This is truly the summer of love! So much has been happening, all of it good -- no, great.

In California. . .

Los Angeles: Second Nurture board member Rabbi Nehama Benmosche took off the kid gloves and stepped up with a critical $720,000, three-year pledge, key to strengthening staffing and increasing organizational momentum. We've hired Talia Green to be our Director of Programs and are super excited to have such an exceedingly competent and hard-working professional on our team! We are deeply appreciative of Benmosche's generosity, as well as her commitment--both professional and personal--toward ensuring that every child has a family while carrying forward the profoundly generous legacy of Benmosche philanthropy. Thank you, Nehama.

Thanks to increases in our educational efforts (see the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption info at the bottom of this newsletter) and new city-wide partnerships, we will be spending the next year expanding our work at the Wilshire Boulevard Temple site to other Jewish communities in Los Angeles. WBT is engaged! Speaking of WBT . . . our cohort of 11 households is making things happen. Seven already have welcomed children into their homes from foster care, while the other two are not far behind as they move toward getting approved to be LA County foster families. Great work, community!

. . . and on a more personal note:

Our LA cohort had a blast helping Gerry celebrate son Astor's first birthday—a delightful day!

Cohort members Marcus and Clare finalized the adoption of their daughter, Melly. They’ve been family since they met, but now they’re official!

We cried along with our own Willie Garson when his son Nathen, who was adopted at age 7 from foster care, graduated from high school. Nathen celebrated his dad's love and unwavering support in a poem he wrote, The Next Wave, which he recited at the graduation ceremony.

Swaying back and forth, a thousand feet deep

Dark, cold, alone, and small

Constantly worrying in restless sleep

Getting dragged around like a rag doll

The light above me has yet to get brighter

Then something clasps my hand and carries me

And for once I grab back, even tighter

He'll guide me out of the scary sea

We brave the tough currents together

His grip easing, softening, over the years

Pulling me through the roughest weather

Through happiness, worries, concerns, and tears

A hand picks us up close to the shore and throws us

Midair we start to slip apart and I realize it's time

Time to say, "see you later", no need to fuss

It's okay to let me go, it's not a crime

You've taught me everything you've ever known

Now it's time for me to make a life of my own

All of us here at Second Nurture wish you the best of luck in college, Nathen! We know that as in everything you do, you’ll tackle your new adventure with a lot of heart.

Hello, Columbus . . .

We are planning a mentor and mentee orientation and training at our Harmony Park site, and have been awed and gratified by the participation of almost 100 Harmony Project choir members. Second Nurture Executive Director Susan Silverman's work with our phenomenal partners at Mentor Central Ohio on the development of a well-structured program will bring solidly supported direct mentorships to our Columbus foster children. Fundraising has already begun to enable the hiring of a half-time staffer who will oversee the project.

In Other Developments . . . we're creating Jewish resources for foster care and adoption . . .

Thanks to a generous grant from the adoption and fostering non-profit powerhouse, the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, we're building a program that will promote foster care and adoption as a Jewish value by integrating concepts of foster care and adoption into Jewish communities. We want Jewish families to see in fostering and adoption those values that, while clearly not exclusively Jewish, really strengthen and deepen those values that celebrate Jewishness and make us our very best.

To do this, we're partnering with synagogues that are ready to both start this essential discussion, and to pilot the resources we need to open Jewish eyes and hearts. Chicago-based Rabbi Toby Manewith is working with Susan to create materials that will highlight the essential importance of this perspective, materials that will be available to all. You can see the resources for Purim, Passover, Shavuot and the High Holidays. High Holiday resources will be available in the next two weeks. A High Holiday sermon, using last year’s Second Nurture resources, inspired a Boston couple to adopt! Their newly-home three-year-old daughter loves her new synagogue!

This is a very exciting time for all of us! A huge thanks to everyone who shared their time, wisdom, resources, and love to make our vision real. There are so many more good things to come!

Happy Spring! The ice is melting, revealing the tender life that has survived winter’s harshness. Now is the time for nurturing warmth.

Second Nurture and our communities are dedicated to the warmth of family and community for all children and teens, the young people for whom life has been, until now, a cold winter.

In our mission to grow kids, we are growing as well, partnering with communities to form cohorts of foster and adoptive parents, creating networks of support for these families, and incorporating foster and adoptive themes into the community culture.

Second Nurture Communities

In Los Angeles, we are partnering with Wilshire Boulevard Temple. We have our first cohort of twelve families, five are already fostering children, four of whom are seeking to adopt and one providing emergency shelter.

In Columbus, we are partnering with Harmony Project to use the Second Nurture model to promote mentorship of foster children. We have 80 Harmony Project members volunteering to either mentor or support the mentors and mentees. The mentees will come from our partner agency, Huckleberry House. The Huck House offers a residential program for young people ages 18-21 who are getting their lives back on track after having been homeless and/or trafficked. Those young people will have the opportunity for a Harmony Project mentor and will be welcomed into the choir itself.

Jewish Educational Materials

Through a collaboration with Hebrew College in Boston, and in consultation with psychological and educational experts, we are creating a series of resources for rabbis, educators and other Jewish community leaders to surface existing traditional Jewish themes of adoption, and explore Jewish literature that touches on relevant subtexts such as loss, creation and re-creation, mystery, belonging and identity. These resources will work on two levels: 1.) so that adoption and fostering is a highlighted communal value and 2.) adopted children and their families see themselves and their experiences reflected in the shared cultural identity. We welcome you to read our first educational resource for Purim and test it out in your community! It includes materials for K-12 and adult educational settings, as well as for carnival.

Future Work

In Columbus we are at the early stages of exploring a partnership with a church to work with children and parents that have experienced opioid addiction. Our initial plan is to form two different sets of cohorts, 1) a cohort to foster children removed from their families because of opioid addiction and 2) a second cohort in the same community of people who will be mentor-friends to the recovering parent—all with the goal of minimizing the child’s trauma, supporting the parent’s recovery and reuniting the family.

In Washington, DC, we are working with Ohev Sholom, a synagogue. The rabbi is bringing home a sibling pair from Haiti. During their process, Second Nurture is providing education around issues of adoption and foster care. As families in his synagogue observe the rabbi’s family experience of adoption, Second Nurture will help develop a cohort.

In Newton, MA, we have been in conversation with the Department of Children and Families about Newton being the first Second Nurture city! We had our first meeting with city stakeholders (nonprofit and community leaders, funders, and city staff) in February.

We are so excited about the coming spring —and it is fitting that we got a generous grant from The Aviv Foundation, since “aviv” is the Hebrew word for spring! We are, as always, thankful for all of you and your abiding support!

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