Katy residents Leah Martinez and Monty Ortiz created the Fostering Success Foundation in the summer of 2018 to support children and young adults in foster care.
In 2015, while navigating the foster-to-adopt journey, the couple began to see the needs within the foster care system and truly wanted to help.
They noticed that the 42,000 children in foster care across the nation were being overlooked and lacked information and opportunities to prepare themselves for the future.
Texas alone is home to 1,200 children who “age-out” of the foster care system at age 18 each year. They are often unequipped with the life skills, support and resources to become well-adjusted, healthy adults.
With 1,400 Texas teens waiting for adoption, many of them are placed multiple times, moving from home to home, and will age out without a stable family to go to for support and guidance.
Ortiz, Martinez and the Fostering Success Foundation work to fill the developmental gaps for these children.
With the help of generous donations, the foundation works with group homes, placement agencies and transitional organizations to provide children and young adults with the assistance, education and love they need.
“Our goal is to prepare these children for independence and adulthood,” explains Ortiz. “We want to help make the transition as easy as possible.”
The Foundation created the PAL program, (Preparation for Adult Living), to help mentor and guide foster youth into productive adult lives.
The program focuses on six main topics: Health and Safety, Housing and Transportation, Job Readiness, Financial Management, Life Decisions and Responsibilities, and Personal and Social Relationships. By focusing on these areas, foster youth gain an understanding of how to responsibly move forward in life.
Fostering Success holds a College Bound School Supply Drive to help foster youth with college-specific school supplies as they transition into college life.
The Wish List Holiday Gift Drive provides gifts, lots of love and support for the children and young adults who do not have families with whom to share the holiday season.
The foundation also provides New Beginnings Boxes, filled with essential items for a new home, to help young adults transition into independent living.
Ortiz also explained that one major goal of the foundation is to offer housing in the Katy area for foster children. “There is nothing in the area that provides transitional housing for the young adults, and there is a real need for this kind of facility,” he said.
The foundation continues to raise funds toward this goal. In April, Fostering Success had a vendor table at the Wild West Brew Fest to raise awareness and accept donations from the generous Katy community.
The foundation has also partnered with El Canton Firewood Pizzeria to do an ongoing fundraiser. Ten percent of all purchases will support the Fostering Success Foundation every second Tuesday of each month.
The 1st Annual 26.2 Meter Micro- Marathon, the Fostering Success Foundation’s upcoming fundraising event, will be held on August 31 at No Label Brewing Co.
The event will include food trucks and live entertainment, and a $25 donation will provide participants with a t-shirt, a custom race bib, a commemorative glass, and two free drinks.
The foundation boasts that while marathons and half marathons are great, this event, a short and sweet 85.96 foot race, will be a “race for the rest of us”.
Visit www.fosteringsuccessfoundation.org to register for the micro-marathon, look for other upcoming events and donate to the foundation.