In the fast-paced world of profits, losses and competition, the commonly held belief is that the government, faith and family can help foster children, but not the business world. Indiana Kids Belong (IKB) is privileged to have a front row seat to a still-unfolding story that serves as a wonderful repudiation of this myth.
Alex is a 17-year-old kid in Indiana’s foster care system who we (IKB) met at one of our I Belong Project™ video shoots. IKB produced this video to allow Alex to share his story and discuss his dreams about having a family and what he wants for his future.
In the video Alex mentions his interest and talent for computers and his dream to have his own software company. The founder and president of A&G Marketing in Indianapolis, Angie Commorato, saw Alex’s video and reached out to IKB via Facebook. Angie was impressed with Alex and his knack for working with computers. “I got my first computer at eight. I was fascinated with it, just like Alex,” she said. Angie asked IKB if she could offer Alex an internship.
With the cooperation of Alex’s family case manager at the Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS), IKB arranged a virtual interview between Alex and Angie. To no one’s surprise, Angie was very impressed and Alex got the job! Only one problem: While Alex’s foster family had Wi-Fi in the home there wasn’t a computer available for him to do his work.
IKB decided that this was a perfect opportunity for the Dream Makers Project to step in and help. Paula Hoogland, the director of the Dream Makers Project at America’s Kids Belong, jumped at the chance. “If Alex’s dream is about computers, and if Angie is willing to invest in Alex to make it happen, Dream Makers can fill the technology gap,” Hoogland said. Evansville engineering firm Lochmueller Group funded a brand-new laptop for Alex through Dream Makers, and just a couple of weeks later Alex was off and running with a computer software project and a mentor, Angie.
Of his work so far, Angie says, “Alex has been doing a great job. He is showing a lot of initiative, which I find very impressive. He is very good at listening, he absorbs everything, and he is much like my internal project manager who stays on me to keep tasks on target!”
Scott Lewis, Alex’s Family Case Manager, added, “Every time I see him, he is talking about the website project and how much he enjoys it!”
Why do we refer to this as a still-unfolding story? Alex is legally-free for adoption from Indiana’s foster care system. He needs a family with whom he can share all of life’s challenges, dreams and loves, including video production, social media and country music. It is way too early to know the impact this internship will have on Alex, but he will undoubtedly be touched for life by the willingness of unlikely strangers from two businesses who made an investment in his future.
How much more impact for Alex would result from a lifelong connection with an adoptive family? Check out how you can help him or other Indiana kids waiting to #BELONG: www.americaskidsbelong.org/in and www.indianaadoptionprogram.org. For more information about the Dream Makers Project: www.dreammakersproject.org