COLUMBIA, MD JUNE 30, 2011 - KidsPeace, a 129-year-old national children's charity with offices throughout the Maryland, Virginia and District of Columbia areas, today announced a commitment from Baltimore Orioles Manager William "Buck" Showalter and his wife Angela to lend their voices in support of the organization's mission. KidsPeace provides Foster Care and Community Services to hundreds of children with mental and behavioral health issues. The organization, based in Pennsylvania, also offers residential treatment facilities and a unique psychiatric hospital serving children from age 3 to 21.
Showalter, the two (2) time American League "Manager of the Year", was named manager of the Baltimore Orioles last August. Showalter and his wife have committed to be featured in a Public Service Announcement for KidsPeace; while Angela Showalter has agreed to serve as a volunteer member of the KidsPeace Board of Associates for Maryland.
"We are thrilled that the Showalters have made this personal commitment to KidsPeace," said William Isemann, KidsPeace President & CEO. "We thank them for recognizing the importance of our mission to bring hope, help and healing to children and families everywhere and we look forward to their future involvement."
"Angela and I are very honored to support KidsPeace in their efforts to provide children and families, in crisis, needed programs and services throughout Baltimore and the surrounding communities," said Buck Showalter, Baltimore Orioles Manager.
The city of Baltimore has more than 4,000 children in foster care.
"The needs of our local foster youth are immense. KidsPeace partners with the city and surrounding counties to find homes for many of these children and to give them hope," says Sandy Rappeport, Maryland Program Manager. "Foster youth who age out of the system are faced with staggering realities: only 46 percent complete high school, 40-50 percent are homeless within 18 months, and 25 percent are incarcerated within 24 months." Critical KidsPeace programming works to address those realities but can be even more successful with increased local community involvement.
In addition to placing foster youth with loving families, KidsPeace provides services to foster youth. "There are many ways that foster youth can be supported--through providing homes, becoming a mentor, or by contributing financially to support programs," says Rappeport. One such activity is a mentoring program for children and adolescents in foster care, providing support through group activities and one-on-one relationships. "We are working to build our volunteer mentor program because it helps youth develop a strong sense of self worth and strengthen their ability to interact with others in positive ways," says Gina Seyfried, Volunteer Coordinator.
Another activity, the KEYS program, provides life-skills training for foster youth ages 16-20, who face uncertain times as they prepare for their transition from care to independent living. The KEYS Program provides training in various life skills areas, including: goal setting, personal values, self-awareness, banking and money management, employment and others. "Few young adults leave home at 18 ready to care for themselves, so they rely on their adult support system to provide them guidance, emotional support, housing and financial assistance," says Seyfried. "But a young person in foster care often misses out on these supports. The KEYS program is here to offer tangible, hands on activities to unlock their future success."
Supporters of annual events, including a 5K Run and Fun Walk held in October and a Winetasting Event in September, help fund KidsPeace foster youth programs.
"Our local community has shown that they have big hearts and we are hoping we can continue fostering relationships that help them see the joys of connecting with a child who needs their help," says Rappeport.
The Showalters have also agreed to serve as honorary chairs for the KidsPeace Annual 5K Race & Fun Walk to take place in Baltimore Oct. 29th, 2011.
Founded in 1882, KidsPeace is dedicated to serving the behavioral and mental health needs of children, preadolescents, teens and young adults, offering a comprehensive range of residential treatment programs; accredited educational services, and a variety of foster care and community-based programs to give hope, help and healing to children, families and communities. KidsPeace offers services in Georgia, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia and the District of Columbia