In America 80% of individuals who endured foster care end up incarcerated, on drugs, both, or dead. 20% go on to be what society deems “successful.” I am part of that 20%, but I want to reach out to the other 80% and say, “you can make it too!”
Today as I sat in a massage chair getting a pedicure before heading out to a Gala fundraiser with my husband for a charity that sponsors healthcare for Africa, I read a magazine my husband picked up for me. The magazine was about running. As a athlete at a young age I ran very well. I had aspirations to become an Olympic Athlete. However, after getting an opportunity to model in New York I put my running career on hold to pursue a different dream. The passion of running never left me and last year as my husband and I watched the Olympics on TV he suggested, “Honey you should go to the Olympics.” I shoot a glance his way as I am folding laundry and he washing dishes and burst out laughing though in the back of my mind it was not that funny. I knew I had the talent to go far in my athletic endeavors. That combined with my work ethics became clear to me at a young age by my coach that the Olympics would be in my future if I chose to apply myself. Now I am 26 years old and I am rekindling my passion for running. Not just casual around the block running but I have the desire to compete again. So this week my husband picked up a magazine for me titled, “Competitor” and inside was an article that spoke to my core as the water bubbled around my feet and the vibrations of the massage chair soothed my mind and I became inspired. Bruce Cleland started a race that assists people diagnosed with Leukemia. In 1986 his daughter was diagnosed with Leukemia at the young age of 2 years old. A heart broken Bruce became inspired to birth Team in Training that raised $320,000 for the Leukemia Society of America by reaching out to local buisinesses and put together a group who ran in the NYC Marathon. Today Bruce’s daughter Georgia, is 28 years old and the survival rate for someone with Leukemia has risen to 95% from a 55%. This story inspired me as I have a heart that wants to give back especially to children.
In foster care there is a 20% successful rate for children. Only 20% of children who have endured foster care in their lifetime go on to be a doctor, a lawyer, or a celebrity. 80% fall into drugs, incarceration, and death. I graduated from a University in Texas with my entire education paid for in full. Not because I was awarded a scholarship, though I was offered scholarships due to my athletic and scholastic achievements, but because I was a ward of the state. There are only a few states that allow children who have gone through foster care the opportunity to pursue a collegiate education. Less than 20% of states in the United States of America fund children who have endured foster care with the finances necessary to go on and be successful. Less than 10% of the 20% allow individuals a lifetime opportunity to obtain a degree. There are many things I do not like about Texas; it’s big, boring, and aesthetically unappealing HOWEVER, I am thankful to the state of Texas for my education. In Texas due to being a ward of the state I can go to school and obtain a Bachelors, a Masters, and a Doctorate for FREE. Wouldn’t that be great if children in every state had that luxury. So much has been taken from them already, they are already flying with broken wings. Why not give them an opportunity to make a difference?
After the article I started thinking. Is there a race out there where the proceeds fund the entire education of children who have gone through foster care? I did some research and did not find a race that does so. This gave me the desire to start a 5k race where the proceeds fund the entire education of a child who has gone through the system. Children should be given a fair chance at life and I feel it is my duty to assist them in what life robbed them of. After all, someone did the same for me.
Thank you, “Competitor” and Bruce Cleland for inspiring me.
© [bretagnebko] and [https://letmeseethelight.wordpress.com], . Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to [bretagnebko] and [https://letmeseethelight.wordpress.com] with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.