RALEIGH, N.C. – Family is often one of the top things that come to mind when people think about celebrating the holidays. However, young people who have aged out of foster care often don’t have family or loved ones to turn to during this special time.
Four years ago, Wake Tech Community College’s Fostering Bright Futures program and Doris Huebner, Vice-Chair of the Wake Tech Board of Trustees, recognized this and developed a holiday event to support foster youth who attended Wake Tech. The goal was to give them the opportunity to celebrate the holiday and be surrounded by people who played important roles in their lives.
The Fostering Bright Futures program supports students, formerly in foster care, who are now on their own, in college at Wake Tech and on their way to earning college degrees. The program is a public-private partnership that provides tutoring, mentoring, and financial support to help former foster youth pursue higher education. The program has helped many young adults beat considerable odds and lead happier and more productive lives.
Tomorrow, December 5, 30 students enrolled in the program will enjoy a holiday party that will include food, fellowship, gifts, and a surprise visit from Santa Claus! They will gather with mentors, volunteers, and community sponsors to celebrate their accomplishments. Two students who are graduating this weekend will also be recognized.
Each student filled out a wish list and will receive gifts that have been purchased with generous donations. It’s a special treat for the students – and often emotional – since many of them will not have presents to open on Christmas Day or time with family. Santa Claus will also make a special appearance during the party to spread holiday cheer!
This is the fourth year Huebner and Michelle Blackmon, Fostering Bright Futures Program Director, have organized the event with help from volunteers. They shopped for gifts and even held a wrapping party.
What: Fostering Bright Futures Holiday Party
When: Wednesday, December 5, 2018
Where: Wake Tech Southern Wake Campus
Student Services Building
9101 Fayetteville Road, Raleigh
Who: Doris Huebner, Wake Tech Board of Trustees Vice-Chair
Michelle Blackmon, Foster Bright Futures Program Coordinator
Corporate partners, mentors, and individual contributors
Why: Fostering Bright Futures started in 2008 to help former foster care youth earn degrees from Wake Tech by providing academic and financial support. Currently, there are 30 students in theprogram and 45 on the waiting list. So far, 11 students have earned associate’s degrees: 7 have transferred to universities, and 6 are working in their field of study (dental assisting, plumbing, and banking). Two students are expected to graduate December 2018 and 2 in May 2019.Less than 3 percent of youth aging out of foster care attend college and graduate.
About Huebner Family McDonald’s
Originally established by husband-and-wife team, Fred and Doris, as F&D Huebner McDonald’s, the Huebner Family McDonald’s have been operating in the Garner area since 1993.. What started as a single restaurant has now grown to 13 restaurants in Garner, Zebulon, Clayton, Smithfield, Four Oaks, Dunn, Benson and Raleigh. Son John Huebner joined the business in 2005. For more information, you can visit their website, huebnermcds.com, or follow them on Facebookand Instagram.