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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

2014 Central Ohio Thanksgiving Together

The 2014 Central Ohio Thanksgiving Together took place at the eStem Academy of Reynoldsburg High School's Summit Campus on Sunday, November 23, 2014, from 1:00 - 4:00 pm.

Link to more photos.

Sponsors included:
  • ACTION Ohio
  • Starfish Alliance and LINK22 
  • Reynoldsburg City Schools 
  • National Council of Jewish Women, Columbus Section 
  • Ohio Attorney General's Office 
  • Dave Thomas Foundation 
  • Half Price Books 
Additional Support and Sponsorship details: 
  • Starfish Alliance and LINK22 was a huge help in the planning and orchestration of this event
  • Columbus Gives Back assisted in organizing Suits for Success and Pay It Forward baby supplies 
  • FCAA Ohio sponsored the cost of the turkey and dressing 
  • NCWJ Columbus made all the side dishes 
  • Desserts were provided, thanks to Melinda Sykes Haggarty, Amy Eaton and Sean Reilly 
  • Kelly St. John provided children's craft supplies 
Planning Committee Members included: 
  • Lisa Dickson and Kelly St. John, ACTION Ohio 
  • Ann Bischoff, Starfish Alliance and LINK22 
  • Melinda Sykes Haggarty, Ohio Attorney General's Office 
  • Regina Douglas, Franklin County Children Services 
  • Randi Lewis ,National Council of Jewish Women, Columbus Section 
  • Jen Foster, Village Network ~ Columbus 
  • Amy Eaton, ODJFS 
  • Reynoldsburg City Schools High School Leo Club

Thursday, November 20, 2014

2014 NW Ohio Thanksgiving Together

Link to more photos.

The 2014 NW Ohio Thanksgiving Together took place at The Anderson's Activity Center on Sunday, Nov. 16, 2014, from 1:00 - 4:00 pm.

Sponsors included:
  • The Andersons
  • The Dave Thomas Foundation
  • Northwest Ohio Youth Advisory Board
  • Nirvana Now!
  • Northwest Ohio Wendy's Wonderful Kids
  • Lucas County Children Services
  • Lucas County CASA
  • Foster Care Alumni of America Ohio chapter

Additional Support and Sponsorship details:
  • Nirvana Now was a huge help with event publicity and identifying a caterer
  • Lucas County Children Services provided beverages and desserts
  • FCAA Ohio sponsored the meal, and provided baby clothes, raffle prizes and Suits for Success
  • Judy Leb assisted with table coverings
  • WWK provided raffle prizes

Planning Committee Members include:
  • Lisa Dickson and Doris Edelmann, FCAA Ohio chapter
  • Dameon Caldwell, NW Ohio Youth Advisory Board
  • Marjory Curry & Associates LLC
  • Judy Leb, Lucas County CASA
  • Cece Norwood, Nirvana Now!
  • Rachel Adler and Britney Baker, Wendy's Wonderful Kids
  • Aimee Falk, University of Toledo

2014 NE Ohio Thanksgiving Together

Link to more photos.

The 2014 NE Ohio Thanksgiving dinner took place at Saint Ignatius High School on Sat. Nov. 15, from 11:30 am - 2:30 pm.
Sponsors included:
  • Cuyahoga County Children and Family Services
  • National Council of Jewish Women, Cleveland Section
  • St. Colman Catholic Church
  • Antioch Baptist Church
  • Adoption Network Cleveland
  • Fostering the Soul
  • The Purple Project
  • Dave Thomas Foundation
  • ACTION Ohio
Additional Support and Sponsorship details:
  • Adoption Network Cleveland donated 10 gift cards, and assisted with volunteers and beverages
  • Cuyahoga County Job and Family Services provided the meal, and received a donation for event photography
  • Fill This House donated 9 gift cards
  • Fostering the Soul donated additional gift cards, and toiletry items
  • Junior League of Cleveland donated toiletry items
  • NCJW Cleveland created knitted scarves and hats, and donated toiletry items
  • The Purple Project donated toiletry items
  • St. Ignatius High School students assisted with set-up, decoration, and serving, as part of their service hours
  • ACTION Ohio provided 150 drawstring bags, raffle prizes, baby clothes, Suits for Success, and toiletry items

Planning Committee Members:
  • Danielle Green-Welch, Cuyahoga County Children and Family Services
  • Lisa Dickson, ACTION Ohio
  • Betsie Norris, Adoption Network Cleveland
  • Ilah Adkins
  • LaTasha Watts, The Purple Project
  • Beth Dawson, The Development Project and Fostering the Soul

2014 SW Ohio Thanksgiving Together

Link to more photos.

The Southwest Ohio Thanksgiving Together took place at The People's Church on Saturday, Nov. 15, 2014 from noon - 2:30 pm.

