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The Minnesota Department of Human Services and county social service agencies are recognizing the commitment of foster families at two events during May, Foster Care Month. The events are designed to celebrate the efforts of those who care for children in crisis and help them safely reunite with their birth families or move on to other safe, nurturing, permanent families.
“In Minnesota, thousands of children are in foster care,” said Minnesota Department of Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson. “When they are hurt and struggling, foster families open their homes and care for them. These events make it possible for us to extend our appreciation to foster families and to provide information to those thinking about becoming foster parents, particularly for teenagers and large sibling groups.”
The events are:
Third Annual Celebrate Foster Families event with the Minnesota Stars professional soccer team on May 5 at 7:30 p.m. at the National Sports Center in Blaine, Minn. The event is sponsored by The Sanneh Foundation, a not-for-profit corporation that uses soccer to unite diverse communities and help underserved children achieve success on and off the field, and supported by the Minnesota Stars, Anoka, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey and Scott Counties, and the Minnesota Department of Human Services. The event includes:
- 4:45-5:15 p.m.: Check in, raffle sign up, face painting and other entertainment for children
- 5:30-6:15 p.m.: Picnic with complimentary hot dogs, chips, cupcakes and drinks
- 6:15-7:15 p.m.: Free soccer clinic for youth with world class soccer player Tony Sanneh, founder and executive director of The Sanneh Foundation
- 7:30 p.m.: Minnesota Stars vs. Atlanta Silverbacks
Food and entertainment sponsors include Cake on Wheels, City and County Credit Union, Joy of the People, National Sports Center, Rocket55, UCare and Wendy’s.
“This is the third year that we are honored to recognize the gift that foster parents give to all of us,” said Sanneh. “The Sanneh Foundation is proud to show its support for foster families. Community-building starts with caring for our children; and that’s what we’re trying to do by encouraging them to enjoy activities, such as soccer games and other activities offered during this celebration.”
Minnesota Stars FC Chief Executive Officer Djorn R. Buchholz expressed the team’s support as well. “The Minnesota Stars FC is honored to do our part to show appreciation for the foster families who care for Minnesota youth,” he said. “The Sanneh Foundation is doing great things in the community and we are looking forward to providing a great night of entertainment on May 5 when these important contributions to our community are celebrated.”
Second Annual Celebrate Foster Families event with the St. Paul Saints on May 20 at 1:05 p.m. at Midway Stadium in St. Paul, Minn. Sponsored by the St. Paul Saints, and supported by Anoka, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey and Scott Counties, and the Minnesota Department of Human Services, the event will include:
- 10 a.m.-1 p.m.: Opportunity for foster families to picnic on their own outdoors before the game and enter into a free raffle drawing; parking lot opens at 10 a.m.
- 1 p.m.: Pre-game ceremony honoring foster families on the field with ceremonial first pitches thrown out by foster parents
- 1:05 p.m.: St. Paul Saints vs. Gary Southshore RailCats; an interview focused on foster care will air during the fourth inning of the game on 1220 AM radio
- Immediately following the game: Opportunity for children to run the bases and get autographs from St. Paul Saints players
“We are honored to host a special day for foster families,” said St. Paul Saints Executive Vice President and General Manager Derek Sharrer, “not only to show our appreciation for all that they do but to encourage other families to consider caring for children in crisis through foster care.”
County foster care experts will be on hand at information tables throughout both events to answer questions and distribute information to those interested in becoming foster parents. More information about becoming a foster parent is also available from county social service agencies.
Editor’s note: Foster parents and foster care experts are available for interviews. Contact Beth Voigt, Minnesota Department of Human Services, (651) 431-3833.