** Give A Brighter Childhood This Holiday**
Run with us to be a hero for kids in foster care!
Your race day sweat and sock/undie donations help keep kids safe throughout Springfield, MO
April 8 and 9 9:00am to 3:00pm1902B E Meadowmere
Race fee + donation of new socks and underwear for children in foster care.
ADULTS (18+) – $20YOUTH (5-17) – $10
Your treadmill or running path!
Pick from one of our custom routes to find the best run for you!
3,200 SWMO kids are in foster care. The average foster kid is only 8 years old and has already experienced significant abuse and neglect.
On average, foster children move to a new home every 90 days.
43% of foster children will be homeless in their lifetime.
Register before race day for the best price!
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Adrien loves a good corny joke and spending time with anyone who can make him laugh. He enjoys working two levels above his grade in math and learning about science. Adrien has expressed great interest in joining a robotics team if given the opportunity! Adrien would do well in a home where communication is open and with adults that are willing to give him great emotional support. Adrien’s team is open to a variety of family dynamics.
Jesus has a big sense of humor and loves to laugh, which is one of the reasons he loves tp be around people. When he grows up, Jesus would like to be a police officer. Jesus would like to be in a home with a mother and have more siblings. He is also open to a two parent home.
Jacob loves expressing his energy through physical activity, especially when it is competitive, and using his imagination when reading and playing. The Kansas City Chiefs is Jacob’s favorite football team, but he loves playing all kinds of sports, including soccer. Jacob is very loyal to family and the people he loves and will do well in a structured home with plenty of love.
BreAnna enjoys learning about science in school because she loves animals. “The cool frogs in the jars” are her favorite part, while practicing her reading makes her feel proud. BreAnna is a sweetheart who loves to help others, but she needs a family to provide her with committed love and support. She does best in a structured environment and would respond well to consistency in her future forever home.
Frederick's wishlist has been filled. Thank you for your interesting in giving joy to a foster child!
Justice is a spunky, helpful, and bright 9-year-old girl. She enjoys cheerleading and girl scouts. Her younger brother, Jaiden, is a funny and helpful 8-year-old boy. Justice and Jaiden are very bonded and will thrive in a loving and structured home where they can be adopted together.
Natalie is ready to be adopted by a family who will stay with her through thick and thin. Natalie loves science class and dreams of becoming a veterinarian because she loves animals so much! When she isn’t learning, she is outside working on the farm. Natalie is the most kind and compassionate young lady you will meet.
Michael loves to be around pets, especially cats. He enjoys watching the basketball game and his favorite basketball player is LeBron James. Michael has been described as a “role model” to his peers with a great sense of humor. Michael is eager to be in a two-parent home. Michael is open to having siblings as well. His favorite holiday to celebrate is Christmas. Michael is ready to celebrate his favorite holiday with a family.
This sister duo has a bond that cannot be broken! Za’Leyah is not your average 8-year-old and prefers to be called Leyah. She loves to be a helper, she is affectionate, caring, and she is an open book. She describes herself as being sweet, kind, smart, and mystical. She prides herself in being the “Thumb War Champion” and beating anyone in a staring contest. Za’Nasia is an energetic, creative, and outgoing 7 year old and goes by the name of Nasia. Nasia is most pleased she can tap her head and rub her stomach simultaneously, jump on one foot, and do a clap push up. Leyah and Nasia have thrived in a two-parent home, however, all inquiries will be considered. The siblings are being placed together so only inquiries on the sibling group will be considered.
Ezayiah is an 11-year-old multiracial female with a contagious smile! She is a brave, silly, and sweet girl. Others have described Ezayiah as an inquisitive child who is fearless to try new activities that come her way. If Ezayiah was given one superpower, it would be to run fast. In Ezayiah’s free time she enjoys drawing, singing, dancing, and jumping on the trampoline. If Ezayiah was given a dream day of her choice, she would choose a day full of swimming! She loves to listen to Kids Bop and make her own songs about Christmas, Vampires and Mermaids. Her favorite holidays are Christmas or Halloween. If she could visit anywhere, Ezayiah would choose Disney Land because her favorite character, Moana, would be there, and she could see all the other characters. Her favorite foods are watermelon and pumpkin pie.
