Melissa T. Parks is the founder and executive director of Art&Soul Dreams- Every Child is a Work of Art.
I was moved to action once I saw the images and read the stories of 17 foster children on my way home from vacation in Rhode Island(2015)! I would like to introduce you to Art&Soul Dreams. Art&Soul quietly seizes one’s attention, opens hearts and inspires thoughts and actions from a positive beautiful viewpoint in a traveling photo exhibit of adoptable foster children. Children are SEEN not as “those” kids but as OUR kids. They need us. NOW.
In under two years, Art&Soul is gaining the attention of those who can affect change in dealing with the pressing issue for adoptable foster children. When I started the mission for Art&Soul, I had no idea where this would end up. Now that we are here, it is amazing how far we have come in a short time, but also comes the realization of how far there is to go. This movement starts with awareness of SEEingadoptable foster children. This is an imperative to finding nurturing, loving homes and forever families. That is why our traveling photo exhibit works. We partner with award winning local photographers and two agencies, Orchards Children’s Services and Judson Center.
Recently at the Detroit Institute of Arts printmaking workshop, one of the foster children, was asked to imagine where she will be in 10, 20 or 50 years, her response was, “I am going to be a bum on the street. I am locked up and will always be locked up. No one is going to adopt us.” I wake up every morning with her words etched on my heart and work to help others SEE.
This is not a plea for governmental dollars. That isn’t the whole solution. Knowledgeable PEOPLE made aware of the issue are also an essential part of the answer. THEY will be the ones that ultimately choose to alter the course of a foster child. Here is where you can play a role by:
·Host the exhibit within a building allowing it to be seen by a large audience
·Encourage private businesses within Michigan to host the exhibit
·Encourage private individuals, businesses and corporations to support Art&Soul’s mission through charitable donations
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