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People Helping People: Catch me if I fall

When most young people turn 18 or move out on their own, they spread their wings and leave the nest knowing that they have a family who will be there to catch them if they fall. They have spent their lives being safe, protected and loved. Now, they will quickly learn how important a solid family foundation is.

Unfortunately youth leaving foster care do not have the same comfort. These vulnerable young people want to be "on their own" and create a better life but are often completely unprepared and don't have a loving family or anyone to lean on when times get tough. More than 70 percent of the youth that age out of the foster care system face circumstances that most of us cannot imagine. These children must do whatever it takes to survive. Many become homeless, go hungry and face lives with frightening futures. Without the tools, resources, knowledge and caring adult mentors, where do they turn for help?

Realizing these needs, the Foster Children's Foundation created the Tomorrow Matters® Mentoring Program. This program provides a strong foundation with positive adult mentors and community partners who are there for the youth to count on. Youth learn essential life skills needed to reach their potential and become self sufficient adults. This dynamic program gives young people many opportunities to make positive adult connections with mentors and receive in depth, hands on knowledge about Furthering Education, Employment Preparation, Money Management, Housing, Community Service and much more.

Too often, people are made aware of negative circumstances but think if they wait long enough, the problems will fix themselves or someone else will take care of it. These children cannot wait and need your help today. Please take advantage of this opportunity to catch them when they fall and change lives forever.

To support our Tomorrow Matters® Mentoring Program and other services, join us for our Shining Star event on Thursday, Oct. 22 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center in Buford. Shining Star represents each one of the precious children we serve throughout the year.

Come celebrate and dance to the music of the '70's. Enjoy great food, entertainment, a silent and live auction as well as networking in a fun environment with community leaders who are also passionate about helping these youth. Tickets are $50 per person and 100 percent of the funds raised go toward continuing to provide needed services to local children.

If you are unable to attend the event, you can still make a difference by making a financial contribution to:

Foster Children's Foundation P.O. Box 2469 Duluth, GA 30096

If you are interested in finding out about becoming a mentor, visit our Web site at www.fosterchildrensfoundation.org or contact us at 770-623-6135

Suzanne Geske is executive director of Foster Children's Foundation, Inc.

People Helping People is a weekly column written by the executive directors of nonprofit organizations in Gwinnett County. Need help or know someone that does? The Gwinnett Helpline directs callers to the appropriate nonprofit agency. Call 770-995-3339.