All family types will be considered for Ezayiah. She will benefit most from a family who is able to help provide her with a sense of belonging. She will thrive in a home that can be supportive, trusting, and authoritative. A family who is consistent in discipline but also understanding of trauma.
A budding meteorologist, he delights in the wonders of weather. Kevin can’t get enough of how weather affects the world around us, from tornadoes to hail and cloud types; he is curious about it all. If he isn’t focused on meteorology, this teen who enjoys acting can be found writing and performing plays. He relates well with peers and adults. As Kevin’s passion for weather and acting grows, it should come as no surprise that he hopes to see his name on the marquee as a meteorologist or an actor. He is doing well in his eleventh-grade year.
Kevin would do best in a family with a mom and a dad, in which he can be the oldest child in the home; however, his caseworker will consider all family types. He will need to remain in contact with his sister, brother and his brother’s adoptive family following placement. Financial assistance may be available for adoption-related services.
Going outside to play basketball is a top priority for OJay! When an indoor activity is required, he is keen on playing video games and building with LEGOs. Listening to rap music is always a good time for OJay. A McGriddle from McDonald’s is a favored treat for this growing guy. Ojay is in the eighth grade.
OJay is a member of the Quapaw tribe. An American Indian family is preferred; however, all family types will be considered regardless of American Indian status. He would do best in a family in which he can be the only child in the home. OJay has significant connections that he would like to maintain following placement. Financial assistance may be available for adoption-related services.
This is a legal risk adoptive placement.
This young man has a vibrant smile and a twinkle in his eye! If he had the ability to do anything in the world, he would become Spiderman and shoot webs out of his hands to catch the bad guys. He enjoys playing video games and riding bikes around the neighborhood. Zyion loves to eat and will always be up for pepperoni pizza and taco flavored Takis! He enjoys watching soccer and cheered the Chiefs on during their win at the Super Bowl. His favorite colors are blue, purple, and orange. Someday, Zyion would like to travel to California and visit the warm, sunny beach!
This young man has a deep heart. He needs to be with a family who can understand how to support him and provide a loving, structured, and nurturing environment where he can thrive. Zyion relates well to loving and strong female figures in his life. He would be open to many different family structures but specified that he might want a family with two moms. While he prefers to play alone, he has been a part of larger households for most of his life. One of his biggest family dreams is to be loved and have dogs.
Justice in an outgoing, spunky, and bright 9-year-old girl. She enjoys cheerleading and girl scouts. Those who know her best describe her as a helper and an excellent storyteller. Her younger brother, Jaiden, is a funny and helpful 8-year-old boy. He enjoys karate and is an avid fan and participant in sports! Those who know him best describe him as sweet, loving, and strong-willed. Justice and Jaiden are very bonded and will thrive in a loving and structured home where they can be adopted together.
Grayce is a 13-year-old intelligent, independent, and mature young teenager! She is a leader and enjoys being a helper. Grayce enjoys attending school and excels in academics. She is in the 7th grade for the 2019-2020 school year at a charter school. Grayce is an A student and says, “it makes me proud to see my grades.” Grayce describes herself as having a sense of humor. She likes to be silly and has lots of fun joking around. In Grayce’s free time she enjoys being outdoors either playing soccer or swimming. You can also find Grayce indoors indulging in a good book written by Charles Dickens, Charlotte Bronte, or Jane Austen. One day Grayce would love to travel to London, England because “it’s amazing.” One talent Grayce is proud to have is her ability to sing. Her favorite song is “Boys Like You” by Anna Clendening.
Grayce is kindhearted and has a soft spot for disabled children as two of her younger siblings suffer from disabilities. She would benefit most from a family who can support her desire to thrive educationally as well as provide a loving and structured environment. She is open to many different family structures. While she prefers to be the oldest sibling in the home with younger children, she does enjoy interacting with peers her own age and older. Her dream is to be a part of a large home with a large “playful” dog.
