In the United States, there are currently more than 400,000 children living in foster care. Children's Bureau provides support and comfort to Indiana's children in foster care, foster families and young adults transitioning from foster care to independence. Today, Children's Bureau received a helping hand from mattress retailer Mattress Firm and the Ticket to Dream Foundation with a $75,000 donation.
Funds for the donation were raised during a Mattress Firm fundraiser benefiting the Ticket to Dream foundation, an organization that supports foster children nationwide. The event raised $1.2 million to fund therapeutic programs and emergency placement services that provide foster kids with mental health support and comfort during a difficult time.
"This support will be critical in assisting Children's Bureau as we work with our community partners to address the child welfare crisis in Indiana," said Tina Cloer, president and CEO of the agency. Funds will be used to provide needed items for kids awaiting foster care placement, young adults who have aged out of foster care, and to recruit new foster families.
"When a foster child enters foster care, it can be scary. They often leave home with just the clothes on their backs or a few items in a trash bag," said Mauri Knowles, Community Relations Director at Mattress Firm. "We can help make this transition so much easier, while also letting kids know that their community cares."
For more information about Children's Bureau and its efforts, please visit www.childrensbureau.org.
About Children's Bureau, Inc.
Children's Bureau services focus on the prevention of child abuse and neglect, preservation of families and placement for children who lack safe and healthy homes. Last year the agency served nearly 43,644 children in more than 40 Indiana counties.
About Mattress Firm Holding Corp.
With more than 3,600 company-operated and franchised stores across 49 states, Mattress Firm Holding Corp. (NASDAQ: MFRM) has the largest geographic footprint in the United States among multi-brand mattress retailers. Founded in 1986, Houston-based MFRM is the nation's leading specialty bedding retailer with over $3.5 billion in pro forma sales in 2015. MFRM, through its brands including Mattress Firm, Sleepy's and Sleep Train, offers a broad selection of both traditional and specialty mattresses, bedding accessories and other related products. More information is available at www.mattressfirm.com.
About Ticket to Dream Foundation
The Ticket to Dream Foundation is a non-profit dedicated to provide hope and opportunity to foster children across the nation, so they can just be kids. Joining forces with local companies, communities and non-profits they work to ensure foster children have essentials like school supplies, properly fitting clothing and shoes and holiday gifts. They fund vital support services and enriching life experiences that allow foster children to heal and grow into their full potential. To learn more visit www.tickettodream.org.
The stars came out for Children's Bureau's 19th annual Celebrity Cook-Off on Tuesday, October 4. The event raised $89,000 for children and families we serve.
Fifty celebrities fired up the hibachi grills to entertain guests at a NEW venue -- Sapporo Japanese Steakhouse in Castleton. Before dinner, guests arrived to mingle in the pagoda featuring DJ Indiana Jones, two bars, an interactive photo booth, games of chance and select silent auction items. Some guests chose to relax and enjoy the ideal weather in the Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance Outdoor Lounge.
The sixth annual Children's Bureau Cornhole Tournament, organized by CB's Young Professionals Advisory Board, was the group's best fundraiser to date, generating $10,000.
A record 48 teams signed up to play in this year's bracket, which was run by Indy Custom Cornhole.
See more photos from the event in our Facebook album!
Team Standings were as follows:
1. Thunderbolt & Lightfoot
2. Those Guys
3. Drunk Hole
4. Buzz Kill
5. Bob Knight's Chair
5. DEEM #2
7. A & W
7. DEEM #1
9. Delta Faucet
9. Synergy 360
9. Thelma & Louise
13. Baggins of the Shire
13. Kernel Poppers
13. Lumina 2
13. Neal Hennessey
17. BMO Harris #1
17. Corn Thugs and Hominy
17. Creek Loggers
17. Fluffy Bunny
17. On The Board
17. The Jackson Group
25. American Health & Wellness Group
25. Cute & Cornfused
25. Shelton Machinery
25. TWO UTES
25. WestPoint Financial
33. BMO Harris #2
33. Community Management Services
33. Corn E. Bros
33. Lumina 1
33. Office Installation Services
Children's Bureau's Director of Adoption Recruitment and Retention Anna Wolak was featured in an RTV6 story about the Indiana Heart Gallery and its work to create awareness for special needs adoptions in the state.
These excerpts come courtesy of the Umps Care Charities newsletter that features our own CB employee, Cadence "Zoe" Cottom.
Do you have any advice for others who can relate to your journey?
Being in foster care and being adopted makes you different than other kids. But I never saw this as a bad thing. I matured at a very young age and learned how to be independent. My advice is to realize how amazing you are for making it through all of the things you've had to deal with. It isn't easy, and it isn't even our fault, but we're the ones that have to deal with it. So give yourself a break. Focus on getting through the struggle one day at a time. Because once you reach the other side, you're a better person because of what you've been through. This journey taught me empathy and compassion and that the best things in life aren't things, but the people you love most.
Your last semester has been spent working a full-time and in school full-time. What exactly are you doing and who are you working for?
This semester has been very hard for me! I've juggled a 40 hour work week while taking 13 credit hours (5 classes). It started last semester when I interned at Children's Bureau, Inc. in Indianapolis for a class requirement. As my internship was ending in December, a position opened up. I was so excited to apply that I didn't even stop to think about how I'd manage school and work. I am now the recruitment coordinator for Indiana Adoption Program (contracted out of Children's Bureau, Inc.). My job has many facets but I'll name just a few. First, I work with Adoption Champions all over the state to set up educational events in their communities to recruit prospective parents to adopt waiting children in foster care. I also manage our social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram). And my favorite part of my job is organizing Adoption Meet & Greet Events. These events are designed to be fun and interactive for prospective families and children in the hopes of facilitating a match. For example, we have done bowling, basketball, and LEGO-themed events, to name a few. It's a really great aspect of our program because it allows prospective parents to meet 25-35 children in foster care at one time. It allows the prospective parents to go beyond just a photo and biography and actually meet the child. Getting to see a child and prospective parent connect is the most rewarding aspect of the job!
How did you decide to come full-circle and help other children in the foster care system?
Throughout middle school and high school I carried a lot of hostility and animosity. I couldn't understand why I had to endure all of the pain that I did. I set my mind to becoming nothing like my biological parents. So I started off my college career as a pharmacy student. I wanted to make a lot of money and be successful on my own. During my sophomore year I started to change mindsets and realized that I didn't want to have a job based on money. I wanted to do something to change lives. I initially thought about law school, but instead chose sociology because that was the closest thing Butler offered to social work. Giving back to the system has been a goal since I changed my major. I know that many people have negative feelings about "the system" and DCS, but it saved my life. And while I can never repay that, I can help teens and youth who are in the same place I was just ten years ago! Many people have the misconception that they can't change the lives of teens in foster care, but that couldn't be further from the truth. These teens not only want families, but can thrive with families. I wouldn't be who I am today if my mom hadn't taken a chance and adopted me at the age of 13.