Foster Parent Month – Akron, OH 2011

Tracy Mayfield, Community Resource Coordinator in Akron, OH, sent in the following information regarding foster parents she works with in Ohio.

In honor of Foster Parent Month, I would like to share a few stories about some of the extraordinary foster parents I have had the privilege to work with.  In the Northeast region foster parent Tammy Cope truly embodies the philosophy of strengthening the family.  Ms. Cope has worked with the biological family of a youth placed in her home right from the start.  Ms. Cope has attended family events from celebrations to funerals with her foster daughter and her family.  After a few visits the biological family started inviting Ms. Cope to stay and join them for dinner, which she does and even asked if she could include her other foster daughter so she could show how well a family could get along.  The biological family has enjoyed having all of them in the home and mom has even shared some recipes with Ms. Cope for her daughter’s favorite foods.

Another Northeast foster parent, Johnna Cozza, has also gone to great lengths to communicate with and include the biological mother of the youth placed in her home.  Because of the great distance between the foster home and mother’s home, visitation has been difficult at times to coordinate but Ms. Cozza stepped right up to the plate and invited the biological mother to spend the weekend at her house when they had a conflict in schedules.  Ms. Cozza has also made sure to invite mom to sporting events and other special occasions in which the youth are involved.

In the North region, Zetta Hardy, one of our most experienced foster parents, really takes the message of treating the children like your own to heart.  On a recent visit to her home, Ms. Hardy was cooking a giant pot of string beans which would be served to the teachers at her foster son’s school.  Ms. Hardy had joined the parent’s group and helped plan and organize a special luncheon to show appreciation for the staff and faculty at his school.  Ms. Hardy has also been known to send bags of groceries and extra money with her foster son when he visits his biological mom, because as she puts it “she is struggling to get her life back on track and I don’t want anything to add to her stress when she has her kids for the weekend”.

So, I just want to say THANK YOU to these special parents and all of the others who do such wonderful things every day for our youth and families.