May 10, 2002
MAY IS NATIONAL FOSTER CARE MONTH
CHARLOTTE COUPLE NAMED COUNTY FOSTER PARENTS OF THE YEAR
Charlotte, NC -- They were already parents to their own three children when they talked about it and decided they would open their home to one child in need.
Nearly nine years later, Gwana and Ronald Chambers have fostered 11 children in their home and they've adopted children, too. The two agree that opening their home to children in need gives them joy. Now the Charlotte couple will share the honor of being named Mecklenburg County Foster Parent of the Year.
The Chambers will receive the award from the Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services (DSS) and its Youth and Family Services Division (YFS) at the annual Foster Parent Appreciation Dinner tonight.
"They have shared their experience in an effort to help other families in the community consider the possibility that they too could open their heart and home to a child in need of a loving and stable family," said Ann Mangum, a YFS supervisor. "They are truly remarkable and outstanding foster and adoptive parents and an asset to Mecklenburg County. They understand that being a foster parent is truly "heart work".
Gwana and Ronald Chambers have been licensed foster parents with DSS/YFS since January 1994. They've adopted four children -- three girls and a boy. They are fostering a sibling group of three boys. They helped three children transition into placement with relatives. They assisted with the successful reunification of a little boy with his mother -- and they keep in touch with the mother and son and offer guidance and support. They say they hope to add other children to their family through adoption.
The Foster Parent Appreciation dinner is an opportunity to say thank you to the people who help care for children and youth in the County's custody. "Foster parenting is heart work" is the theme for the 7 p.m. program at The Big Chill restaurant at 911 East Morehead St. in Charlotte.
Also, the Honorable Resa L. Harris, District Court Judge, will be honored with a plaque from DSS for her more than 20 years of work to make a difference in the lives of children and youth in Mecklenburg County.