From the ages of 3-28 I experienced five divorces and lived in five different homes. I can relate to living out of a suitcase and in many living environments having multiple moms, dads, and siblings. I had a feeling of homelessness at times as the house would feel empty after each divorce. This is why I relate so passionately to foster children who have to experience multiple parents, siblings and homes.

I had to learn how to adjust quickly during the holidays, special occasions and events. At times I was not invited to certain holidays or occasions because a stepmother or stepfather didn’t want me there. After witnessing so much dysfunction at home; from gambling, addiction, mental illness, suicide attempts, and lying, I understand how critical it is to have an emergency line or shelter for kids in need. The importance of the Polinsky Center cannot be overstated.

I feel particularly close to the youth during the holidays and birthdays. Our Foster Funds help to remind our kids that they are not isolated or alone. Whether it is a birthday gift, cap and gown for graduation, sports uniform or instrument, we ensure that all of our children at Promises2Kids feel special, are worthy and deserving.

Growing up, my positive escape was transferred into sports and academics. I was thankful to receive a full scholarship to the University of Notre Dame and launched my career in finance to learn how to invest, make money and become financially sufficient. I have worked hard to become stable and independent on my own. Having sports, education and faith is how I survived.

Programs like Promises2Kids’ Guardian Scholars can change a child’s life, give them an education, and an opportunity for a better future! I also believe in having mentorship and support throughout life, the kind that stays by your side, like every person I meet at Promises2Kids. If it weren’t for my coaches, mentors, bosses and parents, I truly do not know where I would be today.

Stephanie Brown