12KidsPeace and Dominique Womack are putting on the most meaningful art shows in the city. KidsPeace Art Gallery of Hope is set for May 19 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at The Warehouse, located at 226 Donaldson Street, Fayetteville. The event is as Womack said, “a party for a cause.”
Attire is all black and guests will be treated to live music, provided by Tyrek Hearon and friends, with a cash drink and food bar. This year’s event features Audrey Hasslocher, United States of America’s Mrs. Fayetteville and owner of Firebird Communications, a national marketing agency based in Fayetteville.
Hasslocher, a former foster kid, is set to share her story of the foster system and inspire others to become foster parents. The art auction will include several mediums and an eclectic list of local artists who have donated their work to the cause.
Tickets are $25 and can be purchased by contacting Womack at 910-778-6462 or Antonio Gonzalez at 910-600-1332. Some of this year’s art is donated by the best Fayetteville has to offer, including Damien Mathis, Lauren Falls, graffiti artist Nick Shaw, Pia Jones and Johnathan Diaz.
In previous years, the auction has brought big bucks to the organization, which no longer has an office in the city. This year, Womack said, “...I would like for us to raise 15 [thousand]. In years' past we’ve done 7, 9, 13, so if I can do $13,001, I’m a happy camper. But just being real, a couple thousand would give our kids all they need for school supplies and Christmas presents, but I can pour more into the community for foster programs if 15 [thousand] is my number, I’m gonna go with 15….if I can raise awareness that’s the cake…”
For those unfamiliar with KidsPeace, it is an organization dedicated to helping foster parents and foster children with the mental health side of fostering. The agency provides support to new foster parents to overcome the new hurdles they face, such as acclimating to a new environment, settling into a new routine and healing the wounds of trauma. Fostering takes a tremendous amount of support from the community. In North Carolina in 2021, there were 10,927 children ages birth to 17, placed outside of the home. That year, the national average was 203,770 children in foster care under the age of 18, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, a national organization that tracks the fostering demographics in the United States, including maternal occupation and race. Demographic information is vital in ensuring the children placed in foster care are accounted for. Pinpointing flaws in the systems that lead to unsafe conditions for children and tracking behaviors in parents that lead to the children being placed in foster care is another important task.12a
Those who are interested in becoming a foster parent will find the process is extensive, but worth it. The state requires potential foster parents to complete courses, background checks, interviews and home visits. According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, all potential foster parents must complete the following:
1. Watch the mandatory Foster Parent Orientation video
2. Choose an agency, local DSS or private foster care placing agency. Links are provided below.
3. Attend an orientation with your chosen agency.
4. Complete TIPS-MAPP course.
5. Completion of Mutual Home Assessment for foster home licensing. This is not the same as an adoption home study.
6. Your agency will complete your Foster Home Application and submit it to the NC Division of Social Services for review and licensure.
7. Once licensed by the NC Division of Social Services, consider and accept foster care placements based on the needs of the children and your family’s parenting abilities and preferences.
8. Relicensure of foster parents is required every 2 years.
KidsPeace is a great resource for individuals looking to become foster parents, providing classes and other resources. The class schedule and registration can be accessed via the website, https://fostercare.com/ Whether a person buys a piece of art or starts the process of becoming a foster parent, the need is great for individuals looking to be the change and constant in foster children’s lives.

(Photos-Top: Dominique Womack hosts during the KidsPeace Gallery of Hope.  Bottom: Paintings are displayed during the 2nd Annual Gallery of Hope.  Photos are courtesy of Dominique Womack.)

 

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