Updates from the 2013 FLOC Gala

September 23, 2013

Our beautiful FLOC gala has come and gone, and oh what a wonderful event it was. Thank you so very much for all the community support and for the overflow of donations that helped raise nearly $60,000 for our kids in need. We have now raised over a half of a million dollars, with everything but the nominal rent and overhead for our offices going into our programming- and oh, how exciting it was to have so many people gathered for such an important purpose. I’ll give you an overview of the emotional journey that has been FLOC for the past year, and a summary of an incredibly uplifting community event that was the 2013 gala.

In this past year, FLOC has served a dozen (done on a monthly basis) Grant-a-Wish requests, having sent children to camps, to classes, to different parts of our country. Each request holds a special place in our heart, and we are honored to make many dreams come true for so many children. We are able to offer this magic because of the generosity of our community.

Our FLOC Boutique continues to serve hundreds of our youth with beautiful formal wear, purses, makeup, and jewelry for their Winter Ball and any formal event where these items are needed. We have hairdressers, make up artists and limousines set for a Cinderella moment.

We have held two seminars for our Baby Safe and Sound Program, educating young parents on the skills needed for baby safety and offering much needed baby supplies. Another seminar was scheduled for September 21st, 2013. This program offers much needed information and education to young parents who need it to care for their own.

Our Comfort a Child Program has become very widespread in our community. There are wonderful donations being made for the children who come into care with little or no comfort items. Donations can be made to the Talbott Tower, 10am-3pm, with immediate disbursement made to children being put into foster care. Things like new blankets, teddy bears, slippers, shoes, sweat suits- any and all things that make life a little warmer- please donate for our children who need it most.

Our longitudinal study is incredibly successful. Fifteen children from Northmont, Centerville and Wayne schools respectively have been chosen for their academic talent; we have gathered on a monthly basis to assess tutoring/mentoring needs. We also provide their academic supplies throughout the year. Seven of our fifteen students have gone up a letter grade- one became student of the month at her school. Eventually, these students will become our pool of potential college scholarship recipients. De Paul University is documenting our progress year by year.

The Betsy Hoobler Skill Center is where we have been meeting with the kids in our study; we have 25+computers, and academic supplies and all kinds of resources available here. We’re also starting a tutoring program here in the fall, as well as a homework completion program.

We’re also (whew! Lots of stuff going on!) starting a new Read to Me Program at our Skill Center- with a group of students learning to read together and as individuals. In addition, we will be teaching to the GED for adults who need these classes in order to graduate from high school.

Birthday Club continues- having been started after our first gala, where monies were appropriated for foster children who needed to have their birthdays recognized and celebrated. Every month we send out 50+ birthday greetings.

And finally, over the past two years we have sprinkled Christmas magic on 2600+ children in our area who would not have been able to share in the joy of the holidays otherwise. It is humbling, it is fulfilling, it is heart changing what we at FLOC are able to do for our area children with your most generous and kind support, Dayton. We thank you for allowing us the joy of giving the gift of love and appreciation to a population of children who need it most.

OK- on to our gala! Such a wonderful turn out, and so many new people to meet- it was a beautiful day (very VERY grateful for that!)

We had wonderful speakers at our gathering. Darren Staten, a former foster child who now works with Children’s Services talked about the number of kids he has taken into our Boutique. He described how disinterested the kids were on the trip into Dayton, and how invigorated they were after seeing and shopping in our Boutique. Darren said they were different people on the way home- they were inspired and excited that people cared enough to give them that opportunity to shop for something special that would be their own.

Carol Griesdorn, our FLOC liaison with Children’s Services shed light on just what happens behind the scenes with our Duffle Bag project. Carol described a Christmas scene wherein an eight year old was being removed from his home; it was Christmas Eve. When Carol gave the little boy the duffle bag, the little boy looked up at her with tears in his eyes and said, “wow, is this my Christmas present?” Heartbreaking, but beautific that we can make this impossibly sad scenario a bit more dignified.

Our longitudinal study children were introduced; Maria, Andrew and Lilly (our study student) Powell presented. Their message was the following; they were very concerned about how Lilly was going to proceed through her 3rd grade year, given some difficulties with her reading abilities. They were very worried about the Lilly’s ability to pass the necessary testing taking place to determine forward movement to the fourth grade.  Andrew could not have been more complimentary in his gratitude towards our support and efforts made through our FLOC journey. He specifically referred to the generous and amazing tutorial experience that Lilly has shared with my mom, Betsy Hoobler. Andrew stated that my mom and FLOC have changed Lilly’s life, and that her success has been made because of our influence. A very beautiful moment in our gala.

E’Imani Evans, a recent Grant a Wish recipient gave us great thanks for her recent trip to Washington DC. E’Imani was just returned to her home, having been removed over the past six months. She talked about how much she had missed her siblings and her bed, and how nice it was to come home. E’Imani went to see our nation’s capital, having never been away on vacation, and she swam in a pool for the first time ever. It was a very moving testimony of her young life.

Kristie Miller from the Mall at Fairfield Commons came up to present FLOC with a check for $10,000. The Mall had a fundraiser for us. The stores put aside a two-week time limit in order to come up with the maximum donation of $10,000. They hit this limit within six days. Kristie said, “This fundraiser was almost TOO successful”. We at FLOC could not be more humbled or more thankful.

We thanked the sponsors who gave so generously to our gala; we thanked the UD Women’s Soccer team who is so greatly supportive of our efforts; we thanked the large crowd of people gathered in unison to better serve our area children in need. It was an inspiring day, filled with stories of the heart and a community who is listening and responding with love.

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