Updated: Mar 9, 2019
June 28, 2018
Story by Sergio Portela
Photos by Veronica Perry
When a child experiences trauma, it helps to have someone provide a helping hand to overcome that obstacle. FosterHope Sacramento is the guiding light to find families for foster children to do so.
FosterHope Sacramento is a non-profit foster family agency based in Sacramento California, whose main goal is to provide a healing experience for foster youth so they can reach their full potential. On May 24th, FosterHope in partnership with Macy's, hosted a fundraising event called Modeling Hope 2018. The event was held at the Macy’s in downtown Sacramento to help educate and raise awareness about becoming a foster parent. The event was put together by FosterHope's, Director of Development, Douglas Newton.
“We're here to raise money to try to recruit and train more foster parents,” Newton says. “Right now the community care reform laws that have come into place in California have made it so that more and more foster children are being stepped down from group homes, which means that they need a place to live in a very emergent way. So, we have a lot of urgency in our hearts since we understand the shape of this problem. We want to respond by increasing the capacity in the community.”
Accompanied by his guitar, Newton performed songs before and after the models appeared on stage. Fashion isn’t normally in his wheelhouse, but he took on the event wholeheartedly and felt that the show was a great success.
“I looked around tonight and I saw everybody having a great time, and for me fashion shows are not my thing, normally,” Newton said. “However, when we do it in our community, it ends up being earthy, endearing and cute. So fashion is a way for people to connect with each other just like any other event where there’s opportunity to do that.”
Newton’s love for his job coincides well with the fact that he is also a musician.
“I chose to play here because I also happen to be a songwriter,” Newton says. “I love playing for causes, I love playing in people’s backyards. Basically, I’m just a musician with a day job that really matters. So I love to play music whenever I can.”
Newton’s love for music started at a young age. Growing up in a home with three pianos, that became his instrument of choice. As the youngest of six children he was he was always making up songs during his youth. After graduating with a degree in English Literature from UCLA, he continued to delve deeper into his love of music. He eventually taught himself how to play guitar and released an album called "Don't Look Down." For Newton, the purpose of his music is to create a sense of community.
“When my daughter looks up and sees the moon or has a sense of wonder, a sense of aesthetic unrest I hope she knows in that moment that she is sufficient just as she is,” Newton says. “And that she is connected with herself, to nature and everything around her. I feel like I’m a good dad because I’m creating moments where she has a chance to meditate about what it means to belong and she feels a sense of love and belonging in her life."
That same feeling of belonging and love that Newton wants for his child is what he and FosterHope want for all children affected by trauma to feel someday. For people who’ve ever thought of helping a child in need, they should reach out to FosterHope to learn about what it takes to become a foster parent. FosterHope aims to increase the number of foster families by the end of 2018, to help create that sense of belonging for as many youths as possible.
“We would love to have 12 more people sign on to become foster parents by the end of 2018 to increase our capacity to serve more children,” Newton says. “If children are homeless or get involved in drugs or various kinds of dysfunction that they are susceptible to as at-risk children in Sacramento, and there is nobody there to hold them, to care for them, to nurture them, to give them another chance, then the outcomes for them are statistically tragic. So, we want to be the ground floor. We want to make a positive difference in every way that we can for those kids that need us the most. It takes all of us to make that difference. We hope that more people can think about having an elastic sense of family. So, we can move beyond blood is thicker than water and move into the sense that maybe we can open up that extra bedroom for another kid and give somebody who hasn’t had the kind of love that we’ve known in our family the chance to experience that.”
For those potential parents willing to do that, FosterHope Sacramento would love to meet you. Their next event, the Al-Fresco Friday concert series, will be held at Bogle Winery on July 13th in Clarksburg, California. This event will include wine, food and a raffle. Proceeds will help them serve at risk children in the city. Newton believes those who step up and make an impact on the lives of foster children are real heroes.
“They are my heroes,” Newton says. “Foster parents who step into that role typically make less than the average family and they do it not because they make a little bit of money. They do it because they see that children and youth need help in their community and they understand that they have what it takes to reach out and help them heal from trauma. So, foster parents are my heroes.”
If you are interested in becoming a foster parent, please contact Sarah Denney at SarahDenney@fosterhopesac.org, like them on Facebook or visit the Al-Fresco Friday concert series July 13th.