Question. What is a Family Fest?
Answer: It’s a chance for children in need of an Adoptive or Foster-Adopt family to:
- Be seen by many prospective, pre-approved Foster-Adopt and Adoptive parents,
- To interact with many other children also waiting for a permanent family,
- And to enjoy a wonderful, fun-filled party with prizes, activities, and food!
Question. Who is eligible to attend?
- Any Dependent child age 18 mo -17 years old with a plan of Adoption or a concurrent plan of Adoption that does not have an identified permanent family! (Average ages of children attending is anticipated to be 6-13)
- Any family with a current adoption home study interested in children or youth in this age range, and/or any Washington State licensed foster family interested in adopting children in this age range.
Question. What else is required?
- Prior registration on the quick & easy form attached to this message!
- The referring social worker will need to make transportation arrangements for the child. The Bellevue Breakfast Rotary Club will provide back-up transportation if other arrangements cannot be made.
- Attending families need to provide their own transportation!
Question. What is the role of the Bellevue Breakfast Rotary Club?
Answer. The Bellevue Breakfast Rotary Club is co-sponsoring this event with the Region 2 Office of Adoption and Permanency Planning. BBRC is providing the location, the activities, the prizes, and the food! Rotary volunteers will be on hand throughout the event to insure every child attending has a great time. The Bellevue Breakfast Rotary Club is committed to this annual event to help foster children find lifelong families!
The children who attend the party are in the State foster care system (DSHS) and are cleared for adoption. Their biological parents rights have been legally terminated earlier because of neglect, abuse etc. All prospective parents, who attend, have been screened by the state and are fully qualified to adopt. DSHS makes the arrangements to get the children and prospective parents notified and to the party(now with DSHS budget cuts Rotary Clubs will need to provide some help with transportation of the children). The Rotary clubs function is to put on a organized fun party for the children. The party is designed to get the children, prospective parents, and Rotarian’s to mix in an environment where everyone, but for sure the children, are all having a good time.
In my view at least two significant factors are addressed by a well run and fun “Rotary Adoption Party”. First, at the start when thinking of adoption, many prospective adoptive parents have a mind set of looking for a young child, if not a baby. I know because my wife and I did, many years ago, when we adopted our now school teacher daughter. Second, the “written files” on many of these children would be upsetting or scary to most adults who are looking to adopt but have no knowledge about neglected or abused children and the services available to help both prospective parents and the child.
Seeing the children engaged in fun activities quickly blunts those issues because the prospective adoptive parents watch children (ages 4+ to 16) actively at play or doing crafts or games with adults etc. This reinforces in the prospective parents mind they are seeing children, just like other active children they have seen in there own neighborhood. In effect it breaks down barriers and preconceived thoughts. The Rotary adoption party process does make a significant difference and that is why, in my opinion, the Rotary party adoption rates have been higher than some other organizations, who have programs promoting adoption of foster children.
The other clear benefit to your club is that the members, who participate, will get a huge emotional lift and sense of satisfaction. Many in my club have said its the best project BBRC has ever done and are already looking forward to doing the next years party. A side benefit is, its a great membership recruiting aid for attracting prospective members in there 35’s to 50’s.
Below is my email outline I send out to all in my club about the first of September each year:
BBRC this is a new school year –CALL TO ACTION !!!!.
BBRC will be hosting the 4th Annual Family Fest (Adoption Party) on Saturday morning, Sept 30th 2017. The following are the task/committees that each need a person to lead and find one to three helpers.
I have set out a time line during which each task needs to be completed. My goal is to create a template that can be used by the next BBRC”Adoption chairperson” for future years when planning this event.
For planning purposes assume 30+ children ages 6 to 17(average age 10) who’s natural parents “legal rights” have been terminated, 15 DSHS employees, 40+ pre approved potential adoptive parents and 25 BBRC members including 10 BBRC drivers. BBRC needs a minimum of 10 members for set up from 9am to 11am before the Party, which runs from 11am to 1pm. BBRC will need 10+ members for clean up, which takes less than an hour.
Chairs- task/committees and time line / deadlines
for making an early OCTOBER Party
- May or early June of Year before school is out- Reserve Bellevue Dist. school gym.
- By May 1, –President, President elect, Director of Community Service and Service Project chair identify and appoint Adoption Co Chair persons and establish a tentative budget, based on cost for year earlier.
- June or early July, -the Adoption chairs and 3-4 key past year task/committee members meet with Laurie Mayer of DSHS and review DSHS needs and requirements.
- Between August 1 and 31, – the Adoption Party Co-Chairs send out notice to all BBRC members to solicits their participation and appoints each task/committee chair, with agreement of Director of Community Service or New Generations and Service Project Chair.B BRC -Sign Up NOW–Participate in this fun and very rewarding service!!
- Between August 1 and 31, the Adoption chair solicits BBRC members to be drivers. The goal is to get 20 potential drivers, who may be needed to pick up and return children, if DSHS social workers or Foster parents cannot bring all children to party. Need both male and female members to make up 2 member teams. At same time Adoption co-chair sends out state background check forms for potential BBRC drivers to complete. The completed forms are send by August 31 to Laurie Mayer(DSHS). This year the forms (2) will be sent out by Sayoko with instructions to return them to Chuck Kimbrough
- Donation (prizes,games,food) chair. May 1 to June 1, the chair will call, solicit, fill out applications, write grants etc to get free toys (prizes), games/balls etc, crafts, and food for party. Potential contacts include Target, Toy R US,etc (for prizes, games, crafts, decorations etc). Potential contacts for food include Starbucks(coffee/tea), Costco or Fred Myer or Safeway,etc (Pizzas,Salad makings, fruit (bananas-grapes- easy hand food that’s not messy) and a mixture juice boxes and cold drinks for the half hour lunch in the middle of the party-about noon).
- Games, Crafts, & Decorations chair. September 15 to 25, the chair will make sure enough games, crafts, decorations etc have been donated, if not will purchase them and deliver to Party/Event and solicit helpers. Connie Salvatori, Nancy Kimbrough, Madeline Gauthier, Margie Burnett and others did the tasks in the past and will repeat this year. Mitch &Caryn Freedman also helped with the purchasing of prizes and will help this year. They will need one or two helpers on the day of the party.
- Decorations, table placement, and activity area chair.August 1 to September 15. Make sure to inspect the gym 3-4 weeks in advance, worked out drawing showing areas for prizes, active and passive games, crafts, lunch plus a decoration plan etc. Make sure enough supplies are obtained and recruit BBRC helpers to get everything set up between 9 and 11am on day of party.
- Food and Drink chair. Sept 20-30. Make sure the food is acquired, delivered and set up for lunch ( noon to 12:30pm) (on tables, tub for cold drinks etc). Must coordinate with and may be same person as Donation chair.