Alex and Damon are best friends and brothers! Damon is 15 years old and Alex is 13 years old. These boys have an amazing imagination and never become bored. Damon is the oldest and loves to be active. Camping and hanging out at the lake are just a few of his favorite past times. He enjoys basketball and jumping on the trampoline to stay active! Alex is the youngest and likes mind stimulating activities. Chess is one of his favorite games, but he’s always up for any type of board game. He credits himself to being an excellent bowler as well. When spending time together, Damon and Alex love discussing superheroes and even creating their own comics with hand drawn artwork!
Both Damon and Alex do well academically. They would do best in a two-parent household, but other family types will be considered. Additionally, they would do well in an active and creative household.
These three brothers are caring with big hearts! At 18, 12, and 10 years old, they have a bond that can’t be broken. The boys love playing video games and listening to music; however, their favorite brotherly activity is playing basketball with one another.
Logan is the oldest with a strong sense of pride for his two younger brothers. Logan is a tender heart who has a creative mind. He loves listening to music and has fun changing his hair with a multitude of colors from time to time! With a passion for helping others, Logan has aspirations of attending college to become a Nurse. Austin is a humorous young man with a thirst for adventure. He has dreams of visiting Dubai when he is older. If he could have any superpower, it would be superspeed so that he could get places in a flash! Fenix is the youngest and loves to keep busy! With a passion for cars and trucks, he enjoys any time he gets to tinker around and work with his hands. He loves to do activities outdoors, especially fishing! All three boys share the same love and compassion for animals.
This sibling trio is open to a variety of families, but would benefit with a consistent male figure in their lives. Having just turned 18 in April of 2020, Logan’s goal is to soon be living independently but he would still like the support of a family and somewhere to call “home”. All three boys would thrive with a family that offers great emotional support.
Aspen is a silly, fun loving 16-year-old! Others describe Aspen as dependable, motivated, pleasant, cheerful, friendly, loyal, honest, and has the ability to advocate for herself. Aspen reports that other people would say “I am bubbly, silly, happy, and upbeat.” Aspen has a strong desire to be social and enjoys social interaction. Aspen loves to hear a funny joke and enjoys laughing. In Aspen’s free time, she enjoys watching television and scrolling through social media. Aspen is into fashion, hip-hop dance and loves listening to R&B music. Aspen’s dream day would be a shopping trip to the mall with a couple of her friends. Her dream job is to be a real estate agent when she gets older!
She is quick to ask questions and is motivated to understand. When Aspen was asked what would make her most proud, she replied “graduating.” Aspen states her least favorite subject is math; however, she thoroughly enjoys writing assignments. Aspen would benefit most from a family who can be attentive to her and provide for her emotional needs. Aspen has a strong desire and want to belong. She is open to many different family structures.
Amy enjoys playing with dolls, reading, and writing. Her favorite genre of music is hip hop and favorite musical artist is Drake. Her favorite animals are puppies and kittens. Every year, Amy looks forward to Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas because of the treats and gifts that she may receive. She is a bubbly, talkative kid with an enormous imagination. Amy cares for her brother Dustin deeply and enjoys spending time with him as Dustin’s forever family is finalizing their adoption. Amy’s peppy personality always keeps the adults in her life on their toes.
Amy would benefit most from a family who can provide for her emotionally and be supportive of ensuring she maintains contact with her brother.
Lori is the founder, CEO and President of FosterAdopt Connect. Lori and her husband Randy have been foster/adoptive parents since 1985. Together they have cared for more than 400 foster children and adopted 23 children, in addition to their five biological children. Lori and Randy are currently also the proud grandparents of 17 children so far. Lori holds a degree in psychology which she completed Summa Cum Laude as an adult learner, and has completed thousands of hours of additional training in issues related to the special needs of abused and neglected children. Lori began her professional child welfare career working with the Missouri Children’s Division, and the Kansas Department for Children and Families as a teaching foster parent over 30 years ago. She worked with other families to help found FosterAdopt Connect in 1998 initially as a support group, and in 2000 as a nonprofit agency, and has served as the organization’s President and CEO since that time. Lori also worked with the North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC) as a consultant in their Community Champions Network, providing child welfare services in the states of Texas, Colorado and Ohio. Her reputation within the child welfare community is an invaluable asset to the organization, and has contributed to FosterAdopt Connect’s effective advocacy work on behalf of kids and families in Missouri, Kansas and nationally. Throughout her career, Lori has served on a variety of boards and task forces related to foster care and adoption, including serving as the chair of the Missouri Task Force on Children’s Justice for several years. She is currently the board chair for Voice for Adoption, a DC based national child welfare advocacy organization.
