When I was 12, my baby sister, Brianna, drowned in our family swimming pool and died several days later. I remember giving her a big hug before I left for school the morning she drowned. I expected to see her later that day, running toward me, with her huge beaming smile and arms reached out for a welcome-home hug. Little did I know I would never hug Brianna or see her smile again.
That day changed my life forever and led me nearly 30 years later to Promises2Kids. When I hear stories of foster children who are separated from their siblings, I think of Brianna and the palpable void in my life created by her death. I think of my other siblings and how we had one another to lean on through some very dark days and difficult times; and how they know me in a way that no one else does. Siblings need each other, especially when they have no one else.
There is a saying: “It takes a village.” Growing up, I was fortunate to have a large village. My village included siblings, mentors, coaches, teachers, grandparents, and parents – all of whom who touched or influenced my life in some positive, meaningful way. Foster children need the village Promises2Kids provides.
I would do anything to change the fateful day I lost my little sister. While her death was devastating, it made me treasure my other siblings and, years later, ignited a fire inside of me to assist children who, through no fault of their own, are separated from their siblings and who lack the support, love, and guidance my siblings and I knew. Today, Promises2Kids embodies the pledge I have made to help at-risk children stay connected to their siblings and get the support they need to have brighter futures.