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!