Allison is Executive Director at the Southwest Missouri Resource Center in Springfield. She earned a BA in Art History from the University of Denver, an MA in History from the Missouri State University, and a culinary arts degree from Le Cordon Bleu. She resides in Springfield MO with her husband Aaron and two children, where they enjoy being outdoors, spending time together, traveling, and eating good food. Allison’s inspiration to work with abused and neglected children comes from knowing that there is nothing better than being able to see that the work you do has made a an impact in someone’s life.
Joni and her husband Jim are lifelong area residents and fostered over 135 children in 27 years. Jim and Joni have three grown daughters and two grandsons. In 2002, Joni joined the Board of Directors for Kansas Foster & Adoptive Children Inc.(KFAC), a foster/adoptive support and advocacy group on the Kansas side. Joni held this Director position up until serving as President of KFAC from 2005 until April of 2014 when the organization merged with FosterAdopt Connect. Joni became the Kansas Director of Programs after leaving her job with the Olathe School District after almost 20 years.
Jennifer joined FosterAdopt Connect in 2010 and later became our chief operations officer in 2015. She has dedicated her professional career to serving the children and families of Missouri and Kansas and has more than 20 years of experience in providing leadership, program implementation and strategic vision within the child welfare field. She graduated with distinction from the University of Kansas with a degree in psychology.
Morrgon is a young man who is full of heart and a passion for learning! He is in the 8th grade and while he greatly enjoys school, he views the world around him as an opportunity to learn more! He soaks-up bonding experiences and said that he would love the chance to bake sweet treats or cook dinner for his family.
He dreams of becoming a professional basketball player, a professional football player, or a fire fighter. Morrgon respects and values acts of kindness and helping others. He believes that others feel comfortable in his presence because he is nice, friendly, and looks for ways to include everyone. He describes himself as a helper. Recently, he had the opportunity to help an elderly person by pushing their wheelchair up a ramp!
It does not take long in Morrgon’s presence to feel his genuine and sweet spirit. This is a young man who is ready to be adopted and wrapped-up in the unconditional love of a forever family. His biggest wishes are to have a father who will protect him and a dog that he can care for. Even though Morrgon has shared his dream of having a dad, he is open to various family types and would love siblings.
Morrgon is an active young man who would do best in a family that values movement and the outdoors.
This dynamic sibling group of six consists of: Honey (13), Romero “Mikey” (12), Mercy (10), Miguel (8), Chevelle (7), and SuYen (5). This sibling group shares a strong bond. They care about one another, but can also be competitive with one another, especially regarding their school grades! They pride themselves in their education. Honey is a peace keeper. She is intelligent, soft spoken, and gentle. Her favorite subject is Math and she enjoys listening to music. Though she has many, her favorite artists are Billy Eilish and Chris Brown. Mikey is good at expressing his emotions and advocating for his needs. If he isn’t catching up on his sleep you will probably find him playing his favorite video game, Dragon Ball Z. He also enjoys tinkering around with radio control cars and finds Social Studies fascinating. Mercy is very sweet and has a permanent smile on her face. She is incredibly insightful and likes to journal and write stories. Miguel loves to swim and play soccer. He is kind hearted, affectionate, and loves to cuddle. Chevelle likes to read and enjoys English and Math. She is a very happy kid and loves to play; she especially likes riding her bike. SuYen makes friends easily and craves positive attention. She is insightful, articulate, and loves to tell stories. SuYen still enjoys the comfort that comes with being held and rocked by a safe and caring adult.
The professional team plans on keeping these siblings together so a two parent home would be preferred.
