RICHMOND, Va. -- November is adoption month. Each year, CBS6 features children in the foster system who are looking for a permanent home.
“I'll never forget the day my life changed forever when my social worker informed me that they were going to put me and my sisters in the foster care system.”
Separated from his birth family at 14, Melvin Roy endured a trauma six years ago that no teen should have to experience.
"When you think about that period between age 14 to 18, that's a crucial time in terms of ensuring that a child is ready for college, ready for adulthood,” Roy said. “Having a loving family during that time that can nurture you take care of you and guide you in the appropriate ways is so important, because if you don't have that, once you get on to the real world, you'll always find yourself lost.”
Roy knows that hundreds of Virginia children in foster care face that very situation.
That's why a virtual event next week in Carytown at Garden Grove Brewery & Urban Winery hopes to open the eyes and hearts of our community to the crisis these young people find themselves in.
Brewery owner Ryan Mitchell says the partnership with JFS/Connecting Hearts, which will feature a virtual tasting of some of the brewery's offerings is the perfect match.
“To me, it's huge,” Mitchell said. “I have three children at home and hearing that there are 800 children in Central Virginia that are in foster care, it's unfathomable. I truly believe that every child should have a supportive and loving parent.”
JFS' Wendy Kreuter says with a pandemic that has isolated these vulnerable children even further, it's urgent to get the word out.
“It’s an opportunity for all of us to be together, even if it's virtually to connect with Garden Grove, to help connect children with families,” Kreuter said. “These children are waiting in the system for loving families and permanent homes and that's really important.”
Mitchell said the five Garden Grove offerings include a sparkling honey wine made with blood peaches, a black twig cider, a schwarzbier (dark beer), their Kolsch-style beer and their homemade ginger ale.
Mitchell and the folks at JFS/Connecting Hearts hope the October 28 night of fun will provide just a taste of the joy and love that awaits prospective foster families. Roy, who has started a non-profit called Foster U, to help foster children make the journey to higher education, says that too, is his greatest hope.
“Having someone who can be there for me you know someone I can call someone I can, you know, to say ‘hey, I'm going to do this, I want to talk about it,’ or ‘hey, I need some advice,’ or ‘can I come over?’ You know, it's just small things that make a big difference and family doesn't have to just be the people that you came from.”
“A loving family makes all the difference in the world, even if it is for a year or two years or six months,” said Kreuter. “We talk a lot about where do you come home for Thanksgiving or for the holidays? Just having that support structure, mentoring to make decisions about your future, these are all really important things for teenagers that are looking at those kinds of decisions.”
The virtual event is Thursday, October 28, and starts at 6:30 pm. To buy tickets so you can have the five tasting items delivered right to your door ahead of time, just click here.
You also go to the Garden Grove Brewery & Urban Winery on 3445 Cary St in Richmond. For more information, visit their website.