Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Foster Fathers: Making a Difference

by Marina R. Hernandez
Family Developer, Aspiranet-Bakersfield

On Father’s Day, we celebrate and honor those men who have played or are playing a significant role in our up-bringing. Fatherhood is more than just paternity, it is a role that one takes on, and with it comes the responsibility to care for and nurture a child or children. In honor of Father’s Day, Aspiranet, a leading fost-adopt program in Kern County, would like to acknowledge and thank all foster and adoptive dads who are fulfilling their fatherhood role by sharing their love, parenting skills, and support with the many needy children in our community.

Fatherhood takes effort and is a worthwhile and significant role that may often appear unappreciated. Yet, day in and day out, our foster and adoptive dads care and provide for their children to ensure a better life for them. Although paternity plays no role in the relationship, these fathers take on the responsibility courageously, recognizing that every child deserves a loving family and a place to call home.

One dad in particular has gone above and beyond the “fatherhood call of duty.” Tim Popplewell has been a dad with Aspiranet for the past 10 years and has worked with over nine children. Tim and his wife Julie, through their roles as foster parents, have helped two youths emancipate from the foster care system, and have become legal guardians to four of their children.

According to Tim, his motivation to continue on this meaningful journey is simple: “These kids are family, and it’s not that tough to become attached and keep going when you think of them that way.” As in any home, there are definitely challenges. However, Tim believes that the rewards of being a foster dad are well worth any challenge that comes his way. In fact, he states the most rewarding part of parenting children is, “when they identify you as dad, they respond to you as a dad, and want to be part of [your] family.”

Fatherhood is defined by Tim as, “raising kids to be successful and decent human beings, and when they leave this house, they are able to stand on their own two feet.”

Tim Popplewell is Raising Hope and Empowering Community.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Camarillo Moose Lodge Hosts High Tea To Benefit

On February 28, the Camarillo Moose Lodge hosted a High Tea event at the Camarillo Moose Family Center, in an effort to raise awareness of Ventura County’s children in foster care and of the need for more foster and adoptive homes in the community. The event, organized by Rebecca Thompson, Mary Fox, and Denise Parenteau, was produced as a fun event for the Women of the Moose with the goals of attracting new membership to the Moose Lodge as well as to raise funds for Ventura Aspiranet. The event was held at no charge to attendees, but those who came were encouraged to adhere to the suggested dress code of hats, gloves, and boas!

The atmosphere at the Camarillo Moose Lodge High Tea was that of another era – one during which ladies would gather and enjoy the company of one another for high tea. The event provided attendees with the opportunity to take time out of their busy schedules to socialize with old friends, make new acquaintances, and sip tea. A few men from the Loyal Order of Moose volunteered as butlers, serving the ladies hot water for their tea.

The tea cups and sugar-creamer sets were donated by the Halbert Estate for the occasion, and participants were invited to purchase tea cups of their choice to benefit Ventura Aspiranet. Special ribbons were tied to chairs unbeknownst to guests, and those sitting in the special chair at each table won the sugar-creamer sets on the tables.

Entertainment, games, raffles, and lots of prizes were given away, and every new Camarillo Moose Lodge member or renewed member received a vacation voucher for a 3-day, 2-night hotel stay. The current member to bring the most new members who signed up during the event won a 7-day, 6-night hotel stay.

The money raised at the Camarillo Moose Lodge High Tea will benefit the Ventura Aspiranet office for its plans to host a Foster Parent Appreciation Luncheon in May.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Experience Corps® Bay Area Featured on ABC-7 Bay Area TV

Retirees Inspire Inner-City Kids to Thrive
Experience Corps® Bay Area volunteers were featured on the evening news, demonstrating their engagement with children at San Francisco’s Malcom X Elementary School. Mentors, like Amanda Prescott and Barbara Thomas, explained that they enjoy helping children learn.