Cup of Change: Spotlight on the Foster Care Alumni Association

Spotlight on the Foster Care Alumni Association
By Jessica Juliana Fischer-Smith

This week, I decided to focus on a cause that’s near and dear to my own heart: the foster care alumni association. When I was twelve, I was removed from my biological mother’s home after 9 years of extreme neglect and domestic violence. After this, I was placed in the foster care system and was luckily adopted by my first foster mother after my biological mother’s rights were terminated. Shortly after this point, I started receiving mail from the Foster Care Alumni Association.

The FCAA is an organization that networks between foster children and former foster children to provide them with work and internship opportunities across the U.S. One of their biggest projects is Postcards from the Soul in which foster children participating in internships produce postcards portraying their deepest emotions and varying experiences in “the system”.

This particular organization means a lot to me because of my older sister. She chose to remain in foster care rather than being adopted which made her eligible to participate in one of the FCAA’s internship programs. She spent a summer interning on Capitol Hill where she was instrumental in amending the Higher Education Act of 1965- incidentally the act that permits me to go to college despite my financial situation. Since the 2008 amendment, the law has expanded the definition of independent so that former foster children are not required to take their adoptive parents or non-existent parents into account for finances.

The internships created by the FCAA are an entryway into the lifestyle they might have had if they were born into a different socioeconomic strata. These are also only a fraction of their work. To find out more about this fantastic organization or to make a donation, go to http://www.fostercarealumni.org
If you’re looking for a charity to donate to next May, May is National Foster Care Awareness Month!

“A Cup of Change for your Mundane Monday” – Spotlight on “Women in Need”

Spotlight on: Women in Need
By Jessica Juliana Fischer-Smith
The summer heat is cascading upon us and we happily retreat into our houses to avoid discomfort. Some of us aren’t as lucky. This past week, I spent Independence Day in New York City, traveling from Harlem to downtown, then back to midtown acting as if I were a tourist, all to see the fireworks. My friend and I happily escaped into the cool buildings around us each time the heat got to be too much. Like your average New Yorker, my friend and I ignored the clusters of homeless people roasting away on the steamy sidewalks.
Women in Need is an organization that turns their attention to these individuals. Founded 25 years ago, they focus on providing homeless women and children shelter while presenting the opportunity to better their lifestyle albeit through rehabilitation services, housing searches, or help in job searches. They have provided housing to 30,000 people since they were founded and 9,000 of these individuals were women and children.
Organizations such as these exist in most cities throughout the United States today. If you would like to donate your money or time to such a cause, run a quick search to find out the closest one to you. Or if you would like to help out Women in Need, go to their website at http://www.women-in-need.org

“A Cup of Change for your Mundane Monday” – Spotlight on “The White House Project”

Spotlight on “The White House Project”

By Jessica Juliana Fischer-Smith

This summer it seems like everything is heating up, especially politics. Everything from health care to campaign policies is changing and one can only hope this is leading us in the right direction. What exactly is the right direction though? To me, it is a Washington that listens to America and addresses her needs. Oddly enough, we write America as woman and so few are in Washington.
This is where the charity “The White House Project” comes in. Their ultimate goal is to have a woman president, but they also work to increase the amount of women in political positions, fight for equal wages, and increase the amount of women in the general work force. 76% of their profits go towards programs. These funds go towards a variety of networking events, as well as informative leadership development meetings. Each year they hold an awards event to highlight the accomplishments various women have made to society. Today their network is comprised of 14,000 females.

As a young woman who hopes to actively enter the workforce in the next year, seeing an organization such as this one gives me hope. I dream of working in a world where women are truly perceived as equal to men in all aspects of a profession. Fun fact: women only received the right to vote in Switzerland in 1971; however, they already had their first female president in 1998. Women have been able to vote in the US since 1913 and despite Hilary Clinton’s decent run in the past election, this goal still seems far off. If this is something you believe needs changing, check out “The Washington Project” on their website at http://thewhitehouseproject.org/. Even if you aren’t able to make a donation, there are a variety of ways to get involved.

Hope this cup of change made your Monday a little less mundane. Until next week!

Tiny Footsteps into Big Differences

By Jessica Juliana Fischer-Smith
When you walk barefoot on a muddy path, you leave behind an imprint of every crease in your soles; the mud also stays with you, caught in the crevices. Each one of us has the ability to create change in this world, albeit through opening a door for someone you do not know or, in this case, buy a tutu to make your little girl smile and help women in Haiti.

In recent years, philanthropy has become the new pink: everyone is doing it. Celebrities are active in everything from preventing the spread of HIV or AIDS to increasing access to drinking water. In today’s age of technology, the world is more interconnected than ever before and it may seem daunting to enter into charity work. The important thing to do is to find a focus and commit to it. What about this world is worth saving to you?
Community is truly a vague umbrella term nowadays, but this allows for many more options for change. What crevices do you want to leave behind?