Those of us who have experienced foster care firsthand know that the holidays can be a painful reminder of lost connections. That’s why ACTION Ohio works with our allies each year to host early Thanksgiving dinners for foster care teens (ages 14+) and alumni (ages 18+).
This annual celebration began in 2007, and has continued ever since. As former foster youth ourselves, we want our brothers and sisters of the system to know that they always have a seat at the table for Thanksgiving. Here is a link to a video that captures some of our Thanksgiving Together memories.
Due to COVID-19, Thanksgiving Together 2020 took place virtually. This year’s theme was Recipes for Success, and we gathered together in four separate Zooms to share:
- Cooking Tips on Saturday, Nov. 14 at 11 am
- What No One Ever Told Me About Relationships on Sunday, Nov. 15 at 1 pm
- College Survival Strategies on Saturday, Nov. 21 at 11 am
- What No One Ever Told Me About the Workplace on Sunday, Nov. 22 at 1 pm
Cooking Tips were shared on Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020 at 11 am: Foster care alumni Antonio Sledge of Le Sledge Catering did a wonderful job as lead facilitator of the Thanksgiving Together Cooking Zoom, and we are looking forward to future partnerships between Chef Kibby and CSCC, OSU and Scholar House 3.
- How to cook a turkey ~ Antonio Sledge
- How to make deviled eggs ~ Cloe Cooper
- How to make mashed potatoes ~ Cloe Cooper
- How to make green bean casserole and sweet potato casserole ~ Aliyah Tucker
Relationship Tips were shared on Sunday, Nov. 15, at 1 pm: Olena Sowers shared awesome insights, Donte Woods-Spikes offered ally support, and insights were shared by all participants, including authors Ruth-Ann Jones Thompson and Deanna Jones. Here is a summary of the Top Five Relationship Tips that were shared.
Higher Education was the focus on Saturday, Nov. 21, at 11 am. Participants discussed resources, partnerships and strategies to continue to work together to help improve post-secondary outcomes for young adults with a foster care history. Here’s a link to the Top 10 College Survival Strategies and Top 5 High School Tips that were shared.
Workplace Tips were shared on Sunday, Nov. 22, at 1 pm: Amber Dudsak did an excellent job of facilitating the conversation. Cloe Cooper of FAN and Jaye Turner of El’lesun shared about Project PASSION. Here are links to Workplace Tips that were shared, Living Wage per Ohio County and how current/former Ohio foster youth can apply for workforce attire through Project PASSION.
Participants were also invited to share:
- their insights regarding the topic we are discussing
- their goals for the future
- their proudest accomplishments during this complicated year
- someone or something they are thankful for
- if they want to do a “virtual show and tell” of their dorm or first apartment
The 2020 Thanksgiving Together gatherings were made possible thanks to Rita Soronen, the National Council of Jewish Women: Columbus Section, Jenny Stotts, Andi Atwood, Randi Lewis, Ruth-Ann Jones Thompson, Jenny Pokempner, and Val Bairnsfather of Safe Pastures.
We are also deeply grateful for an individual youth sponsorship that was made available, thanks to Kristin Gilbert, Crystal Ward Allen, Dora Sterling, Robin and Ashley Williams.
We welcome, and deeply appreciate our sponsors.
Donations can be sent to our fiscal agent:
Ohio Children’s Alliance
Attn: ACTION Ohio
2600 Corporate Exchange Drive, Suite 180
Columbus OH 43231
If you wish to make an online donation, please visit this link, and choose Action Ohio.
Ohio Children’s Alliance’s Federal Tax ID #: 34-1168205
Please reach out to us if you would like to be one of our planning partners in the future.
If you have questions about any of our programs, or desire to get involved, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org