Fostering Grant

T.H.E. sets Fannie Mae funds to parenting effort

by Will O’Bryan
Published on June 16, 2011, 9:08am | Comments

As the old rhyme goes, ''Wednesday's child'' is full of woe. True or not, Wednesday, June 22, offers a chance to learn about helping all sorts of children – including some who may well have reason for woe.

The event is Transgender Health Empowerment's (T.H.E.) foster care parent and volunteer recruitment, targeting LGBT locals. The Martin Pollack Project is joining with T.H.E. to present this informal evening of helping people learn more about foster parenting.

''We've teamed with an agency that has experience with foster care and already does recruitment and training, and has a history of working with LGBT people,'' says Brian Watson, director of programs at T.H.E. As the founder of T.H.E.'s Wanda Alston House, a transitional residence for homeless LGBT youth, Watson knows firsthand of young people in need of stable housing.

''There are foster care and group homes that don't understand them,'' Watson says of such young people, adding that this outreach and training effort is a portion of the what's come from a recent $50,000 grant from Fannie Mae. ''For this event, we're really reaching out to LGBT individuals who've thought about being a foster parent and have questions.''

Watson says that having more local foster parents who understand the particular needs of LGBT youth, whether through training or because they identify as LGBT themselves, could be a powerful resource in helping to house those who can't make it into Wanda Alston House – named for the first permanent D.C. mayoral liaison to the LGBT community, murdered in 2005 – which has room for only eight residents, ages 16 to 24. And it always has a waiting list.

''We've seen how people are ignorant to LGBT issues. If we had a good group of people out there, if we had a database, it would eliminate a lot of that.''

T.H.E.'s Foster Care Parent and Volunteer Recruitment is Wednesday, June 22, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., at The B Spot gallery, 1123 Pennsylvania Ave. SE. For more information, call T.H.E. at 202-636-1646 or visit theincdc.org.