May is National Foster Care Month, and OYA chose to honor its foster parents in a meaningful way: with an original gift made by a former foster youth.
L.W., a talented computer-aided designer and metal fabricator at MacLaren Youth Correctional Facility, was once in foster care through the Department of Human Services before his incarceration. He says he attributes many of his positive accomplishments in life to the support of his foster parents.
When OYA’s foster care team asked if he’d be willing to make appreciation gifts for OYA’s foster parents, L.W. quickly said yes. He created his own design for a decorative sign, using the Rhino 3D computer aided design modeling program, and then spent several months making the signs with MacLaren’s plasma cutter.
OYA has its own foster care program for youth in OYA custody who are working their way toward returning home or who are older and need help learning independent-living skills. OYA currently has about 30 foster homes statewide, but more are needed, particularly families of color or families who can properly support youth identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or questioning (LGBTQQI). Learn more at bit.ly/oyafostercare.
Check out the video below to hear London talk about how he came up with the idea for the appreciation gift.