Barb Kempf has worked at FosterAdopt Connect since June of 2019 in the role of Vice President of Family Programs serving families through advocacy, support, education, training and navigation. Barb possesses both a bachelor and master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Kansas and has over 25 years of experience working in child welfare and juvenile justice with the majority of those years working within the area of foster care. She has been married for over 30 years and has two adult children and one very adorable grandson. Barb enjoys spending her free time biking and watching her favorite team, the KU Jayhawks Men’s Basketball team.
Aaliyah is a healthy and sweet fourteen year old female. She is in the 10th grade for the 2019-2020 school year and receives good reports. Aaliyah is a chatty young lady who gets along well with her peers. She is friendly, enjoys getting to know people, and is sure to put a smile on your face.
Aaliyah enjoys watching shows on her kindle or on the television. Her all-time favorite is a show called Star, which is about singing and dancing. Aaliyah also likes watching Frozen, listening to Beyoncé, and going to Worlds of Fun to cater to her adventurous side. To stay active, Aaliyah enjoys playing kickball and basketball in her spare time.
Xavier is a fun-loving 11 year old boy and on a warm summer day, he can be found playing outside with friends and enjoying life. His favorite outdoor activities are: riding bikes, fishing, and playing soccer. Although he excels at many things, one of the brightest things about him is his sense of humor! He loves a good joke and is talented at working in a goofy smile, which brings joy to those around him. Xavier has a big heart and cares deeply for his loved ones and animals; he even thinks baby squirrels are cute! He also loves family activities. Whether it is staying in to make homemade cheese pizza, going to Worlds of Fun, or a family game night, he thrives when he is surrounded by loving individuals! He says that his favorite movies are, The Nut Job and Avengers Infinity War. He enjoys the Marvel Comic world and also likes to play the Xbox 1s.
Xavier is excited to find his forever family. He has so much to offer the world and the right family will help him nurture that potential! His ideal family would be a parent(s) who love him and siblings who play with him. He is open to many different family dynamics.
Triston is a twelve year old, bi-racial male. He will be in the seventh grade for the 2019-2020 school year. Triston is eager to learn, though it may not always be his favorite thing. He does well in a structured school with the expectations clearly laid out.
Triston is very talented and loves to draw and create things. He enjoys sketching and likes to play video games where he can create and build his own world. Triston loves listening to music and oftentimes uses his music as a way to express his feelings. Triston also enjoys time spent outside playing basketball or skateboarding. Triston deems himself a “protector” and stands up for those getting picked on.
Triston is a funny kid who likes to make people laugh. He is very likable and makes friends wherever he goes. Triston loves dogs and has always expressed his desire to live in a home with a dog.
Traleah is an introspective young lady with a genuine laugh that brings a smile to the face of those who are lucky enough to hear it! She deeply values her friendships and relationships with family members and considers herself to have an easy-going personality. When the warm sunshine draws her outdoors, you might find her journaling in a hammock or swimming with friends. She has many close friends and treasures times spent shopping, hanging out, or just eating pizza together. If she had her choice, everyday would be a pepperoni pizza kind of day!
Traleah is looking for a family who will respect her personal identity and who will love her unconditionally. While she does have family and friend connections in her hometown, she would consider moving to a different area. She will do best in a family with children her own age or older. However, she would also consider a home where she would be an only child.
Skiilar is a thirteen-year-old, African-American male. Skiilar is a social young man and enjoys making people laugh. He is out going and funny. Skiilar describes himself as a good listener, respectful, and kind; attributes he hopes and believes others see in him as well.
Skiilar’s favorite past times are basketball, baseball, video games (Call of Duty 4, to be exact), and texting. Skiilar is not on any sports teams at the moment, but he has high hopes of being on a baseball team this next season. Skiilar is in the 8th grade for the 2019-2020 school year. Skiilar manages good grades in school and his most enjoyed subject is math.