Event Sponsors included:
  • The People's Church
  • Coalition of Care
  • Dave Thomas Foundation
  • Foster Care Alumni of America Ohio chapter
  • The Forgotten Initiative
Additional Support and Sponsorship details:
  • HEMI mentors will provide transportation as needed for their mentees
  • Home Emporium donated picnic baskets for leftovers
  • The Forgotten Initiative provided 24 gift bags for the children of foster care alumni
  • Small groups at The People's Church created 20 gift baskets, and received a donation of 300 totes
  • Montgomery County donated toiletry items
  • Saint Paul Community United Methodist Church donated pumpkins for centerpieces
Planning Committee Members:
  • Katie Deyo, The People's Church and Coalition of Care.
  • Lisa Dickson, Sarah Callihan, Laquita Howell, and Doris Edelmann, ACTION Ohio
  • Val Bairnsfather, Safe Pastures Transitional Living
  • Annie Schellenger, HEMI

2014 Fostering Pathways to Success Conference

In 2014, the Ohio Reach Summit and the Connecting the Dots conference were combined for the purpose of "Fostering Pathways to Success."

One resource available during this conference was Suits for Success, a program initiated by the Ohio chapter of Foster Care Alumni of America, in partnership with the Ohio State Bar Association.

2014 Advocates for Families First Training

From Oct. 27 - Oct. 30, 2014, Lisa Dickson of the Ohio chapter of Foster Care Alumni of America participated in advocacy training hosted by NACAC and Advocates for Families First.

She was accompanied by Betsie Norris of Adoption Network Cleveland, Rhonda Marsh of Richland County's Kinship Navigator Program and Beth Philley, OCWTP trainer and CASA volunteer.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Foster Care Alumni Panel during Community Forum ~ Ohio Fostering Connections

On September 17, 2014, the Ohio chapter of Foster Care Alumni of America participated in a panel during the Central Ohio community forum of Ohio Fostering Connections. Lisa Dickson, FCAA Ohio Communications Chair, served as Panel Moderator.

Foster Care Alumni Focus Group ~ Ohio Fostering Connections

On September 14, 2014, the Ohio chapter of Foster Care Alumni of America participated in a Foster Care Alumni Focus Group for Ohio Fostering Connections.

This activity was hosted by Illumination Studio, and facilitated by FCAA Ohio ally Ann Bischoff of Starfish Alliance and LINK-22 and alumna Jennifer Scott.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

FCAA Ohio members Lamar Graham, DC Curry, Nicole Chinn and Lisa Dickson had a wonderful time facilitating our first independent living class of the fall at Village Network.

Activities included:
  • Tour of the Heart to Heart Food Pantry
  • Stocking the shelves
  • Learning about how to navigate the COTA bus schedule online
  • Learning how to search for resources on Hands On Central Ohio's website

Monday, August 25, 2014

FCAA Ohio hosts OHIO YAB Officers Bootcamp

The Ohio chapter of Foster Care Alumni of America was honored to facilitate the OHIO Youth Advisory Board's first Office Bootcamp.

Training topics included:
  1. Officer Professionalism
  2. Public Speaking 
  3. Effective Advocacy
Youth participants did a wonderful job...

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Passport to Success conference in Cincinnati

The Passport to Success conference at the University of Cincinnati was a huge success. Kudos to the University of Cincinnati, HEMI, Hamilton County Job and Family Services, Hamilton County Connecting the Dots, and many other sponsors and supporters of this worthwhile event.

Foster Care Alumni of America's Ohio chapter facilitated the Suits for Success area.
  • Suits for Success provides professional attire to current and former foster youth who are entering -- or hoping to enter -- the workforce. This program was created in 2011 by the Ohio State Bar Foundation and the Ohio chapter of Foster Care Alumni of America, and was initially launched during the statewide 2011 Career and Entrepreneurship conference for Ohio foster care youth and alumni.
  • Foster care alumni served as alumni role models. They not only helped foster youth try on clothing, but also shared first-hand knowledge of resources and encouraging each participating young person to take full advantage of every resource made available to them. Conference facilitators commented on the effectiveness and positive nature of this approach.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Teening Up for Success Conference in NE Ohio

Northeast Ohio foster care youth and alumni greatly enjoyed participating in the Teening Up for Success conference, hosted by Stark and Lorain counties. The Ohio chapter of Foster Care Alumni of America led two workshops on "Resources and Relationships to Help Youth Succeed."

Youth and Alumni Voices During the OFCA Conference

The Ohio Family Care Association hosts an annual statewide conference for resource parents, including foster, adoptive, kinship, respite and even some biological parents.

The Ohio chapter of Foster Care Alumni of America had the honor of facilitating the resource panel for foster parents. Panelists included three foster care youth, two foster care alumni and three organizational representatives from Ohio Reach, Capital Law School's Foster Youth Advocacy Clinic and the Ohio Benefit Bank.

