It’s certainly not funny that hundreds of children in Central Texas need homes because they've lost their families, but a lighthearted campaign by area nonprofit The Settlement Home for Children is raising awareness about foster care and adoption.
"We can get the word out there into the community that we are an agency that's really looking to place older kids and sibling groups, and find homes and families," Monica Kelly, placement coordinator for the Foster and Adoption program at Settlement Home for Children, said.
In the next couple of weeks, a campaign will roll messages onto billboards across Central Texas and notes into mailboxes informing the population about the gift of a foster family. Organizers say it’s an effort to make a difference in the lives of teens and sibling groups without a home.
"I think a lot of people have misconceptions about what it's like to have a teen in your home," Cheree Willis, a foster mother, said. "I've seen from experience what giving them a family actually does for their self-esteem, and for them feeling stable."
She's currently is fostering six children, three of whom are teenagers. For the last year and a half, she has opened her home and offered stability for teenaged foster children who, before now, have had a hard time staying in one place.
"We really want to be able to give these kids a second chance and to be able to change their lives and change the foster and adoptive parents’ lives as well," Monica said.
Cheree says it's changed her life for the better.
"I enjoy what they do and I feel like I'll always have my doors open to fostering other kids," Cheree said.
If you're interested in becoming a foster or adoptive parent, the Settlement Home offers a free orientation about getting involved. The next orientation is Dec. 28 from 6-8pm. For more information visit SettlementHome.org.