detroit-area foster children, families, and teens in and aging out of the foster care system in 2014.

Elyse H. (shown w/Shirley Roseman) bought brand new cribs and beds for foster children!

Thanks to YOU, we’re practically halfway there!

In first half of this year, YOU provided the goods, services, and financial support for 474 of “our” foster kids and families:

Rennee looks fabulous in her new prom dress!

Renee looks fabulous in her new prom dress!

  • 44 served through our website;
  • 6 received late gifts from our 2013 Holiday Bazaar;
  • 34 visits to our Help Closet;
  • 75 young people received new coats thanks to the Rotary clubs of Grosse Pointe and Detroit’s joint effort, Operation Warm;
  • 143 foster teens received dresses, tux rentals, or other services during this year’s Prom Palooza; and
  • At least 172 foster children and teens received books, games, and movies during the Busy Bee Book Fair!

You have donated clothing, home repairs, cribs, beds, new glasses, music lessons, orthodontic care … the list goes on.

Thomas loves his new glasses -- thanks to Optical World of Detroit!

Thomas loves his new glasses — thanks to Optical World of Detroit!

And rest assured, you HAVE made a significant difference in the life of one foster child (or many foster children) … a difference that will be felt through the seventh generation.

Many Thanks to Many People, Companies for Helping “Our” Foster Kids & Families

Many, many individuals and companies deserve our thanks for being so generous to “our” foster children and families. A very partial list includes Kathy M., Elyse H., the Detroit Optometric Society and Optical World of Detroit, Sara Richards, Shawn Franklin, St. James Church of Grosse Pointe Farms, the Detroit and Grosse Pointe Rotary Clubs, the Detroit Rotary Foundation, and, of course, all of the generous sponsors of our April In Seventh Heaven event.

Our Busy Bee Book Fair offered books, games, and movies

Our Busy Bee Book Fair offered books, games, and movies

Looking Ahead — Serving “Our” Foster Children & Families for the Rest of 2014

During the next half of this year, we’ll provide you with chances to serve our area’s foster children, teens, and families with a Christmas in July preparation for – you guessed it – our annual December Holiday Bazaar for Foster Children; the annual school clothing and uniform drive; and the Holiday Bazaar itself, along with passing along the special requests we receive through our Facebook page and new e-newsletter.

But you don’t have to wait to be asked! Making a huge difference in the life of a metro Detroit area foster child, family, or teen is just a click away: register the good or service you want to donate here.

And/or if you want to support our overall efforts – getting out the word so people know what “our” kids need, matching donors to recipients, staffing the Help Closet – make a financial contribution today.

Anatomy of a Miracle: Detroit Optometrists Come Forward to Provide Special Glasses to a Young Man in Foster Care

Thomas Robertson in his glasses

Thomas Robertston loves his new glasses!

Near the end of May, FTSG’s Shirley Roseman received an urgent email about a young man in foster care who needed a new pair of glasses.

The problem? Thomas Robertson has a light-sensitivity problem, and Medicaid doesn’t reimburse for the transition lenses he needs. Not only that, but Thomas will be “aging out” of the foster care system in July, so we needed to find glasses for him quickly!

Fortunately, the metro Detroit community loves “our” kids in foster care – just put out the word, and the help comes poring in.

In this instance, we reached out to the Detroit Optometric Society – whose President, Michael J. Pack, DOS, immediately sent out an email to his members.

Thomas’ foster care worker, Anita Mikos, told us the response was overwhelming – within an hour, several optometrists had offered to come to Thomas’ rescue! According to Anita, “It would have taken me months of bureaucratic tightroping to get this foster youth his glasses if it wasn’t for your organization.”

Eventually, Anita made Thomas an appointment with Optical World in Detroit, which is partially owned by Dr. Lorne Gottessman. In an interview with FGSG after Thomas picked up his new glasses, Dr. Gottesman told us that his office is, “…always happy to help when we can, and we look forward to working with more of our community’s foster children and young adults.”

But most importantly, what does Thomas think?

“The new glasses are great!!” Thomas also asked us to thank everyone who worked to make it possible for him to have them.

And that’s what we’re doing right now: First — thank you, Anita, for reaching out to us and working so closely with us to help Thomas. Next, we’re overwhelmed by the generous help of the Detroit Optometric Society and Dr. Michael Pack, who took time away from his own practice to send out the alert.

And last but (far from) least, our gratitude goes out to Optical World of Detroit and Dr. Lorne Gottessman for being willing to help a foster youth in need on such short notice.

You Can Make a Huge, Positive Impact on the Life of a Foster Child!

Our area’s foster children, families, and teens both in and aging out of the foster care system have ongoing needs that aren’t being filled by our state’s Department of Human Services. Those needs include orthodontic care, clothing, books, furniture, housewares … the list is large, and the need is great.

What is also true, though, is that metro Detroiters always step up when we know that our kids in foster care need something. With that in mind, if you can volunteer a (new or nearly-new) good or a service ranging from music lessons to a haircut, please contact Help Closet Coordinator Shirley Roseman (helpcloset@detroitlawyer.org), register your gift on our website, or make a financial contribution. Whatever you do and whatever you give, you will make an impact that will last through the seventh generation.

