This year, the Interact service project will be donating to a California based organization called the Camellia Network. With 80 foster youth aging out* every day, the Camellia Network connects youth to individuals and companies that can provide much needed financial and emotional support.
The Camellia Network was founded in 2010 by friends Isis Dallis Keigwin and Vanessa Diffenbaugh, the latter being a foster mother herself. In 2011, these two women, along with the help of early investors, launched a very successful pilot program, laying the groundwork for the soon-to-be Camellia Network.
This organization provides foster youth who have aged out of the foster care system a unique way to connect to individuals and companies who can provide support and even career opportunities.Aged out youth register on the Camellia Network and build a profile, much like a Facebook account with photos, accomplishments, and a list of requested items ranging from a microwave to higher education aid. Anyone can view and donate to an individual’s registry,* as well as post words of encouragement. Most profiles are updated frequently, so supporters can stay updated on their beneficiaries’ progress.
As a result, the Camellia Network has helped 273 youth to date, helping foster youth on to a level playing field to succeed in their endeavors. Oprah has heralded it as “The Social Network that Changes Lives,” and support from Chevron have helped in gaining attention to the foundation.
If financial donations are not feasible, just raising awareness for the issue of aging out and the Camellia Network are much appreciated. However, there are always going to be more foster kids who age out, and thus, the need will never lessen. Your support will give foster youth the tools they need to compete on the same level as their peers to meet their full potential.
And here are a few examples of foster youth on the network that we plan to help this year:
C. Cloud- “Christian Cloud” has received the Rotary Foundation Grant Scholarship for the 2014-15 academic year!
Kathleen – wants to be a doctor
Sibley – wants to be a chemical engineer
Olajuwon – wants to be a teacher overseas
Jordan- wants to be a probation/social worker