On November 5th The Eddie Nash Foundation held their second annual Evening Under The Stars event in support of Orange County’s Foster Youth and Camp To Belong sibling reunification program. This sold out event, held at the Newport Beach Vineyard and Winery helped to bring awareness to one of our communities growing population of youth in the foster care system.
In Orange County there are nearly 4000 youth in foster and other out of home placement. Some in kinship care while others live in a group home setting. Nearly half of these youth are separated from their biological siblings as a result of this placement and have little if any chance to enjoy a normal childhood sibling relationship. Camp To Belong Orange County reunification program provides the opportunity for brothers and sisters to meet and spend time in a nurturing and safe environment where they can begin rebuilding the relationship that was shattered as a result of their out of home placement. Giving the younger sibling an older brother or sister to look up to and returning to the older sibling the privilege of being a role model to their little brother or sister.
With the support of the greater Orange County community, OC Children Services, Orangewood Children Foundation, CASA and The Kinship Center, Camp To Belong OC has reunited 175 youth through the week long camp event. All of these youth have siblings that were either separated by placement in the foster care system or were adopted and had siblings still living in foster care.
The proceeds from the November 5th event support foster youth sibling relationships and educational programs. In Orange County 46% of foster youth will leave the system without a high school diploma compared to 16% of the general population.
65% will be homeless within 1 year of emancipation –
They make up 40% of our homeless population –
And they take up 60% or more of the beds in our state prison system –
In a statement to the guests Bryan “Eddie” Nash, Founder of the Eddie Nash foundation said:
“Although there may be groves of foster children in our community, many of who might be out of our touch. Still, there are hundreds to be gathered that are well within our reach. I call this the low hanging fruit – and there is no reasoning for us as a community to watch this population spoil on the vine. Healing for these kids begin with the sibling connection – The opportunity to excel academically – and the privilege of learning basic life skills like social responsibility and financial literacy. So that’s why we do this – This call to action – that is becoming a National Conversation to help our disadvantaged youth who are well deserving of our support.”
What we are doing today will help us reach our 2012 goal of 100 foster youth next July at Camp To Belong Orange County. If you would like to be a part of this unique and life changing program that literally changes the lives of these kids forever, please contact Bryan Nash at Bryan@eddienashfoundation.org.