Partner Jeff Gordon serves as Chairman of The Board for Champions Empowering Champions. The organization’s mission is to empower college students who have experienced foster care or homelessness to achieve lifelong success. They achieve this by helping these students earn a college degree in four years and developing the skills required for academic, professional, and life success. Here is why Jeff supports this important organization:
Ten years ago, my wife and I decided to become foster parents. We made the decision to be foster parents out of a desire to give back to the community and to address a desperate need to provide a safe place for children who were abused and removed from their homes. After completing three months of training, we became certified by the state. Soon thereafter, we received our first placement call. It was the first of many such calls we would receive over the last ten years, but at the time we were inexperienced and didn’t know what to expect. What surprised us the most was shortly after that call, a young 4-year-old little girl was deposited at our door with no clothing, no belongings, and speaking very little English. Her name was Jocelyn. She had been severely abused and removed from her home. She was our first foster child, number one of 19 children we have taken into our home over the past ten years. Jocelyn stayed with us for a year. We got to know and love her. When she left us to live with her aunt, we had developed a bond that lasts through this day, as we still see and talk with her even though many years have passed.
Since Jocelyn, we have been lucky to have been able to get to know and love 18 other young children, some who have stayed with us just a few months, others who have lived with us for over a year. All of them have suffered severe trauma. Our job has been to provide a safe and stable environment and to teach these children how to love and trust again. Along the way, we try to impart life lessons that we hope the children will remember as they grow up. It has been a privilege to have gotten to know these children, and we keep in touch with many of them after they leave us. It is very gratifying to hear them tell us that they still do the things we taught them, even though they no longer live with us. We hope that even though it may have been for a short time, that we have influenced these unfortunate children in positive ways that will help steer them through life as they face other difficulties along the way.
I feel a deep connection to children who have managed to make their way through the foster system and get to college. Less than 10% of children who have experienced foster care make it to college, and far less ever graduate.
During this time of social distancing please visit their website www.empoweringchampions.org to learn more about this organization that is empowering youth and consider becoming a volunteer to work directly with the students or contact them to find out how you can help. [email protected]