WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Children in foster care want to feel valued and cherished. That's what a local foundation set out to do.
Dillon Green and Mary Brown are at Mounts Botanical Garden in West Palm Beach. They are learning how to grow their own vegetables and herbs using leftover food.
The college students have known each other for a while. They were both in foster care. Dillon was 14 years old at the time. The 'Best Foot Forward' organization stepped in to mentor him.
"I'm going to be skeptical, in time I learned to trust them in how much they were trying to help with homework back then in high school," said Dillon, now a college senior. "They told me how much college credit could be worth, so when I entered college I already had my first half of freshman year done."
Mary Brown is 21 years old and she knew in high school that she wanted to go to college, but didn't know where to start.
"Yes I do want to go to college but the process for us is kind of hard because you have caseworkers but they have so many other kids that they have to focus on," said Mary. "Helped to transport me to the interviews and stuff like the scholarships, it was like all help in one."
Best Foot Forward says they devote a lot of time and energy into helping the foster kids become thriving adults.
"They may go from a different living situation to a different school. "So when we started the organization we decided it was very important to stay with them. No matter what school they were at no matter what home they were at," said Donna Biase, the co-founder of the organization.
The organization is developing relationships with more than 250 students who are in the program.
"So we have programs right now from elementary school through college with the goal that when they grow side by side along us they really get to learn how to react with people, how to act with people. They just blossom," said Donna.
"It's been like amazing from academic to professional development to helping me get a job," Mary added.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the foster care children in the organization's Summer of Service program could not attend the learning event at Mounts Botanical Garden. But Dillon and Mary will share with the group at a later time what they've learned about gardening. GL Homes created and paid for the chance for the organization to take part in the gardening session.