Youth Villages North Carolina recently celebrated KiteTales: Stories that Soar, an annual event to support youth aging out of foster care. The second annual event – sponsored by Piedmont Natural Gas – drew more than 130 supporters and raised more than $52,000 to benefit the increasing number of youth aging out of foster care in the state.
All proceeds from this year’s event will support the Youth Villages YVLifeSet program, which helps former foster youth make a successful transition to adulthood. Youth Villages launched YVLifeSet in North Carolina in 2008. The program helps former foster youth complete their education, secure safe housing, find a job and maintain employment, learn to handle finances and reconnect with family when appropriate.
“The KiteTales event was simply an amazing evening and an opportunity to help youth aging out of foster care find healing, hope and success,” KiteTales Committee Chair Nan Gray said. She is also a member of the Youth Villages North Carolina board. “I’m honored to serve with an organization that is making such a difference for foster care youth in Charlotte and proud to be part of the Youth Villages team as we help these vulnerable young people thrive in adulthood.”
The evening featured a keynote address from New York Times best-selling author Vanessa Diffenbaugh who shared her family’s personal experience with foster care and adoption. Diffenbaugh is also a national Youth Villages board member and co-founder of the LifeSet Network, a crowdfunding platform to help former foster children.
Abby, who experienced more than 10 foster families, also shared her story, what she has learned through YVLifeSet and the success she continues to experience as a young adult thanks to support from Youth Villages and the generosity of those at KiteTales.
Abby said she learned a very important lesson from her counselor: “Miss Felicia taught me that failure is not an option.”
The evening also included a special tribute to the 2017 KiteTales honoree Eugene W. Cochrane, Jr., president emeritus of The Duke Endowment for his contributions to youth and families in Charlotte. The award was created to recognize someone who has a lifelong dedication to helping children and families.
“Gene has been a pillar of service and generosity in the Charlotte community for years. His life’s service to improving the lives of vulnerable children and families in our community is unmatched and we’re grateful for all he has done and represents,” said Paul Enderson, Youth Villages North Carolina executive director.