The focus was on resources to support teens in foster care before and during their transition into young adulthood.

Youth and alumni did a wonderful job during the OFCA conference:

  • They presented themselves in a professional manner 
  • They were positive in the delivery of their message 
  • They were well-prepared, and the time they took to prepare led to their message being effective 
The ally presenters from Ohio Reach, Capital Law School and the Ohio Benefit Bank were knowledgeable and informative, and the resources they shared were relevant to the presentation, and well-received by the audience.

Foster parents were very receptive, and post-panel conversations were productive. Several foster parents expressed interest in taking youth in their care (ages 15+) to upcoming teen conferences.


Friday, June 13, 2014

Fall 2014 meetings of the Ohio chapter of Foster Care Alumni of America

SW Ohio CTD event, with Keynote Speaker Antwone Fisher

Kudos to FCAA Ohio members Doris Edelmann, Brittany Christian, Adrian McLemore and Philip Shanks for the wonderful job you did in helping to plan and facilitate the second annual SW Ohio Connecting the Dots conference in Dayton.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Foster care alumni Violet Ramunni in DC

On May 29, 2014, the Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth held the third annual "Congressional Foster Youth Shadow Day." Nearly 70 current and former foster youth from across the country gathered on Capitol Hill to shadow Members of Congress and advocate for changes to the child welfare system.

Ohio's very own Violet Ramunni, of the Summit County YAB in Ohio, was chosen to participate in Congressional Youth Shadow Day. She shadowed Congresswoman Marcia Fudge.


Foster care alumna Alexis Cook in DC

On April 8th, Alexis Cook traveled to Washington, D.C. with FosterClub. During her time in DC, she met with U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH). Alexis attended his weekly coffee with constituents where she discussed the importance of providing services for young people in foster care once they turn 18 and “age out” of the system.

Alexis is currently involved in the Youth and Alumni Advisory Committee on Ending Homelessness. This group is made up of current and former foster youth ages 14-26 who serve to represent the voices of Youth and Alumni in Lighthouse Youth Services’ 16 month planning process to end youth homelessness in Cincinnati.

During the Kick Off of the Hamilton County youth council, Alexis was the first to arrive. She manned the registration desk and welcomed each young person as they arrived. Because Alexis had already received training in FCAA Ohio Purposeful Sharing back in 2010, she was able to answer questions from other youth about how to determine what was appropriate to share.

 Two days after the Kick-off of the Youth and Alumni Advisory Committee on Ending Homelessness, Alexis helped present foster care youth and alumni recommendations and insights to the larger Steering Group for this initiative. She was interviewed by Clyde Grey of WCPO news about the need for additional transitional housing options for young people.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Three Days On the Hill ~ Legislative Visits, Day 3 and Sightseeing

During our final day in DC, we had one morning visit:

  • Senator Sherrod Brown's Constituent Coffee 

We spent the rest of day sightseeing, prior to our flights home.

Three Days On the Hill ~ Legislative Visits, Day 2

During our second day of legislative visits, we participated in the following meetings:
  • Senator Rob Portman's Constituent Coffee 
  • Representative Joyce Beatty (Franklin County) 
  • Legislative Assistant for Representative Jim Jordan (Huron County) 
  • Senator Rob Portman 
  • Legislative Assistant for Representative Bob Gibbs (Stark County)

Three Days On the Hill ~ Legislative Visits, Day 1

During our first day of legislative visits, we met with:
  • Becky Shipp, Health Policy Advisor to the Senate Finance Committee 
  • Legislative Assistant Rebecca Kastan, U.S. Congressman Pat Tiberi's Office 
  • Representative Mike Turner (Montgomery County)
  • Legislative Assistant for Congresswoman Marcia Fudge (Cuyahoga County)

Monday, May 5, 2014

Three Days On the Hill ~ Training Day

During Three Days on the Hill 2014, our subject matter experts during training included:

  • Ruthie White, Executive Director of the National Center for Housing and Child Welfare
  • Todd Shenk, Senior Fellow from Casey Family Programs and Special Assistant to the Secretary's Senior Advisor for Housing and Services.
  • Matt Aronson, Program Specialist at the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development
We were also delighted that Bethany Koshinsky, FCAA Ohio member and one of the sponsors of this year's event, was available to help facilitate training.

Three Days On the Hill ~ Arrival and Icebreaker

We deeply appreciated Bethany Koshinsky's roommate, Angie Debendetti, and her willingness to take us on a grocery run after our arrival in DC.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Working to Address Aging Out of Foster Care to Homelessness in Cincinnati

It was the privilege of the Ohio chapter of Foster Care Alumni of America to assist with the launching of the Foster Care Youth and Alumni Advisory Council to End Youth Homelessness in Cincinnati.

We shared about Purposeful Sharing and Advocating Without Alienating.

Participants impressed us greatly... and we can't wait to see what they work together to accomplish in the year to come!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014