ISF, in partnership with the Children’s Home Society of Florida (CHS), volunteered to sponsor dinner for the Tallahassee Area Foster and Adoptive Parent Association (TAFAPA) June meeting. Cyndy Loomis, ISF CEO and CHS Board Member, served dinner from Panda Express with the help of Rachel Tullius, ISF Proposal Writer, and Tia Washington, CHS Foster Home Management.
TAFAPA provides services and support to Big Bend area foster parents, relatives, and agencies involved. A monthly meeting for the association is held every fourth Tuesday from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Early Learning Coalition in the Northwood Center in Tallahassee. Meetings are open to current and future foster and/or adoptive parents and their families. A new guest speaker presents at each meeting, covering topics such as trauma informed care, graduation requirements for high school students, new state testing for grades 3 – 12, educational updates for reading, science, and math at home, Medicaid MMA plan, and information regarding the Early Learning Coalition and its resources.
The guest speaker at the June 23 meeting was Kathy Powell with the Parents of the Panhandle Information Network (POPIN), presenting “An Introductory Workshop for Parents of Children with Special Needs.” This month’s topic also highlighted POPIN’s Dadvocates program, a group of dads that promotes the involvement of fathers in the lives of their children with disabilities.
Cyndy and Rachel are pictured with adoptive parents Dr. Thomas and Sherri Croom. Dr. Croom is on the board of the State Foster Association as well as the CEO and President of Go Foster!, Inc. Right now, in the Florida panhandle, there is a list of foster children in need of homes, Go Foster aims to eliminate that list and provide a network of homes so large that there is a waiting list for parents instead of children in need.
This was ISF’s first time sponsoring the dinner, which served a total of 25 parents and 36 children. Tia of CHS told ISF, “Everyone enjoyed every moment and I can’t count how many times someone said that was the best meal provided.”
The children, especially, were grateful for the abundance of food. One child, about 12-years-old, got in line to grab dinner plates for himself and his younger brother. Smiling from ear-to-ear, he personally gave a great heartfelt thank you to both Cyndy and Rachel. “That is really sweet; not many kids would think of that.” Cyndy told him after he thanked her for providing dinner to everyone.
“He gave us such a sweet, genuine smile as he waved goodbye to us when we left. It was the most heartwarming moment of the evening.” Rachel said.
After the meeting, there was enough food leftover that ISF was able to provide 15 large to-go boxes of food for the families to take home.