Foster Care Month–FCAA Ambassadorship

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WOW! It’s mid May already and I am on the road touring like a fiend! I have started several times to blog while we have been touring but quickly get crosseyed and have to go to sleep… ahhh the road! We started traveling back in late April. Been from Texas to Louisiana, Memphis at the Beale Street Music Festival and then the Blues Music Awards!!! Casey Family Programs is a sponsor for the BMA’s so EVERYBODY was wearing the National Foster Care Month blue lapel pins and there was a lot of talk about foster youth during the whole evening’s festivities—the best blues party of the year and there was foster care front and center!!!! Foster Care Alumni of America (FCAA) had a slide show of youth-created post cards that ran during the whole nite—very, very cool!

Right after the BMA’s FCAA made the announcement that they have appointed ME as their Ambassador! Blows my mind and I am hugely humbled to have been given this honor! I feel like I am now “officially two fisted” with foster care concerns… hahahha! This came on the heels of the Obama Administration stepping up to the plate on behalf of foster youth to proclaim NFCM an official national celebration! This is amazing. I have to tell you it just makes my heart swell with pride even further to be alumni, spokesperson for National Foster Care Month AND ambassador for FCAA! OK…left hook for youth in care as spokesperson for NFCM and right hook for FCAA! Lookout, cause I got Irish blood and I CAN throw a punch!!!

Now we’re out on the East Coast burning it up with my band touring in support of the new Alligator release The Devil is an Angel Too AND talking about National Foster Care Month on every stop we make.

On Wednesday last week I spent some time with my friend Bill Wax talking live on air on XM/Sirius Radio’s Bluesville. Playing music and talking about NFCM and FCAA—how cool is that? Then we rolled over to the fabulous Birchmere in Alexandria, VA, to play a show. FCAA was out en force that night as was Judge Stephen Rideout, who is a tireless advocate in VA for foster youth and children at risk in this country. He trains judges, attorneys and family social service workers to begin to recognize and understand the special needs of foster youth and thereby aid and serve to help us move forward with our lives rather than stay stuck.  He is a great guy and is really putting his time and money where his mouth is. It helps a lot that he is a judge… ; )  We like that a lot!!! Here’s the link to an Alexandria Times article from last week: http://www.alextimes.com/news/2010/may/13/unlikely-combo-of-music-law-aids-foster/

One of the best parts for me about getting to talk about Foster Care Month and Foster Care Alumni of America is that folks really WANT to hear about it. This makes me really happy. Some alumni come up and tell me that it makes them proud to hear what I am saying from the band stand. That’s beautiful, really. Other folks are interested in finding out what they can do to help change the lifetime of a youth at risk in the foster system. It turns out people really do have big hearts. I love to witness that. Some folks come up after the show and talk about their own experiences—Alumni. One fella recently in Baton Rouge talked with me after show and began to cry about the loss of his niece, who had been through the system and really struggled.  She ultimately ended her life leaving several small children. My talking about it onstage brought it to the surface for him and he was shook up, but glad, because it made him realize that he wanted and needed to help those kids that his niece left behind. That is the kind of beauty and love that comes from such tragedy. Certainly all of it in the human condition.

OK gotta run to soundcheck… hope to see you all on the campus somewhere this year!

Love,
Janiva

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