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How cute is Brooklyn?

Brooklyn very much would like a permanent family. Especially one with a dog.
She likes music and sings along to country, gospel, hip hop and pop. She enjoys church and likes to read. She most recently read  The Fault in Our Stars.

Brooklyn would like a family that does a lot of activities, like going horse back riding, swimming and to the movies. 

Her favorite colors are pink and purple.

Mentors needed in Lakota, Princeton, Hamilton districts

We're helping Amber Gray's Where2Next Foundation start its mentoring program for kids in Hamilton County foster care who live in these communities.
Gray is a professional basketball player who mentors two teens herself. She and her team hope to build and grow a mentoring program that helps teens now but also grooms them to become mentors in a few years.

Mentoring doesn't have to take a lot of time or cost a lot of money. If you can spare a few hours a month to just talk to a teen when they need advice, please let us know.

Raising money for adoption is a snap

Wendy's restaurants are  helping their partner, the Dave Thomas Foundation of America, pay for more recruitment of homes for kids in foster care.

Check your local Wendy's for cups with a special Snapchat code. Snap a pic of the code and Wendy's will donate $5 to the DTFA. Coca-Cola and Dr. Pepper are partners in the project.
HCJFS is fortunate to have several adoption recruiters paid for by the DTFA.

Wendy's founder Dave Thomas was adopted. He started the foundation in 1992. Its goal is to increase the number of permanent homes found for kids waiting in foster care.

Taking care of those who take care of others

A siren wailing somewhere in the night. Flashing police lights and yellow tape. The chaos of an emergency room after a big accident. A loved one being hurt or perpetrating pain.

Even thinking about these scenarios can be unsettling. When they become reality for us or people we care for, they are traumatic. With every additional instance, the impact from a wide range of experiences becomes more dramatic and damaging. Though the physical signs of trauma are often obvious, the emotional and mental wounds are often harder to see and to care for. For professionals who work with a population that is chronically traumatized, they can find themselves in need of care as well.

Like other first responders, Children's Services caseworkers and managers deal with trauma every day. And not just during their "official" shifts. Difficult interactions and disturbing images have a way of following them home and moving in. Overstaying their welcome.

Learning how to take care of ourselves and each other is the main goal driving our new, trauma-informed programming. Building a safe place where our dedicated staff can be encouraged and empowered helps counter burnout and turnover while building our resilience and improving job satisfaction. Building a strong JFS community enables us to build a stronger community beyond our walls. One child, one family at a time.

Don't forget: Tax-free
shopping days

If you live in or shop in Ohio and need some school clothes and supplies, remember Ohio's tax-free shopping days are Aug. 2-4.

During the sales tax holiday, the following items are exempt from tax:
  • Clothing priced at $75 per item or less;
  • School supplies priced at $20 per item or less;
  • School instructional materials priced at $20 per item or less.

Please help us show off these great pics

The Heart Gallery is a traveling photo exhibit created to help find safe, loving, permanent families for Hamilton County children in foster care. 
We have struggled over the last few years to find businesses and organizations willing to host the gallery for more than a day. For it to be successful, we need local hosts where the display can stay up for a month at a time. We need your help finding places with good foot traffic to make an impact.

We have had the gallery up all over town, including at the United Way and Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. Now we need more locations.

The easy-to-put-up stands look good in lobbies, storefront windows, cafeterias - anywhere people can see them. We include a description of each child shown.

The Heart Gallery is not just a bunch of pictures. It is the hope that we can find a forever family for a waiting foster child. With your help, these portraits could be one of the many touches an individual needs to consider adoption. 

If you know of a business/organization/church that might host the Heart Gallery, please email Emma O'Dell at ODELLE@jfs.hamilton-co.org. 

Two adoptions to end a 30-year career

Michael Willis, one of our Wendy's Wonderful Kids recruiters, retires next week after 20 years with Hamilton County Job and Family Services.

She leaves on a great note - seven adoptions already this year. That's seven children who had been in foster care who now have permanent homes partly because of her efforts.

Her last two adoptions happened Tuesday - one with a teenager who had been in the system for years, the other with a sibling set of three.
Willis, left, with the Thomas family, Magistrate Rogena Stargel and JFS worker Shawnia Robertson.

Both teens and sibling sets are among the most difficult situations to find families for. Many people want to adopt, but often they want babies or they are afraid to take three new children at once.

But Terrez and Candice Thomas were OK with three children at once - in addition to the two biological children they already had. They took Juelz, Jayshaun and Ja'Riah into their home in foster care last Christmastime and officially became their forever parents. The courtroom was full of new official cousins, uncles and aunts.

The finalization, by Magistrate Rogena Stargel, brought Willis to tears.

"This is a beautiful family and a great ending to my story," she said in court. "They have been phenomenal with these children."