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Blog by Emily Meekins, intern. 
 

It’s the holiday season and the hustle and bustle is in full throttle as the end of the year approaches. As I walk the city streets gathering my final gifts for loved ones, it hurts to make eye contact with the lost souls that flood the streets in December hoping that the spirit of giving is still alive. Especially after the tragedy in Connecticut this past week, we hold our loved ones close and are reminded of the importance of family, what our family means to us, and how our lives would be affected if a loved one were lost.

To fathom the heartache of what these families are going through is unimaginable; equally as heartbreaking is imagining life without a family, without loved ones, and without a place to call home. There are over 104,000 children across the United States who will spend another holiday season dreaming of finding a loving family and stable home. While the winter holidays are often perceived as the happiest time of the year, with much emphasis on the importance of family and being with those you love, it is easy to forget that not everyone is experiencing the same kind of expectant joy. 

This year, let us extend our loving arms and giving hands to those in need. Whether it’s providing someone with a loving family, a home-cooked meal, or simply sharing your story –giving the gift of love, kindness, and awareness touches the lives of everyone around you. 

What does adoption mean to you and how has it touched your life? It takes a thousand voices to tell a single story, be apart of the bigger picture. 

"Stories live in your blood and bones, follow the seasons and light candles on the darkest night-every storyteller knows she or he is also a teacher..." —Patti Davis 

 
Ken & Katie join the Phanatic! 

Ken, our Executive Director, and Katie, our Development Manager, attended the Phillies Charities Holiday Party on Monday at the Diamond Club at Citizen’s Bank Ballpark. The room was filled with representatives from nearly 50 charities that received support from the Phillies over the past year.

Each group was spotlighted throughout the course of the program, and we were thrilled to feature one of our Wednesday’s Child Philadelphia clips that told the story of a family we have helped to create. Ken also had the opportunity to address the crowd, describing the need for adoption among older youth living in foster care. 

 
Ken with Phillies' Manager Charlie Manual
One of the highlights of the evening – apart from getting an autograph from Phillies Manager Charlie Manuel! – was learning about the inspiring work taking place in nonprofits across Philadelphia. Their causes and missions were varied, from housing for veterans to care packages for families with ailing children, but the passion was the same. It felt good to be a part of this community of care. 

PS – We’ll be auctioning off our Charlie Manuel autographed-Phillie Phanatic at our fundraising gala on April 25th at the Crystal Tea Room! Stay tuned for more information about this exciting event!

Looking for an affordable unique gift made by children to help children?
 
 

We have them right here.

The National Adoption Center is providing child-created notecards for a $15 donation that are perfect for any occasion! The package consists of ten irresistible cards designed by 3rd graders in answer to the question, “What does family mean to you?” The results warm the heart and could make you laugh. Through this purchase you are helping find homes for children who are spending this holiday season in search of a safe and loving family.

So feel good about your holiday purchasing and give a gift that benefits children and allows NAC to continue to impact the world of adoption.

To order cards click HERE.

No one ever knows the ripple effect of what they do. How could we have predicted that a film documentary maker who attended one of “match party” would lead to 170 children living in foster care having the opportunity to hear a weekend concert by Jay-Z in Philadelphia? Leah Stauffer, who is working on a documentary about foster care and adoption was so impressed by the children and social workers she met at a “match party” several months ago that she was determined to stay in touch with us, arranging to interview the our executive director and communications director as her work progressed. When she had the opportunity over Labor Day weekend to get several tickets to a special Jay-Z concert in downtown Philadelphia, she knew she wanted to make them available to the children she had met. Within 48 hours, a social worker for SWAN, Pennsylvania’s statewide adoption network, had emailed her families. Leah was stunned when emails flooded her computer—dozens of children with their foster parents wanted to attend. When Leah passed the word on to the Shawn Carter Foundation, started by Jay-Z and his mother, Gloria, the director there told her to include as many children as wanted to come. That number turned out to be 170. Jay-Z was so moved by the experience that he made a similar offer to children living under the care of New York's foster care system for a concert at the new Barclay Center in Brooklyn! 

 

Jeremy Maclin, a wide receiver for the Philadelphia Eagles, grew up in an emotionally chaotic family until, as a sophomore in high school he went to live with the family he says “made me what I am today.” But he hasn't forgotten what it was like before he had a loving, secure family. Jeremy has, therefore, declared himself a spokesman for the National Adoption Center: for each Eagles home game, he invites an adoptive family to the game as his guest, giving them the chance to go to the warm-up before the game and meet with him in the locker room when the game is over. John Thomas and three of his children, who attended the first game against Baltimore, said it was an incredible experience, one that the children will always remember. Seven more adoptive families will have the same opportunity over the course of the season (one story of which we have already shared with you).

