Photo Credit Jun Tsuboike/NPR
Photo Credit Jun Tsuboike/NPR

By Michael P Coleman

As a young boy, my friend “Big Mike” lived a few doors down, and he was one of my best friends.  Years later, after he graduated from high school and moved away, I learned that the woman he called “Ma” had been his foster mother.

Years later, my wife and I adopted a kid out of the foster care system.  That kid and I have spent the better part of our 24 years together finishing each other’s sentences.  In fact, my grandmother insisted that I had made up the adoption story to conceal an extra marital affair! 

Recently, as all of my kids are now young adults, I started looking into opportunities to stay connected to youth.  I discovered AgingUP,  a great, new non-profit that’s working to serve kids in the foster care system in Sacramento County. 

A few alarming statistics paint a picture that’s hard for anyone who cares about children to ignore.  Within two years of “aging out” of foster care: 

-Nearly 1/3 of youth will become homeless

-More than 1/2 of them will be unemployed

-1 in 5 will be incarcerated

The disproportionate number of kids in foster care are African American and male. 

Now, I’m all in favor of help from white folks.  I benefit from it on a daily basis LOL.  But our kids are calling out for help from us, and I think we need to step up. 

Click here to read more about AgingUP, including information on their upcoming orientations on June 27 and June 30.  Attending one of those orientations is mandatory for anyone who would like to apply to be a mentor for the upcoming year. 

Hope to see you at one of AgingUP’s upcoming orientation sessions!  But as welcome a sight as you’d be to me, there’s a child in a foster home right now who’s waiting to meet you. 

Click here for more information on AgingUP.

 Connect with Sacramento-based freelancer Michael P Coleman at michaelpcoleman.com or follow him on Twitter:  @ColemanMichaelP.

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