When Branson first arrived at Carolina Family Connections (CFC), he was a shy and scrawny 14 year old, just a month away from turning 15. But birthdays had never been a special day for Branson.
Never had a cake. Never had a party. And never had a birthday present. When the staff at CFC learned that he had never celebrated a birthday, they wanted to make sure it was extra special. While the foster parents planned his birthday party, the staff at CFC stepped in to take it the extra mile. Knowing he enjoyed watching BMX bike events, they surprised him with a new BMX bike of his own on his birthday.
But because Branson had suffered from neglect and abuse for most of his young life, he had a hard time accepting the attention, much less a gift, feeling that he was unworthy of all that he was being given.
Branson stayed with CFC for about 3 years, all of which were filled with ups and downs of anger, depression and low self- esteem. He struggled with accepting the love and care shown to him by his foster parents, DSS social worker and CFC staff and became quite good at pushing people away, as many children who have suffered neglect and abuse do to protect their hearts…. reject you first so they won’t be hurt or disappointed again. He knew he was loved but couldn’t understand why.
But CFC is not in the business of letting go or giving up on the children they serve. Especially those that “age out” and are alone in this world. CFC staff has remained in contact with Branson to this day. They talk on the phone, text and visit with Branson. They have helped him by paying his rental deposit and providing furniture for his first home and sending him gift cards for food and other essentials. Most of all, they are there when he needs a shoulder to cry on or just someone to listen and support him. They are there to remind him that he is worthy of being loved.
For every story like Branson’s there are thousands more in North Carolina alone, and Carolina Family Connections needs your help to fulfill their mission of providing safe and loving homes for children who have been abused and/or neglected, and need out of home care.
Nearly everyday CFC receives calls to place school aged children and sibling groups in foster homes, but with many foster parents only wanting to take in infants and toddlers, they often have a harder time finding kids like Branson, on the verge of letting a 15th birthday pass without notice, a safe place to live.
DID YOU KNOW: Carolina Family Connections is in the running to win $5K this month thanks to the Amy and Brian France Foundation who have partnered with SHARE Charlotte for this year’s Spotlight Series and YOU can help when you VOTE NOW! You can also check out the other organizations eligible to win this month’s prize, here!