Julius is a fifteen-year-old African American male. He is a loving and sweet young man with a good sense of humor. Julius is able to form bonds with those around him and communicate his wants and needs. Be prepared to grin ear-to-ear because his smile is contagious. Julius’ favorite past times include watching television, being outside, and going on car trips. Just a simple trip to the gas station is a great way to appease this young man’s adventurous spirit! Julius also enjoys bicycles and is enthralled by maps and trains.
JR is a sixteen-year-old kid who has a heartfelt smile and is full of humor! He has a contagious chuckle and loves to get his friends and family laughing. During down time, JR can be found reading a new novel. He really enjoys mysteries, light-hearted summer reads, and loves a good joke book! When the sun is shining, some of JR’s favorite things to do are: camping and cooking over a fire, fishing, working in the garden, or playing basketball and soccer. JR has many friends and is often described as being a thoughtful individual. He has a big heart with lots of love to give and is longing for a family to love him unconditionally.
He does have biological family he would like to remain in contact with, but he is also willing to move to another area. JR would do best in a family with two parents and children around his own age. He is open to being an only child, yet would enjoy the comradery of siblings.
Hanna is a fourteen-year-old girl who has blonde hair, brown eyes, and a darling smile. Though Hanna can be shy, her staff reports that she is capable of forming significant bonds with those she has grown to trust. Hanna’s favorite food is peanut butter; she will eat just about anything if there is peanut butter on it. Hanna’s favorite activity is watching Disney movies and cartoons on her iPad.
Hanna’s placement provider sees something different in Hanna every day. “Hanna is a sweet girl and needs a lot of love” states the provider. Hanna is perceptive and is able to understand verbal communication, as well as the emotions of those around her.
Parental rights are terminated and she is currently available for adoption to a loving family.
Dreshun is a clever, fifteen year old boy, who is actively engaged in his education and extra-curricular activities. He gets good marks in the 9th grade and enjoys math, science, and language arts. He has a unique interest in working in Horticulture. He enjoys selling his plants and watching the fruits of his labor grow. He is currently growing onions, celery, sylvia, and aloe. Dreshun is an active kid and loves playing basketball as point guard on his school team, football, and spending time with his friends. He also enjoys juggling, art, ceramics, drawing, and telling jokes.
Dreshun describes himself as an active person who cares about others and as having a sense of humor. Others describe him as being very caring and loving to those around him. Dreshun wants to graduate High School and go on to become an EMT.
A good home for Dreshun would be one with parent (s) who are loving, supportive of his future goals, structured, and active. Dreshun would do best in a home where he is the youngest child or only child, though other family dynamics would be considered.
Aujanay is an inquisitive and fun-loving 14 year old girl. When she isn’t writing in her journal, drawing, or painting, she can be found at Worlds of Fun, soaking up the sun and riding her favorite roller coasters! In her leisure time, she enjoys sports; purely for the love of the game. Her favorites are basketball and soccer. She has a vivid imagination and would love to have a pet monkey, someday!
Many describe Aujanay as being vivacious, outgoing, and easy to talk to. The things that she likes most about herself are her sense of humor, her caring for friends and family, and her helpfulness. Aujanay gets along well with others and has many lasting relationship with peers from school, teachers and other important role models.
Aujanay desires to have a forever family that will love her. She would do well with other children in the home. Aujanay would be most successful in a home that has consistent expectations, sets firm boundaries, and respects her own personal boundaries.
Antonio is an introspective and thoughtful young man. He is looking forward to his 16th birthday and hopes to celebrate with people he cares about! He considers himself a patient, kind, respectful, and active person, who tends to be quiet. Some of his favorite past times include playing point guard in basketball and quarterback in football. He really enjoys being social and spending time with his friends. When he does want to spend time in solitude, he can be found drawing Anime or enjoying the outdoors.
Antonio has a big heart and is looking for a family to love him forever! He has so much to offer his community and future family. He is open to many different family types and cares most about being loved and feeling like he is wanted. Antonio would be over the moon if his future family had a cat.
Andre is an energetic, seventeen year old male. Andre likes to stay busy and enjoys sports, especially basketball, as he towers over six foot. He can put up quite the challenge on the basketball court and would like to be on a team someday. Andre enjoys listening to music, playing games on the Play Station 4 or Xbox, and swimming.
