|Meeting Report for July 24, 2012
|Editor: Sobczak, Carol
||VOICES - Life after (and during) Foster Care
Our speaker today was Matt Bailey, the Program Director of VOICES. VOICES stands for Voice Our Independent Choices for Emancipation Support, and is a non-profit organization originally founded by children in the foster care system. Every year, 30,000 foster children become 18 and are "emancipated," which means they leave the foster care system and are basically left on their own.
Our speaker, who is a former professional wrestler, was a foster child himself, and says that, unlike kids who commit crimes, foster kids do nothing to get into the system. The sad fact is that 70% of inmates in California jails were in foster care. There is 75% more homelessness with people who were foster children, and they suffer more cases of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) than veterans.
VOICES has four main components: (i) case management for children in foster care; (ii) health and welfare services, such as social events and a dinner prepared by the kids called "epic meal time;" (iii) employment training and programs; and (iv) a college and career center where kids can get help getting into college, financial aid, and other help.
VOICES has a laundry room and serves food to any kid who comes through the door. It serves kids in the system and those trying to make it on their own after age 18.
A quote from Matt Bailey that this reporter will remember was. "Nothing stops a bullet like a job." Some of his stories of kids who made it were quite profound and thought-provoking.
Matt Bailey invited all of us to visit VOICES, which is located in Napa near the WalMart, or visit their web site at www.voicesyouthcenter.org.
Rod Ellison, guest of Phil Toohey and Ted Bystrowski
Kris Coryell and Pam Simpson - guests of Norm Mitroff
Adrian Lopez, from the Boys and Girls Club, along with Samantha and Christian, were guests of Frank Sottile.
A special "welcome back" to Rebecca Uribe, who looks marvelously well after her terrible motorcycle accident.
Cap Lyons from Oakland Rotary
President Margo announced that we will be dark on Tuesday August 14 for the annual Teachers BBQ at Crane Park.
For those of you who missed the Club Assembly last week, please sign up to help on one of our many committees. We need everyone to be a part of this club in some meaningful way, whether it be helping with Events, Public Relations, the web site, reporting for the NairatoR, fund raising, helping reach out to our youth - whatever you can do will help!
Frank Sottile's guests presented DeWitt Garlock with a check for $300 that the Boys and Girls Club raised for Relay for Life. DeWitt was visibly moved, and Samantha told him that next year's goal was $3,000! Way to go kids!
DeWitt then added that our Club surpassed its goal of $2,200 for Relay for Life.
Peter Scott then announced that we are partnering with the city of St Helena and the Chamber of Commerce to decorate the city for Christmas this year with something completely different.
Joice Beatty, our new Sergeant-at-Arms, reminded us to bring in our raffle prizes. And what a good idea it would be to shop at local merchants and tell them why we are buying our prizes from them. That way, they will remember that we patronized their shops when we ask for donations for our fundraising activities.
President Margo thanked Polly Keegan for sitting in as Club Secretary, and April Duge for sitting in as Club Treasurer. Way to go team USA, I mean Team Rotary!
Norm Mitroff and DeWitt Garlock rang the bell this week.
Finemaster Steve Yost made a heck of a lot of money for the club by asking some tricky sports questions. He stumped everyone but Kathleen Patterson and Chuck Meibeyer.