Foster Care Success Stories and Videos

FSW 2018 Spirit Award Winners Martha and Bernice Kennedy: Raising 10 Foster Children in 26 Years

(L-R) Matthew Grimsley, one of the Kennedy’s 10 foster children, Beth Bernadone, director of FSW’s Therapeutic Foster Care program, foster parents and Spirit Award winners Bernice Kennedy and Martha Kennedy.

In 2018, FSW honored Mount Vernon residents Martha and Bernice Kennedy with the Spirit Award in recognition of their 26 years as therapeutic foster parents. Matthew Grimsley, one of the 10 foster children the Kennedys raised during that time, spoke at the awards ceremony, praising Mrs. Kennedy’s cooking and calling the couple “inspiring, wholehearted and well-deserving of the award.”

FSW Therapeutic Foster Care Puts One Teen on the Path to Confidence — and College

(FSW newsletter, July 2019)

In June of 2019, FSW’s Therapeutic Foster Care team met two very special young women, sisters ages 15 and 13 who needed a foster home. As you might imagine, the girls were heartbroken to be uprooted from their familiar lives and nervous about making the transition to a new community and school.

But while the younger girl quickly settled into her new living situation, her foster parents soon realized that her older sister was experiencing such crippling anxiety that it was holding her back from being able to see her own potential. She just couldn’t let herself move forward to embrace the bright future that everyone else could see.

The opportunity that broke the logjam was unexpected by inspiring. The older girl began a summer internship with FSW, working in community outreach. Although she was the youngest, least experienced intern, and had to navigate a tricky, tiring commute via public transportation each day, the young woman quickly became the intern everyone relied on to get the job done.

Confidently Looking Toward College

Last fall, armed with the confidence and newfound skills to face school head on, the older sister began to look at her education in a whole new light. Now, she is looking forward to attending college and wants to study in a field that will allow her to help others in a same way that her foster parents were able to help her.

Today, the girls have been reunited with their mother. But without the insightful and steadfast support of their amazing foster parents, this special success story might have turned out very differently.

Ad Council Video: At Home

Good Morning America: How a Foster Parent Changed the Lives of 50 Teens

National PTA: What Is Foster Care?