Thanksgiving at #TheHaven

HAPPY THANKSGIVING! We love to celebrate the holidays here at Boys and Girls Haven. Thanksgiving, in particular, is an especially moving time for us. Our young people have a strong and resilient spirit – they remind us that, no matter our circumstances, there is always so much to be thankful for.

Here are some photos from our annual campus-wide Thanksgiving meal held on Tuesday, November 22nd. Young people from all of our programs joined volunteers, foster parents, board members, staff, and other supportive partners to say thanks.

Oh, and a big #HavenThanks goes out to youth in our equine program (who built the Thanksgiving wreath), Junior League of Louisville, Norton Women’s Resource Group, Orphan Care Alliance, our amazing Haven Cafe staff, and a variety of other individuals and partners who helped make truly enjoyable evening!

Boys & Girls Haven Alum Finds Purpose and Calling in United States Military

Happy Veteran’s Day! Many foster youth go on to serve in the military – some for the structure, some for the sense of purpose and direction, and many for a deep rooted patriotism. Here, we highlight one of our alumni who has seen battle on more than one front, and yet shows the true resiliency and hope that defines so many foster youth around the country. (He has even returned to Boys and Girls Haven to share his story with our youth!)

Petty Officer First Class John Lowe participated in Boys and Girls Haven programming from 2003 – 2006 before aging out of the foster care system. Despite national statistics stating one in five emancipated foster you will go on to experience homelessness, one in four will encounter the criminal justice system within two years, and about half will be unemployed by age 24, John went on to join the military, travel the world, and start a family.

John came to Boys and Girls Haven’s Wachtel Cottage in 2003 as a part of the agency’s Pre-Independent Living program – a structured, staffed, residential life skills program. He later transitioned to his own apartment on Frankfort Avenue through the Boys and Girls Haven Independent Living program and was matched with volunteer mentor, Don Kalmey.

Said John, “I found the independent living program to be very valuable to me because it was a great stepping stone to learning how to function on my own. I also found a lot of comfort in my mentor as well as some of the staff when I had questions on how to deal with normal teenage issues.”

After gaining emancipation in 2006 – and with a confidence boost from his mentor and Boys and Girls Haven staff – John joined the United States Navy in November of the same year. Despite the realities of the battlefield and the long deployments separating him from family, John says he has no regrets about his vocation.

“I have seen some horrific things and made devastating decisions while treating patients in Afghanistan. In Iraq I was in an explosive blast while on a patrol,” says John. “But these things have also shaped who I am because I have been able to learn what is really important in life. I have learned not to sweat the small stuff, to enjoy every second by living in the moment, and not to take for granted the people that matter to me the most.”

Petty Officer Lowe is married to his high school sweetheart, Raleigh. They recently purchased their first home and have three children and two Siberian Huskies. The family spent three years at Naval Base Capodichino, Italy, before returning stateside where John currently serves Naval recruits in Great Lakes, Illinois.

Thank you for your service, John! We’re so proud to count you as part of the Boys and Girls Haven family!

Rebekah Farley

Happy Holidays from The Haven!

October 31st might seem a bit too soon to throw around holiday greetings…but we have to get an early start here at Boys and Girls Haven. After all, it takes a lot of coordination to ensure a happy holiday season for the hundreds of kids in our programs!

As you may know, in addition to the scars of abuse and neglect many of our young people face, the process of entering foster care and moving from placement to placement can be very disruptive. That’s one of the reasons maintaining and creating tradition is so important for each of our youth, no matter their age. Decorating a pumpkin, eating a hearty Thanksgiving meal, writing and receiving Christmas cards – these small gestures go a long way in creating a sense of normalcy and “home”. (Plus, it’s also a lot of fun!)

Join in on the tradition this holiday season! We have plenty of opportunities to promote a genuine and joyful holiday season for Boys and Girls Haven kids. Keep an eye out for more information in the coming weeks…here are a few opportunities we’ll highlight:

  • Thanksgiving Setup Team: About 10 volunteers are needed to help us set up for our Thanksgiving Dinner. We’ll gather the troops to assist on Monday, November 21st from 1 pm – 4 pm. Interested? RSVP to rfarley@boyshaven.org.
  • Christmas Spirit Drive: Our supply of Christmas decor here on campus has declined over the years. We’re in need of holiday lights (as many as we can gather), wreathes (at least six), and Christmas trees (at least five).
  • Santa’s Elves: We will need additional jolly holiday donors to purchase gifts for about 50 individual kids in our programs.
  • Christmas Party Setup Team: See Thanksgiving Setup Team info above…only change the date to Tuesday, December 14th. 🙂

In the meantime, we hope you have a safe and spooky Halloween!

trunkortreat_1
A campus resident getting in the spirit at our recent Trunk-or-Treat

Welcome to Haven Blog!

Welcome to the blog of Father Maloney’s Boys and Girls Haven!

The Boys and Girls Haven family is vast – in addition to 5000+ program alumni and over a hundred paid staff members, we are privileged to count thousands of foster parents, volunteers, donors and community members as part of our tribe.

This blog is for you – a family newsletter of sorts. We will share stories about (and from) our youth and staff, updates on program happenings, important advocacy information for kids in foster care, and plenty of pictures and videos to keep you in-the-know.

Thank you for your support and love. Our kids are fortunate to have such an inspiring team to cheer them on!

P.S. Don’t forget to share our posts on social media! We’re on Facebook and Twitter.