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Monday, February 26, 2024

A Momentous Proclamation

On April 29, 2022, President Joe Biden released a proclamation renewing the country’s commitment to National Foster Care Month, which takes place each May. Three days later, Mayor Lloyd Winnecke made a historic announcement proclaiming May as Foster Care Month for the City of Evansville for the first time.

The proclamation, made Downtown in front of the Evansville Civic Center Complex, was given to a small crowd of media and foster care organizations, including Amy Hanson, Welborn Baptist Foundation’s program officer of Christ-centered living; Candice Perry, the foundation’s nonprofit excellence officer; Borrowed Hearts founder Sarah Gough and executive director Billye Beckham. Among the group was also Foster Care in the U.S. founder and executive director Jessica Angelique, who served as the main driver for the designation and had a hand in writing the mayor’s proclamation speech.

“It’s very important, and it was great to have the mayor proclaim that and put it out there and know that his administration supports children in foster care,” Angelique says.

According to Angelique, there are more than 1,200 children currently in foster care in Evansville who will be affected positively by the awareness the proclamation can generate, especially for events and donations.

Foster Care in the U.S. is hosting a public party on May 21 at Wesselman Woods for its youth graduating high school that will double as a fundraiser. On May 22, the Isaiah 1:17 Project is hosting the 18th annual Walking for Dreams fundraiser and family/pet walk. The Church of Greater Evansville is also hosting an event, Church Leaders for Kids in Foster Care, on May 23 in the Welborn Baptist Foundation Community Room on the top floor of the Fifth Third Building.

These organizations aren’t working independently: Evansville’s Foster Care Collaborative brings together five groups — Isaiah 1:17 Project, Isaiah 1:17 House, Indiana Kids Belong, Borrowed Hearts, and Foster Care in the U.S. — to pool resources and support to better serve the children they care for.

To participate in Foster Care Month in Evansville, consider donating to any of the local foster care organizations. While monetary donations can be made on most nonprofit websites, Angelique says time is just as valuable as a donation.

“Volunteer your time,” she says, suggesting the Dream Center, the Boys and Girls Club, after-school programs, or even helping Foster Care in the U.S. complete renovations and meet its $40,000 fundraiser goal for its housing project at 23 E. Columbia St.

The first of its kind in the city, the Exits to Success house is permanent supportive housing for homeless youth 18 years or older, including pregnant or parenting youth. Referrals for the program can be made through Aurora, Inc., Indiana Department of Child Services case managers, CASA, Evansville Police Department, George Junior Republic, United Methodist Youth Home, and Young & Established. Qualifying youth can also refer themselves.


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Jodi Keen
Jodi Keen
Jodi Keen is the managing editor of Evansville Living and Evansville Business magazines.

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