Gifts come in all shapes and sizes—from extravagant, to handmade, or sentimental and even humorous. While every gift given for the pure joy of its recipient is meaningful, “life changing” gifts are in a category all to themselves. These are the gifts that when given, change the mindset, the circumstances and even the futures of those being gifted. Every holiday season, Mike McCarthy partners with us to give such a gift to one of our families working towards successful self-sufficiency. And witnessing each family’s joy at receiving Mike’s gift leaves not one dry eye at FCNI, and reminds each of us that we live in a truly remarkable community.
Tag: Community Based Organization
For a long time, our society has clung to the idea that we are somehow hardwired to be selfish. And while there’s no denying this fact, there is now compelling evidence to prove that the pull that we all feel from time to time to do something generous is a foundational part of our humanity. As it turns out, there is a science behind the power of giving--we are also wired to do good!
As a tiny introduction to get acquainted, we are Chanda Brown and Samantha Nason of Zest it Up, a locally run event design and catering company. We had the honor of working with all the amazing volunteers at FCNI’s Benefit for Kids this past July. We were left so impressed by the caliber of work being done by Family Care Network and by all the wonderful vendors and attendees who so wholeheartedly came out to support their mission, that we can say we were officially “bit by the bug!” Community is contagious and the strength that comes from it is boundless. This strength is the kind that lifts up those who struggle and knits them more intricately into the fabric of our community. Those without a voice, are given a voice. We found ourselves wanting to dive deeper and call more people out to connect and support FCNI.
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams
What does it mean to be a positive supervisor and why do I enjoy it?
This Sunday, FCNI will host our Benefit for Kids, an annual showcasing of the best food and beverages on the Central Coast combined with a silent and live auction. Proceeds earned through the event support the over 1800 children, youth and families we serve annually. This event has become one of our favorites, mostly because we get to partner with so many amazing community members. Outstanding restaurants, wineries, breweries, and an amazing group of donors and esteem guests, all come together to collectively support those we serve in their efforts to overcome trauma and live healthier, more successful lives. It’s a sight to see so many talented and compassionate people spend an afternoon not only celebrating the many benefits of living on the Central Coast, but also working to support a shared purpose of ensuring that everyone in our community has the resources and opportunities necessary to thrive!
Below is a success story written about Carmen*, a foster youth who was placed in our Intensive Therapeutic Foster Care program when she was 15. Her struggles to overcome various obstacles and traumas, exemplify how critical our community’s support is; we serve 1800+ other “Carmens,” and without community-connection, investment and resources, we couldn’t help them reach their goals and flourish.
Every year at our Benefit for Kids event, we get the opportunity to connect and work with many local restaurants, wineries and breweries in order to create a wonderful tasting experience for our 250+ guests. Over the 12 years that we’ve hosted B4K, we’ve established some wonderful relationships with the people behind these businesses, and look forward to showcasing their amazing goods each year. As the planning for this year’s Benefit for Kids comes to a crescendo, we want to spotlight one of these important relationships. Shanny Covey, along with her partner with Robin Covey, operates three local favorites: Robin’s Restaurant in Cambria and Novo and Luna Red in San Luis Obispo. At least one of Shanny and Robin’s restaurants has participated in B4K almost every year since the beginning of the event in 2004. This year, Novo will be participating and we’re looking forward trying what is sure to be an amazing dish that will no doubt delight all of our guests.
Relationships are interesting. They are kind of like cells in our body. You know how cells are always bumping into each other, some attach to make new things, some just float around independently, and some join together to fight off bad stuff. We are always bumping into people through the routines of our everyday lives. Through this process we make new friends or acquaintances, maybe even enemies; but from time to time, a relationship will just click and a real connection and unusual bond is forged. Well, I feel very fortunate to have “bumped” into Jac Jacobs, his wife, Trish, and their son, Mathew. Ours has definitely been a relationship that clicked; and for 14 years later we’re still fast friends.
Over the course of the past month, I have given extra thought to the concepts and reality of “foster care”, primarily because May is National Foster Care month. As I thought about “what” foster care really is and includes, I quickly became overwhelmed. Broken down into small parts such as foster children, foster parents, Foster Family Agency, social worker, therapist, Community Care Licensing, etc. and “foster care” can be understood and managed in my small mind. However, “foster care” in its entirety is a complex and complicated system. As I struggled with the question of “What is foster care, really?” my simple mind would soon turn to thoughts of Disneyland. Now, those of you who have been or are currently in foster care or may have a daily connection to “foster care”, are probably thinking: “This guy has lost all connection to reality,” because foster care and Disneyland may seem like complete opposites.
We work and serve in a very challenging field, and we can’t avoid acknowledging and responding to the vast injustices our foster children have experienced. However, it is far too easy to forget that these children are just children. They tell me, at the end of the day, they want and think about the same things the other kids in the neighborhood think about, the same things their peers worry about, the same things “normal” kids dream for. And while it is true that our foster kids do indeed have additional complicating factors and concerns–supervised visitation with a biological parent, separation from siblings, life away from the home they knew–they often want to be thought of for other things; things that might seem irrelevant and inconsequential to those working with these kids who know the gravity of their whole situation. To illustrate, these kids follow pop culture, they care about what’s “cool,” they have favorite foods, they laugh and joke with friends…and they also happen to be in foster care. The point, though, is they happen to also be in foster care; they aren’t just about foster care.