'Smart, beautiful, important:' Empower Me Foster Walk highlights achievements of WI foster system

MILWAUKEE -- From stability to support, local organizations do so much to help children in foster care transition and live happy, productive lives. The Empower Me Foster Walk on Saturday, May 4 helped raise funds and awareness for the foster home community.

Gathered at Lakeshore State Park, foster children and families were celebrated.

Empower Me Foster Walk

Jameelah A. Love

"So many times, foster youth feel alone," said Jameelah A. Love, an event organizer.

On Saturday, they were far from alone.

"Smart, beautiful and important," said Santana Lee, a foster parent.

The children once in need were surrounded by hope as the Empower Me Foster Walk highlighted their resiliences. The event also helped create awareness about youth in the system.

Empower Me Foster Walk

Santana Lee

"Recently, we reached 8,000 foster youth in the Wisconsin foster care system, and over 500,000 foster care youth in America," said Love.

To address that staggering number, folks took to the lakefront path, hoping to aid in a better journey for some.

"If we bring more light to the positive stuff that's going on in foster care, then people would be more open to helping support the foster youth," said Love.

Empower Me Foster Walk

As a foster parent, Lee knows firsthand about the guidance needed to help everyone adapt. She's recently become an adoptive mother.

"Learn who they are on a personal level," said Lee. "Build a relationship; then, you get to see the guards come down and the true selves come out."

As a former foster child, Love realizes how important it is for everyone to have the proper tools.

"Emotional support -- that comes with guidance," said Love.

Empower Me Foster Walk


Sixteen-year-old Tamya Johnson credits local outreach organizations with helping her cope and grow.

"It's good that we have a lot of resources like her to advocate, to help us express ourselves better," said Johnson.

After five years in the system, she's elated about being adopted.

"I love my new family," said Johnson. "It's like, Oh my God, it's overwhelming -- like a good overwhelming. I love it, I'm happy, I'm excited. I can't wait."

Bright futures are on the horizon, and events like these help provide the foster system with the resources they need to help kids and families. If you would like to help support the children, the parents or the cause, you can click HERE.