Thursday, January 3, 2013

Fosters Forward - Helping Those in Transition

Tom Sweeney
So what happens to that young man or woman who reaches the age of 18 and leaves the Foster Care system?   The best thing that could possibly happen is that he or she is reunited with their natural family but that is not always the case.  The worst case is that he or she is  put out on the street with a few dollars  and nothing more, maybe not even a mattress to sleep on, and that is very often the case.
It did not take Tom Sweeney a long time to see what bad plight awaits a large number of teens once released from foster care.  Tom,  an former engineer whose earlier life consisted of numbers and best practices  switched careers once he saw that former foster children were in need of direction and help.  As a volunteer and advocate for countless children in foster care, he saw how the system frequently failed to address the need to help those released from the foster care system.  Today Tom is founder and  chairman of Fosters Forward,  an organization he formed  to assist those aging out of a Foster Care programs  who are moving towards Independent Living. 
From helping to procure basic furniture to helping service organizations such as Bethany Christian Services find volunteers to help mentor those in transition, Fosters Forward is a faith based ministry for which there is a definite need.
Tom Sweeney presented a program to the Comstock Park Rotary Thursday which resulted in the commitment of several club members in supporting this cause. 
The Comstock Park Rotary meets every Thursday at 12:10 at the Swan Inn Restaurant on Alpine Ave.  Some of the most recent local projects include the renovation of Grotto Park at the Michigan Veterans Facility, and the building of playgrounds at Wahlfield County Park and York Creek Apartments.  International Projects include the raising of $1,200 for Thirsting to Serve, A District Rotary Project that provides water filters to poor countries, and donating $8,000 with the help of Sparta and Cedar Springs to send a team to El Salvador in February to install a well in order to bring clean water closer to the people of a village.

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