HAVE A HEART?
- April 12, 2012
- on 4/12/2012
- MoJo: Dominique Marsalek
“Flight” by Sherman Alexie is a story that gets underneath your skin. The words lay thickly on the page wearing a simple disguise. They fizzle, pop, smoothly run through the mind, transporting the reader to a place beyond time, which soaks through the day-to-day. Then, the silence and the bewilderment of the last page is heavy as reality and hum-drum-routine existence surfaces the moment the last pages close. Unlike over 99 percent of all popular literature out there today, “Flight” is a unique novel about a teenage foster kid, who is Irish-American-Indian and struggling with the fundamental questions of life while coming of age. Unlike the stories that fill our lives in popular literature and media, the reader has access to the unique viewpoint and moral development of foster youth today. This book joins an almost empty, yet to be filled genre, that calls for a voice and for stories to give light to a very real and common lived experience in our country and in our community. This book,as well as the local "Heart Gallery," are ways someone might begin to understand the foster care experience despite lack of representation.
The foster care community is well over half a million strong at any given time, with an average of 20,000 "aging out" (turning 18) from the system each year. This is the number of children in the system at any given moment and does not include the millions of adults who are alumnas. Foster youth have some of the bleakest success stories and statistics of any demographic in our nation. Yet, it is clear in this story by Alexie, and in the stories by and about foster youth which occasionally appear in our media, that success is often denied them by a variety of factors in their life and not by innate deficiencies. Many of these youth are in fact capable, loving and quick-witted children eager for love and a chance to prove themselves.
The local "Heart Gallery," run by the Freddie Mac Foundation and supported by the Frederick chapter of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, will be on display at Hood College until the end of the day on Friday, April 13. The gallery features over 70 local children who are in need of adoption as well as a little of their individual stories. These beautiful children run the whole diverse spectrum in age, color and gender. The photos aim to capture the spirit of the individual lives and to give a story, as well as a picture, of the foster care experience. Any interested parent, foster youth, student, or couple exploring the possibility of adoption, might be interested in what this gallery offers.
The Freddie Mac Foundation is sustained by its own charitable trust and works in the D.C. metropolitan area to bring about positive change for children and families. Programs like the Heart Gallery as well as "Wednesday's Child," available on NBC-4, are part of an overall goal to find loving, adoptive homes for children in foster care.
The Heart Gallery may also be accessed online as well at FreddieMacFoundation.org/heartgallery
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