“I remember two foster homes I stayed in between the time I was in [the foster care system] and when I was adopted. … I basically just moved from house to house until my mom adopted me now,” Freedom said. “I was adopted when I was 3.”
Now, Freedom, 17, is a senior at Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School in Sandy Springs and lives in Ellenwood with her adoptive parents, Kay and Michael Wright. She also lives with her birth brother, Xavier, 19.
“My brother was adopted first and then I was adopted two years later,” Freedom said.
As a member of the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta, Freedom is required to create a Gold Award project.
She said the mission of her project, the Free Your Mind Backpack Drive, is to collect as many new or gently used backpacks as possible between now and the end of September, and to donate them to the Foster Care Support Foundation, an organization in [with] which she volunteers.
When she met with foundation founder and Executive Director Rachel Ewald and Development Director Erica Borucki, Freedom asked what young foster children need most.
“[They] flat out told me backpacks. … My goal is to get between 250 and 300 backpacks,” she said. “I just know what it’s like not having every single thing that I feel other people may take advantage of, that they don’t ever think of not having.”
The foundation serves about 3,000 foster kids a year, providing them with goods like clothes and toys, according to Ewald, who said they served more than 30,000 children since 2000.
“They come in with nothing but the clothes on their back,” she said.
Kay Wright said her daughter recently became more comfortable talking about being in foster care and that Freedom finds it rewarding to give back.
“She is a success story from the Fulton County foster care system,” she said. “I think she will always give back to that community.”
In fact, Freedom said she plans to continue to volunteer with any organizations supporting youth in foster care or other children in foster care while she is in college.
“With guidance and support for a community, children and youth in foster care are capable of realizing their fullest human potential,” Freedom said. “I don’t want to stop after this project.”
Information: To donate, call (770) 641-9591 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.