Fostering compassion and care
Seventeen-year-old Brett Farris knows the anxiety that foster children face.
Although a Rutherford County native, Farris and his family lived in Billings, Mont., for four years where they became a foster family for Yellowstone County.
While his parents fostered children, Farris noticed that the kids arriving at his family's home often had no bag of their own, personal necessities or stuffed animals to comfort them.
"A lot of kids coming in and out of our home would have their personal belongings in trash bags, if they had any belongings at all," Farris said. "It was very disheartening."
In hopes of changing that, Farris, a junior at Chase High School and Boy Scout with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Troop 138, is working on a project to show compassion and care and help ease the anxiety felt by foster children.
"For my Eagle Scout project, I want to collect nice backpacks or bags of some sort along with new, small stuffed animals and personal care kits for the foster children in Rutherford County," he said. "I want to have bags for all ages of children, from babies to teenagers."
Farris' 6-year-old sister was a foster child, which makes the project one that is close to his heart.
"She was five days old when she came to our home," he said. "She was blessed not to have to go through things that other children have to go through such as jumping from home to home."
Having reached out to multiple churches and schools, Farris is looking for additional youth organizations, church groups or individuals and families who would like to assist foster children in the county.
"I know there are a lot of children in foster care in the county and more taken from their home every day," he said. "I would like for the social workers that remove the children from their homes to have something in their trunks to give the children to help them have less anxiety about what they are going through and to have something to call their own. It has to be very traumatic for these children."
Collection areas for items will be set up at participating agencies and organizations, and Farris will then transport items to Rutherford County Department of Social Services, which will distribute the bags to children.
Farris is looking forward to collecting as many items as he can with the community's help, and anyone interested in aiding his efforts can email him at lowbrassguy22@gmail or call him at 828-395-3546.
"I wish all children were able to have loving families like mine. It is sad to see a child suffer," Farris said. "I want to do something meaningful for the community that we live in and this is something that I can relate to on a personal level."