Andre needs a home that can provide him with stability and structure. Andre’s greatest need is to feel safe, supported, and loved. Andre is open to siblings, both younger and older. Andre would also love a family who would support contact with some of his safe and appropriate biological family members.
Adrianna is an outgoing and talkative sixteen year old Caucasian girl. Adrianna enjoys drawing, listening to music, and singing. She adores her little brother Dylan, as they have a very close bond. She reports that she feels the need to protect and watch over him.
Dylan is a very sweet, loving, and shy eleven year old Caucasian male. He enjoys many outdoor activities such as baseball, soccer, and kickball; but he is just as happy playing video games. Dylan is shy at first, but will quickly warm up once he gets to know you.
Dylan enjoys school, but can sometimes become confused or bored depending on the subject. Dylan would love to become a news anchor for Fox 4 News when he gets older!
Dylan and Adrianna desire a “forever home” with a family that will love them unconditionally. Ideally, a family who can provide a loving, structured, and active environment would be the best fit.
Leon is FosterAdopt Connect’s Chief Financial Officer. After graduating with his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree, Leon spent 12 years living in Russia working with at-risk youth and children. Upon returning from Russia in 2006, Leon started and ran a successful business for nine years. Eventually, Leon’s heart for children and at-risk youth led him back into the nonprofit world. He joined FosterAdopt Connect’s staff in 2014 in the Springfield location. In 2015, Leon was asked to become the Development Director at the headquarters in Kansas City. After becoming a Certified Nonprofit Accounting Professional in 2016, Leon was asked to move into the CFO position. Leon and his husband, Vladimir, live in Kansas City.
Garni is the Program Director of the Northwest Missouri branch office in Chillicothe. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Graceland University. Upon graduation, she pursued her passion to help victims of domestic violence and sexual assault as an AmeriCorps Vista volunteer by establishing a Women’s Shelter for victims of domestic violence. For several years she worked in the private sector, but her heart for children led her to FosterAdopt Connect where she hopes to make a lasting, positive impact on children and families. She is a proud mom to 3 amazing kiddos, Riley, Luke and Lilly. In her free time she loves to spend time with her family, drink coffee, read books, eat good food and go camping and hiking.
Mary is Program Director of the Southeast Missouri branch office in Poplar Bluff. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a master’s degree in Community Counseling, and is a Licensed Professional Counselor. She enjoys working with children and families, and spent 10 years teaching in the public schools, 10 years counseling in community mental health and a hospital, and has fostered for the past 17 years. Mary is proud to be a mother to her four beautiful children who she was blessed to adopt. Her kids are Natalie, Jaelyn Grace, Shae, and Zaiden. She also has two grandkids, Gabriel and Elena. Mary enjoys being outside in the fall and spring working in the yard, taking walks, and spending time with family and friends.
Nathan is the Vice President of Children and Youth Programs at FosterAdopt Connect. As an adopted person, Nathan has spent the last 12 years sharing his story with child welfare workers and policy makers around the country, and has spent the last 8 years working with youth in foster care. In addition to being able to use his personal experiences to impact child welfare, Nathan holds a bachelor’s degree in social psychology, and is working on completing his master’s degree in social work. In his role at FosterAdopt Connect, Nathan oversees the development, implementation, and execution of programming, across all of FosterAdopt Connect’s branches, intended to directly serve children and youth affected by the child welfare system.
Bridgett is the Chief Development Officer at FosterAdopt Connect. Bridgett assumed the new role for the organization in January 2018. Bridgett works directly with the President/CEO to promote the organization’s mission and achieve fundraising goals by securing financial support from foundations, corporations, government entities, and individuals. Bridgett also provides support to the communications and public relations staff who promote FosterAdopt Connect’s programs, services, activities, and community events. She also provides guidance and expertise to support fundraising efforts in all branch offices. Bridgett comes to FosterAdopt Connect with 22 years of non-profit executive leadership experience and attended Missouri State University with a major in business communications. Bridgett resides in Kansas City and enjoys spending time with her three sons and two grandchildren, Madison and William.