‘I love this book!” Foster Children’s Book Fair a Huge Success

With the help of our very generous donors, For The Seventh Generation’s first Busy Bee Book Fair for Detroit-area foster children and teens served over 170 young people as part of the Wayne County Department of Human Service’s Summer Safety ExtravaParents and children line upganza on June 18.

FTSG’s Help Closet Coordinator Shirley Roseman had this to say about the afternoon:

The excitement they expressed when they found out the books were free and they could take what they wanted was worth a thousand words.

Many other children will benefit from the remaining books because we left them with DHS to distribute to those who couldn’t make it today.

Many thanks to everyone who donated a book, game, or movie, tRelax and Read Signo our wonderful volunteers, and to Wayne County DHS for making room for us at your event!

Donated books

Weekly Wish List — Books & Beds (and cribs!) For Foster Kids Edition:

This week (and through June 13) we’re collecting books — particularly books for teens — teensreadingby circulationfor our Busy Bee Book Fair For Foster Kids, which will take place on June 18 as part of Wayne County DHS’s “Summer Safety Extravaganza.”

In addition, we’re facing a critical, ongoing shortage of beds and cribs. These items are vitally important and can make the difference between a foster child being placed with a family member or with a total stranger.

(New/nearly-new books, beds & cribs only, please.)

Sleeping SilviaVinas

If you can help please contact Help Closet Coordinator Shirley Roseman at helpcloset@detroitlawyer.org — and please tell your friends!

 

Kickball for Foster Teens!

Kickball Tourney Nets Significant Clothing Donation to Detroit – Area Foster Teens

How would YOU celebrate cleaning up and reclaiming a Detroit park?

Racquel Shannon, Danni Hartsfeld, and Sara Richards "kickballed" for foster teens on May 18

Racquel Shannon, Danni Hartsfeld, and Sara Richards “kickballed” for foster teens on May 18

If you’re Sara Richards of FindYours and her partner, Expansum’s founder Shawn Franklin, you hold a kickball tournament to raise some money, then buy new clothing for teens in foster care.

And on May 18, that’s just what they did. The result? Two large bags of brand new clothes and a box of new T-Shirts for For The Seventh Generation’s Spring/Summer Foster Teen Clothing Drive.

“We held the tournament at Wigle Playfield on Third and Seldan. The park is an abandoned rec center which our group mowed and cleaned up the week before,” Sara told FTSG. “My clothing company, FindYours, and my partner’s community group Expansum try to regularly clean up and organize events to get people involved and to focus on areas that are typically overlooked in the community.”

Sara and Shawn certainly know how to organize a great time — Sara reported that roughly fofty-five people attended, and “…everyone who played paid and which covered an event T-Shirt (which Sara created herself), pizza, drinks, and a donation to the foster teen clothing drive. “Some people also brought donations of children’s books,” Sara added — contributions that will certainly come in handy during our Busy Bee Book Fair on June 18th! (Check our Facebook page for updates on this event, which is part of Wayne County DHS’s Summer Safety Extravaganza.

One of the Kickball teams who came out to support Foster Teens on May 18

One of the Kickball teams who came out to support Foster Teens on May 18

Sara says that she learned about FTSG’s Foster Teen Clothing Drive on Hour Detroit Magazine’s online calendar while on the lookout for a charity to benefit from the kickball tournament.

“I am SO glad we could help out your teens in foster care with some extra clothes!,” she said.

Thank you to Sara, Shawn, and all of the “kickballers” who came out to support Detroit-area foster teens on May 18 — and for your commitment to the city ofDetroit!

Even more generous kickballers!

Even more generous kickballers!

Grosse Pointe Farms Church Comes Through for Foster Teens

Large Donation of Designer Clothing and Accessories Supports Our Spring/Summer Foster Teen Clothing Drive

When Mary Snell read about our Spring/Summer Foster Teen Clothing Drive in Metro Parent Magazine, she and her congregation began collecting spring and summer clothing for Detroit-area foster teens.

Shirley Roseman and Mary Snell

Shirley Roseman and Mary Snell at the Help Closet May 20, 2014

On Tuesday, May 20, Mary — who serves as the Minister of Family Life at St. James — delivered several bags of donated items to our Help Closet, just in time for a few foster parents to come in and “shop” for their teens.

Mary and her congregation made sure that “our” teens in foster care will be able to enjoy the spring and summer in style with gently-used clothing and accessories from designers including Nike, Forever 21, Ralph Lauren, Steve Madden, and Coach.                    5.22.14 St. James Donation included new and designer labels

“Michigan’s Department of Human Services can only provide foster parents with a very small yearly budget for clothing and shoes for teens — hardly enough for them to be able to purchase the kind of nice clothes that help foster teens fit in with their peers,” explained Help Closet Coordinator Shirley Roseman. “By stepping up and providing such high-quality clothes — and remembering those all-important accessories and shoes — St. James has made a huge difference for the teens in foster care (and those aging out of the system) that we serve.”

