Raise The Future is the experts in making connections for children living in foster care.
BRITT MORENO: I'm Britt Moreno. We are getting ready for our annual Day for Wednesday's Child. And this is the day that we celebrate the families made through adoption out of foster care. Joining us now is Lauren Arnold, executive director of Raise the Future. Lauren, you all are really the experts at making these connections for kids in foster care. Tell us, how do you make this happen?
LAUREN ARNOLD: You know, connections-- or really relationships, is what we're talking about-- aren't built by snapping our fingers, right? We make this all happen by developing relationships one step and one bit at a time. And we do that in a couple of different ways for our kids.
The first thing we do is take is work with our kids and our youth to identify people that are already in their lives and see if we can deepen and strengthen those relationships. So it might be an auntie, an uncle, a coach, a former teacher or neighbor. You know, really trying to take those relationships and say, how can we help strengthen that and deepen that?
But the other thing that we do-- and we do that with so much help from you, from CBS and so many others-- is really also introduce our youth to new adults that can become part of their lives and can form relationships over time. So therefore, Wednesday's Child is one of those great events that brings awareness to the cause and allows adults and people out there to learn a little bit more about youth in foster care, become trained, and see if we can develop a connection with a youth over time.
BRITT MORENO: What do these relationships look like, Lauren? Does it always culminate in adoption?
LAUREN ARNOLD: You know, adoption is a wonderful thing that can happen for our youth, but we know that in the modern world, relationships are fluid in terms of what they're called and what they look like on a piece of paper. So what we know at the core is that the relationships are really about heart, about soul, about having a person and somebody who's there no matter what.
And so those relationships can be mentorships. They can be, you know, you've got somebody to call. They can be you're part of the family, but there's not a piece of paper behind it, right? And they can go to guardianship. They can go to adoption. There's so many different forms, but at the core, they're all the same. And they're about that human connection and that human commitment to a child.
BRITT MORENO: You know, you mentioned all these different types of relationships. Why is a connection like this so important for a young person?
LAUREN ARNOLD: Oh, gosh. Well, you know, coronavirus and the pandemic has taught all of us so deeply the power and the need for human connection, just for all of us. And so that's 20-fold or 100-fold more important for our youth, because connections-- and adult connections, in particular-- are how youth define their sense of self, how they learn how to navigate the world, and how they have that safety net to launch, and to take risks, and to grow and have hope for the future. And so connection is everything for our youth. It's how they build and become the adults and the wonderful people that they can become.
BRITT MORENO: And what do we all need to be thinking about this year as we go into our Day for Wednesday's Child?
LAUREN ARNOLD: Well, I think this year, it's just so much more important than ever. Again, because of coronavirus and because of pandemic, we realize the importance and the urgency of human connection and human relationships. So I hope that everyone will always remember that.
But going into the day, we always ask that people think of three things-- champion, invite, invest. Become our champions. Go out there and spread the word about this work and about youth in foster care. Invite others to join the cause. Share it on social media. Invite others to watch on the day or to learn more about our youth. And then, obviously, this work doesn't happen, unfortunately, without money. So being able to invest-- invest your time, invest your dollars-- that would be great.
BRITT MORENO: All three very important things. Thank you so much, Lauren. We always appreciate you talking to us. And thank you for speaking up for these kids.
LAUREN ARNOLD: Thank you so much, Britt, and thank you so much to CBS for your partnership over the years.
BRITT MORENO: Well, we love having it with you. And remember, everybody, you can see it Wednesday. Day for Wednesday's Child runs from 4:30 in the morning to 10:30 at night, and we certainly hope to see you then as well.