When Dave began thinking of how to give back to his community, he learned about the need for foster parents and decided to go all in. That was how he could help make a difference!
During the training, he learned about the challenges he might encounter when caring for a foster child. And, when he received information on his first foster child – Danny – he began to worry. Could he handle a child with some of the behaviors he learned about? He wasn’t sure.
He stopped by The Village on his way home from the dog groomer to return Danny’s file and tell them he’d like to wait for a less challenging kid. When he handed the file to the social worker, she asked if he would like to meet Danny. Sure, thought Dave, what’s the harm? It was a hot day, so he went to let his dog out of the car. Before he knew it, the dog broke free and ran.
Dave ran after him, finally catching up to him playing with a 10-year-old boy in The Village’s courtyard. The two were having a blast, and Dave was relieved. That’s when he learned that the boy was Danny.
“That was it,” Dave said. “I knew he was already a member of the family.”
Danny had been removed from his home because his mother was unable to raise her children while she suffered from addiction. Even though his home life wasn’t ideal, Danny was terrified when social workers picked him up after school one day and told him he couldn’t go home. He was only seven years old.
Danny spent time with a foster family, but it didn’t work out and he found himself waiting for another family at The Village’s residential program for kids. Given the difficult situation he came from, and the transitions he had to go through in his young life, Danny sometimes displayed challenging behaviors. He learned coping skills while at The Village, and found the nurturing and support he needed from Dave.
“There were times that I can remember when I probably wasn’t the easiest child to have, but Everald [Danny’s nickname for Dave] was definitely patient with me in times like those,” said Danny.
For Dave, Danny turned out to be just the family he was looking for. “There’s so much joy in doing this, in watching this kid grow. He makes it easy to love him.”
Dave enjoyed being a foster dad so much that he eventually adopted Danny and went on to foster even more children. And he’s still going strong!
Danny just welcomed his own son into the world and is eager to share with him all of the valuable lessons he learned from Dave.
“Evarald definitely taught me some virtues that have made me a better person. Without him, I honestly don’t know what I would look like today.”