EWE Spirit Grant Recipient Story:
Here’s another wonderful new grant recipient we selected for EWE Spirit Foundation’s December 2021 round of grantmaking:
Voices For Children Foundation
Khalid Allahar knocked on the door for 10 minutes before Kevin’s aunt opened it. She’d taken in the energetic little boy and his six siblings after their father killed their mother. Kevin had been only 2 years old at the time. The kids—who were the third generation in their family to be in the foster care system—slept in her garage. The power was out on the day when Khalid came to visit, one of many signs of neglect that he observed.
A Voices For Children Foundation staffer, Khalid had been assigned by the state to be Kevin’s guardian ad litem—someone dedicated to ensuring that the needs of children in foster care are being met. Soon after Kevin met Khalid, the little boy’s cousin lit a bed on fire, causing the entire home to be engulfed in flames. That’s when Kevin and his siblings were removed from their aunt’s care.
The young boy was placed in different homes seven more times throughout his 16 years in foster care. Some of the homes were “cool,” says Kevin, but others were deeply impoverished and abusive. He remembers spending time when he was 9 with an uncle who was “a street guy, a gang leader, and the person I was with the first time I ever saw someone shot and killed. I watched the blood pour out of this man.”
Khalid stood by Kevin’s side from the very beginning, helping him grow into a respectful, smart young man, despite his circumstances. He believed the boy had great potential and bragged about his dedication to sports, particularly football.
“Despite all the turmoil he’s endured,” says Khalid, “I would always find him with a smile on his face. That always inspired me. He reminded me that no matter how rough it gets, you don’t quit. You keep going. That is exactly what Kevin did.”
Just before Kevin aged out of the foster care system, Khalid reunited him with his aunt’s neighbor, who had fed and cared for him as if he were one of her own children when he lived next door. She became Kevin’s “forever family.” He went on to graduate from high school and attend a private college on an athletic scholarship for both football and track, majoring in sports business management. He describes Khalid as one of the most pivotal mentors in his life and still talks to him on a regular basis.
The Voices For Children Foundation trains hundreds of volunteers and staffers to serve as guardians ad litem to help children like Kevin in Miami-Dade County, Florida, break the cycle of poverty, abuse, abandonment and neglect. These mentors not only advocate for children when they go to court and support them through every aspect of the foster care process, but they also make sure they go to school and attend extracurricular activities. They speak to them regularly and take them to lunches and movies to make them feel cared for and valued. Voices For Children provides additional financial support to help new caregivers offer foster children both basic necessities—everything from food and clothing to rent payments and furniture—and other “normal” things, such as karate lessons, basketball camps, summer camps, holiday events and back-to-school events, so these children can grow up feeling like full members of their communities.
The foundation, which currently supports nearly 800 volunteers, served more than 1,000 children in the last year and supported and mentored more than 55 human-trafficking victims. EWE Spirit is proud to be helping this incredible organization continue to help vulnerable children find their ways to a better future.
Note: The client’s name in the above case description was changed to maintain his privacy.