In March of 2009 I awoke in the middle of the night with a dream still fresh in my mind. I had envisioned myself surrounded with friends, family, and business professionals cutting the red ribbon off a newly constructed building housing my new business. In this dream their were thousands of children, families, and community members cheering me on in recognition of the services soon to be provided.
What venture did I dream of starting you ask? After years of working in different systems set up with the intentions of helping youth and families, I had become disheartened with the amount of children and parents that I'd personally worked with who were suffering because of inherent flaws in California's social services systems. Programs are concerned with the increasing number of children,adolescents, and young adults experiencing crisis as well as those with developmentaland learning disabilities. Parents are concerned with the lack of funding,inappropriate levels of service and the increasingly restrictive service modelsseen in most US-based social service programs.
My dream was of building something to help parents bridge the gap and navigate through the many different systems of support and programs established to help youth and families in need. My hope was to create a networking hub to assist in connecting families with availableinformation on programs established to help at risk youth, children with special needs and disabilities, and their families while providing in house hands on services to support them in their development.
From this dream, I began to research, write my business plan, and network with the community to establish the Foster & Banks Walk in Faith Foundation. What makes the Foster & Banks Walk in Faith Foundation so exciting, yet necessary, is that not only can the organization exist and co-habitate with other non-profit and for-profit organizations in this space but it provides additional resources and better hands on services to a highly underserved demographic of children, adolescents, and young adults considered to be "at-risk", and those with developmental and learning disabilities.
Over the past 5 years my family and I have taken steps to reach our goals by engaging in numerous community outreach efforts, talking with youth and families to find out what their needs are, and networking with other non-profits and businesses, to assist in building our core programs and services. From April 2012 to July 2012 we subleased our first building to aide in the start-up of our foundation. In September of that same year we began to implement youth programs at Budlong Elementary School and Lou Dantzler Preparatory Charter Elementary School and are working tirelessly on giving the community the access to services and supports vital to survival.
Since operations began in 2012, community fundraisers, personal donations, and smallgrants have been the primary source of financial support the Foundation has received. We have been able to successfully run all programs, workshops and events with the help of amazing Community Partners and Volunteers. The Foundation also receives gift cards and small monetary donations frombusinesses and community members during vendor events and also seeks corporateand business sponsorships for our free events and workshops. To date, we have worked with or helped over 5,000 students and parents, have successfully run over 200 fundraisers, raising over $20,000 to be able to offer all our services for free or low cost. We have also received small seed grants from The Pollination Project and Walmart. Our Board has invested over $30,000 of our own personal income into making this vision a reality.
We have hosted book fairs, given away food, clothes, and school supplies to low incomestudents and families and work tirelessly each month to address the needs ofour community. We have over 15 Community Partnerships, have engaged in numerous community outreach efforts throughout Los Angeles County and host several events and fundraisers year round.
Thank you in advance for taking the time to find out who we are, and what we are about!