Readers may not know this, but my wife and I have been approved to adopt in the South Carolina adoption system for two years. We have also been on the foster family list for half of that time. We have not found a child yet, but we keep our hopes up. When I first heard about Jimmy Wayne’s Meet Me Halfway, it struck very close to my heart.
artist Jimmy Wayne was a child in the foster care system. He was moved from foster home to foster home after a not so well equipped system had let him experience abuse and turmoil throughout his childhood. Then he aged out of the system. No money. No home. No job. He was a homeless teen, living on the streets until a North Carolina couple named Russell and Beatrice Costner took him in and gave him a family.
(Project Meet Me Halfway) was an idea Jimmy Wayne had fresh off Brad Paisley’s American Saturday Night Tour
. On a cold morning in Nashville, he took a sip of some hot coffee in his warm home and he realized how lucky he was and how there were so many young adults suffering because they did not have the opportunity Jimmy had.
In January, Jimmy Wayne began his walk halfway across the United States to bring awareness to the forgotten young adults of the foster care system. Fans and supporters were encouraged to join him for a few miles or donate to the cause, but a bigger part was for supporters to speak up and bring attention to the cause so close to this young mans’ heart.
Meet Me Halfway
is bringing attention to the many children who “age” out of the foster care system each and every year. Most of us may not think about this, but when a child reaches eighteen in a normal household, they go off to college or trade school, or just out on their own, but most have the option of coming back home or at least have some family members to lean on for support.
Children in the foster care system are not that lucky. In 2005, more than 24,000 young people aged out of the foster care system at the age of eighteen without anywhere to go or anyone to lean on for help. About half had a high school education and only about three percent were lucky enough to get to college and graduate. Statistics say one in four young people who age out of the foster care system will end up in jail within two years, and twenty percent will be homeless.
When a family is looking to adopt, they do not necessarily look at the sixteen year old or in most cases not even the twelve year old. They want the baby, and as a result, the older children have less and less interest from prospective parents as they get older.
“Because I was helped when I needed it, I want to try and help now," Jimmy said. "If the bit of celebrity I have can help me raise awareness of this situation --that there are kids and young people out there who need our help, then I feel like I have accomplished my goal.”
You can help Jimmy Wayne bring attention to this horrible problem. After all, these young people are the future of this country and when we fail them we fail ourselves. Find projectmmh.org
online or Jimmy Wayne’s other charity HomeBase Youth Services
HomeBase Youth Services
is a non-profit organization founded in 1991 to address the growing needs of at-risk and homeless youth age twentyone and younger. The programs offered include Street Outreach, Mobile Medical Outreach, Employment and Life Skills Training, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Care, a Resource Center, a Transitional Living Program, and an Independent Living Program. HomeBase Youth Services provides real life solutions to the physical, mental and emotional abuse and neglect these youth have suffered for far too long.