About 60 guests rallied at the BeREAL* site on September 15th for the second annual BeREAL/Foster Parent’s Association Back-to-School party. Nothing says “New Orleans” like music and great food, and the crowd celebrated with shrimp fried rice and fried chicken (a favorite of BeREAL youth) from Louisiana Pride Seafood. Our wonderful BeREAL mentors provided desserts for all. The youth and children played basketball and air hockey, danced, and had many great conversations—with each other and the adults too.
At BeREAL, education is the top priority and main focal point for all of our youth’s future plans and goals. That priority was celebrated with a “Learning Wall,” where every participant had the chance to write or draw what they like to learn about. Everyone, young and old, got into the act. Comments on the Wall ranged from “I like to learn about ANTS,” to “I want to learn how to work with surgeons during an operation.”
As I was driving one of our BeREAL high school seniors home after the party, he said “That was a great party. I loved the people there – the kids – and the adults were great too!” Not often that you hear a high school senior appreciate having adults at a party! It was a good event for everyone involved and an excellent start to the new school year.
* BeREAL (Ready, Educated, Accomplished Leaders), a project of Lutheran Social Services in collaboration with the Louisiana Dept. of Children & Family Services, provides transition services for youth ages 13-25 aging out of Louisiana’s foster care system, through training, support, and mentoring programs.