Junior League of CR’s “Fostering Strength”
CEDAR RAPIDS – Laticia Aossey, a former foster teen, credits the work of the women of Junior League of Cedar Rapids (JLCR) with helping her find her passion in life: Helping kids and teens who have experienced a life like hers. A dedicated, intelligent young woman, she graduated from high school a semester early, and looks forward to August, when she will attend the University of Northern Iowa. There, Laticia plans to major in social work as an undergraduate and eventually earn her Master’s in Social Work.
In support of Laticia and the more than 900 children and teens in the foster care system in the Cedar Rapids area, JLCR hosts Iowa’s largest foster care advocacy event, Junior League of Cedar Rapids: Fostering Strength on May 17. Featuring Leigh Anne Tuohy, the real-life mom from The Blind Side movie, proceeds from the gala dinner and silent auction will assist the most vulnerable in our community.
Tickets for JLCR: Fostering Strength are $100 each and are available at http://www.juniorleaguecr.org. A silent auction begins at 6 p.m., and the dinner and program begin at 7 p.m. The event will take place at The Hotel at Kirkwood Center, 7725 Kirkwood Blvd SW, Cedar Rapids.
“We are thrilled to bring Leigh Anne Tuohy, a foster parent and community leader, to Cedar Rapids to talk about how important it is for a community to realize the full potential of all its citizens,” 2013-14 JLCR President Maria Sanchez-Masi said. “Our Fostering Strength fundraiser gives us a chance to highlight the people we work with – foster teens – in a very public way.”
Tuohy is best known for being featured in Michael Lewis’ 2006 book, The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game, and its 2009 film adaption, The Blind Side, where she was portrayed by actress Sandra Bullock. A foster care advocate, Tuohy says that when her family added a foster son, Michael Oher, to their lives, it had a much greater impact on their lives than they had on his.
JLCR: Fostering Strength supports JLCR’s current project, Bridging the G.A.P. (Guide. Advocate. Provide.), a three-part program supporting local foster teens. Since 2011, Junior League has partnered with other local nonprofits and governmental agencies to support youth in foster care in the Cedar Rapids area, 40% of whom are teens.
“These teens face life issues that others their age don’t. JLCR: Fostering Strength is intended to spotlight the special issues that we see these young adults dealing with as they enter the world on their own,” Sanchez-Masi said. “And our Bridging the G.A.P. project is intended to offer some basics to teens as they transition to independent living, as well as providing consistent connections with adult supporters.”
For more information, or to purchase tickets for JLCR: Fostering Strength, please visithttp://juniorleaguecr.org/fostering-strength. Tickets can also be purchased through the JLCR office at 319.364.7892. For more information on JLCR’s Bridging the G.A.P. project, please visit http://juniorleaguecr.org/bridging-the-g-a-p.
Junior League of Cedar Rapids is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women, and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable.
About Leigh Anne Tuohy:
Tuohy continues to make an impact on the world years after The Blind Side broke box office records and inspired individuals nationwide. In July 2010, she and her husband Sean released the New York Times best-seller, In a Heartbeat: Sharing the Power of Cheerful Giving, and established their charity, The Making It Happen Foundation,which promotes awareness, provides hope, and improves standards of living for all the children fighting to survive in the invisible cracks in society.
Tuohy’s latest book, Making it Happen: Just Turn Around, details concrete action steps we all can take to become more involved in giving, both in our communities and in our one-on-one interactions with others. Through all of her projects, Tuohy continues her mission to inspire hope, ignite generosity, and make it happen for underserved youth.
A native of Mephis, Tenn., Tuohy is a graduate of the University of Mississippi with a degree in interior design. She and Sean are the parents of daughter Collins (26) and sons Michael Oher (26) and Sean, Jr. (19). She owns Flair I, a design firm with her mother and partner Virginia Roberts. Tuohy was a member of the design team for Extreme Makeover: Home Edition season 8 in 2010-11.