Foster parents Zina and Elizabeth admire the St. James donation

Foster parents Zina and Elizabeth admire the St. James donation

Thank you, St. James, and all of the other donors who are making it possible for metro Detroit’s foster teens to step out in style this spring and summer!

Our Spring/Summer Foster Teen Clothing Drive has been extended through June

If you have new/gently-used clothing, shoes and accessories that are age and size-appropriate for teens, don’t put them out in your garage sale — instead, donate them and make a foster teen’s day! To arrange your donation please contact Shirley Roseman at helpcloset@detroitlawyer.org or register with our website.

Don’t have teens but still want to help?

For The Seventh Generation relies on monetary donations for everything from our operating expenses to making the occasional emergency purchase for metro Detroit-area foster children, families, and teens in and aging out of the foster care system. Click here to make a gift of $25, $50, or $100 (or any amount that works for you). Your gift will make a difference today, and through the seventh generation. Thank you!

In Seventh Heaven Raises Over $20,000 for Metro Detroit Foster Kids

The Roostertail Shone for In Seventh Heaven!

The numbers, the pictures, and the videos are now in, and we’re thrilled to report that thanks to our sponsors, attendees, and volunteers — not to mention the marvelous Ann Delisi and the Blue Water Kings Band — this year’s In Seventh Heaven raised more than $20,000!

These funds will be used to reach out to more donors and provide more of the things that our area’s foster children, foster families, and teens aging out of the foster care system need to thrive, including orthodontic care, home repairs, Prom dresses, and furniture …

If you missed the event, here’s an overview video provided to us courtesy of Hashtag Media Productions.

Of course, the highlight of the evening was the address by Porsha Stevenson, one of the first foster children to receive help through For The Seventh Generation and one of our co-founders, Kelly Ramsey. (You can see other highlight videos on our new YouTube page.)

Dr. Joseph Harris of the Delta Dental Foundation and Guests

Dr. Joseph Harris of the Delta Dental Foundation and Guests

Stay tuned to this blog and our Facebook page for news on upcoming events and other opportunities to help “our” foster children thrive!

The Blue Water Kings Band Rocked the House!

The Blue Water Kings Band Rocked the House!

 

 

Thanks to you, we served 500 metro Detroit-are foster children, teens, and families in 2013!

Friends,

When Kelly Ramsey and I proposed For The Seventh Generation to the Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association Foundation in 2005, we dreamed big dreams for this organization.

For The Seventh Generation Executive Director Lorraine Weber

For The Seventh Generation Executive Director Lorraine Weber

In 2013, those dreams started coming true in a big way:

Thanks to you, over 500 metro Detroit-area foster children, foster families, and teens aging out of the foster care system received life-changing goods and services last year!

Here are some details:

  • Seventy-seven foster children, teens, and families picked up essential items like clothing and furniture at our Help Closet.
  • Seventy-five youngsters picked out presents, had presents picked out for them, and enjoyed snacks, games and holiday-themed festivities at our 2013 Holiday Bazaar.
  • With the help of the Rotary Clubs of Detroit and Grosse Point, 150 children and teens in foster care received brand new winter coats through Operation Warm.
  • More than fifty foster children who are permanent wards of the court received preliminary orthodontic care at the University of Detroit Mercy’s School of Dentistry.
  • Four children were served by the Play It Forward music program, which is funded to provide instruments and lessons to a total of twelve foster youth.
  • The remainder of the foster children, teens, and families received a range of items and services including orthodontic care, Prom dresses and related services, and home-improvement services like roof repairs.

What made all of this possible? You did – by donating goods, donating your time and services, contributing financially, or even by “just” spreading the word on Facebook to let your friends know about the needs of our area’s foster children.

There are too many of you to thank in a short blog post, but we do want to single out Charity Motors, The Park West Foundation, and GEM Asset Management for being very generous and ongoing sponsors of our yearly In Seventh Heaven event.

We also want to thank Metro Detroit Etsy, AMP FM Radio 98.7, and our local and national Ronald McDonald House Charities for providing hand-made craft items, more than 150 Prom dresses and grants of over $9,000 to purchase new beds and cribs for more than fifty babies and children in foster care.

While 2013 was a banner year for us, it is also just the beginning. We have ambitious goals for 2014, starting with this year’s In Seventh Heaven on April 12. Follow us on Facebook for details as they happen, and please consider buying tickets, becoming a sponsor, or making a financial contribution to support us in serving even more foster children, families, and young people aging out of the foster care system.

Every foster child and teen you help makes a difference, and not “just” in the life of that child; the effects are felt by that child’s eventual children and grandchildren … down through the seventh generation. On behalf of the DMBAF and all of us here at FTSG, thank you from the depths of our hearts for making things brighter for today’s foster children and for your impact on our community’s future.

Yours In Service,
Lorraine

P.S.: If you’d like to join Hour Detroit and Meijer as sponsors of this year’s In Seventh Heaven, please contact me right away at (313) 961-6120 ext. 206 or by email at lweber@detroitlawyer.org