Foster Parenting: Challenging? You Bet. But Worth the Effort.

© Lisa Shara; Published at North State Parent

art-1115-foster1

Senta Burton is passionate about advocating for families. She stands for children, but also for parents – both birth parents and foster parents. A mother of six, Senta’s four younger children are adopted, initially joining her family as foster children.

As parent educator at Counseling Solutions in Butte County, Senta works with birth parents whose children have been removed from their care. She teaches a 16-week “Nurturing Parenting” class the parents are required to attend. She also works with the county’s Supporting Our Families’ Transition (SOFT) program, which offers parents support and access to resources, assisting them as their cases conclude and their children are about to return home. The program’s goal is to help parents create a stable home in an effort to prevent the possibility of having their children reenter foster care again in the future.

Senta and her family. In front, Destiny. Next row: Theo, Lila, Marah and Tanika. 3rd row: Parents Charles and Senta. In back: Chas.

Senta and her family. In front, Destiny. Next row: Theo, Lila, Marah and Tanika. 3rd row: Parents Charles and Senta. In back: Chas.

Senta additionally teaches a variety of parenting classes for the Butte Foster Kinship Care Education program, including Foster Parent Preservice; Nurtured Heart Approach; Nurturing Parenting; Parenting the Special Needs Child; and Understanding the Alcohol and Drug-Exposed Child. Everyone is welcome to attend Butte Foster Kinship’s free classes and workshops: parents, non-parents, people thinking about becoming a foster parent, parents whose children are currently in foster care, teachers, social workers and other community members.

What inspired Senta to become so deeply involved with families? She first became a foster parent in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 20 years ago. In her first year, dozens of children came and left her home. “It broke my heart to see the fear and confusion on their faces as they were moved from one strange home to another,” she says. “It became clear that moving children from home to home – which often happens in foster care – was taking a toll on them, often making them feel they weren’t loved or wanted.” Continue reading

The Snoopy Plate Program Benefits California Museums

art-115-ghee1

A program that has been years in the making combines two of my favorite things: Snoopy and museums.

The Snoopy Plate Program is the brainchild of the California Association of Museums. These special interest license plates raise funds for a grant program to benefit CA museums, to be administered by the California Cultural and Historical Endowment (a state agency). Continue reading

Lou Wegner: Kids Against Animal Cruelty

© Lisa Shara; Published in North State Parent, January 2014
art-0114-lou-wegner

18-year-old actor and activist Lou Wegner is the founder of the national movement Kids Against Animal Cruelty. He currently lives and works in Southern California.

NSP: What you are most passionate about?

LW: I am most passionate about spreading awareness to my generation to be pet-responsible. I was devastated to learn that 4 to 6 million pets are euthanized in U.S. shelters every year and wanted to do something to make a difference. I don’t think people are aware that shelters are horribly overcrowded and that animals have to be euthanized to make room for the ones coming in. I spend a lot of time with my organization, Kids Against Animal Cruelty, that I founded to help save lives through education, social media networking and volunteering at local shelters.

NSP: What is it that inspired you to start Kids Against Animal Cruelty?

Lou Wegner and Betty White

Lou Wegner and Betty White

LW: When I was 14, the director of my first film, Be Good To Eddie Lee, asked me if I had ever been to a shelter. At the time, I had three rescued dogs but they came from rescue groups. I had never been to a shelter, and started to volunteer. It’s there that I quickly learned that animals (pets of all kinds) are euthanized for space. I was devastated. I had to do something. Continue reading