Posted by Daria Brown on Jul 24, 2017
North Notes
Spokane North Rotary Club Bulletin
July 24, 2017
           Welcome to Rotary Exchange students Maria Barricart from Barcelona, Spain and Mareisa Sjoberg, of Spokane.  Coordinator Chris Lynch introduced them at the July 24 luncheon. 
Transforming lives - One Child at a Time
           Alene Alexander, the Executive Director of Embrace Washington, joined us to discuss the mission of Embrace Washington which focuses on three key areas:
                     *  Foster Children to feel loved
                     *  Foster Parents to feel Supported
                     *  Social Workers to feel Blessed
            She shared some background information such as each foster child averages 2 placement changes.  1 in 5 will be homeless within a year of aging out. In Spokane, 90 children a month go into care.  Historically, less than 50% of foster children graduate from high school.  Embrace Washington was formed to change the face of foster care and assist “foster children and their families to build healthy memories and experiences which allow kids to feel loved and stable in an uncertain time in their lives.”
           The Organization was co-founded only a couple of years ago by Kevin Parker who wanted to make a difference in the lives of foster children.  They went from serving 40 children in Spokane County during the first year to over 1,000 children to date in 13 counties.  The Organization steps in to provide for the needs of a foster child by purchasing new beds, providing educational support, paying for summer camp, sports or music funding and more.  They also hold events throughout the year for foster parents/families and social workers.
           They have provided over 2000 welcome boxes to children who are waiting in the DSHS office.  “Duffles for Darlings” has provided over 900 decorated duffel bags for foster children to use instead of trash bags to transport their belongings.
           They are not supported by any state or federal funding.  Funding for all the programs primarily come from two yearly fundraising events: The Backwoods Flannel Ball in March and a September breakfast event.         
The bulletin producers:
          Bulletin editors:  Daria Brown and Sandy Fink
          Photo:Sandy Fink
          Program coordinator: Brad Stark