 
Wharton students, left to right: Natalie, Ainsley, Armin, Nilesh, Kashfia 

 

Our #AdoptHope event held at Shops at Liberty Place last week was a huge success in spreading awareness about the many children in foster care who await the love and support of a forever family. Many passers-by were given the opportunity to ask questions they had about adoption and foster care, pick up pamphlets provided by several different adoption agencies, and gather information on the many children that we work with here at the National Adoption Center.

The goal of this event was to educate others about adoption through the use of informative resource tables and provide interactive activities that reveal surprising myths and facts adoption. NAC staff, our Philly Fellowgot to working side-by-side with students from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania to create this event. We are extremely pleased that we had the opportunity to celebrate National Adoption Month with others in the community and continue to push forward with public awareness initiatives. 
        

 

Quote from Brittani, Wharton student and event performer, “I know I personally learned a lot about adoption and so did the rest of the team, which is awesome because now we will be able to educate others”

 
Myra, Adoptive mother of special needs children, and Beth, NAC's Marketing Director
                                   

We had a scrapbook where people could record their thoughts about adoption and family, here are a few of the messages left:

“Special children need special homes” 

“I definitely want to adopt someday” 

“It’s a wonderful thing” 

What would be your message? 

from a team of Management 101 students who have been working on a project to assist us & who have worked with our Philly Fellow and our Marketing Manager

 

Throughout the past two months, our team [from UPenn, Wharton] has thoroughly enjoyed working with the National Adoption Center to organize the #AdoptHope event, a public awareness event that will be held today Monday, November 19 at Liberty Place in Center City Philadelphia. 

Adoption has closely touched the lives of many of our team members, so we’re truly excited to have had the opportunity to help NAC celebrate National Adoption Month on their 40th anniversary. 

Our event’s goal is to educate people about adoption through the use of informative resource tables and interactive activities that debunk surprising myths and facts about adoption. We will also have live entertainment from students of the University of Pennsylvania and a raffle with a chance to win some great prizes. As guests leave the event, we hope that they will take a minute to share their experiences with adoption or something they have learned by writing in our “Share Your Story” scrapbook or conducting an interview that will feature in a future promotional video.

 

This experience, from the inception of the initial concept to the creation of the final posters, has helped us to realize the dedication and organization that go into planning an event. The work of the National Adoption Center is truly inspiring, and it was an honor to be part of this exciting time for them. Although we were already passionate about adoption going into this project, we have learned so much by taking on this project and hope that our guests will also be inspired to support the National Adoption Center in their mission to help thousands of youth #AdoptHope. 

 
Here’s one of the families that participated: (left to right) Marianne Cadieux, Jeremy Maclin and Cadieux’s children, Jamie, Mariah and Valawn.

 

Every time the Philadelphia Eagles play a home game, a lucky family with children it has adopted has a chance to observe the team’s warm-up, cheer at the game and meet afterward with Jeremy Maclin, the Eagles wide receiver. Maclin, who was raised by parents who were not his birth family, understands the feelings of other children with similar experiences. Therefore, he has become a supporter of the National Adoption Center and has initiated the Day-at-the-Eagles experience for the families.

 

 

 
 
 
 
L to R: Sam Scott, Regional Director for Briad Group, Roberta Drakes, General Manager for Wendy's, Mushtaq Abdullahi, District Manager for Wendy's and Ken Mullner, Executive Director for NAC.

In addition to being Lead Sponsor for our 40th Anniversary Gala and Golf Tournament, Wendy's also designated us as beneficiary of the proceeds from its Frosty Key Tag Campaign. Wendy's restaurants in the tri-state area sold key tags for one dollar during January and February, allowing buyers to get a free Frosty each time they made a purchase throughout the year. Wendy's important partnership supports the work we do expanding adoption opportunities for children living in foster care.

 
 
 

For the purposes of this blog post I thought I would give you all a glimpse into the world of nonprofit fundraising...

Nonprofit organizations depend largely on public funds – government contracts, grants from foundations, corporate gifts and individual donors. The more diverse an organization’s funding base the better, because it can be dangerous to rely too heavily on one source of income. Many nonprofits experienced this firsthand during the recent recession because government funding, foundation giving and corporate support took major hits. 

Contrary to what you may think, individual donors are the largest source of funding for nonprofits, comprising about 70% of the sector’s nearly $300 billion worth of contributions! Individual donors also prove to be the most loyal, since they continue to give even during tough economic times. That shows how important it is for nonprofits to connect with individuals like you! 

So, while I still spend much of my time writing grants to local foundations and while we still hold our government contracts in high regard, it’s also important to share our story with individual donors in a powerful way. 

I encourage you to learn more about the National Adoption Center’s story by perusing our website; get to know the children we serve, the families we have created and the work that has yet to be done for the nearly 110,000 youth across the U.S. who are waiting for the love and stability of a family. 

P.S. – you can become part of our story by making a gift today! 

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