AP NEWS

New Jersey teen donates journals, pens to other foster kids

May 17, 2019

VINELAND, N.J. (AP) — Making her journey through foster care and adjusting to adoption, Tadae King-Williams relies on words of inspiration.

And they are her own.

“My journal was my lifeline,” King-Williams said. “When I felt like I had no one to understand me, I knew I always had my journal to write in.”

Filling the blank pages helped her cope and helps her heal.

The Vineland High School senior now wants to offer that comfort to other teens facing similar foster care challenges.

Launching “Tadae’s Foster for Tomorrow,” she is collecting journals, pens, adult coloring books as well as toiletries. These items will be packed into drawstring bags carrying her message, “Life is tough but so are you” to be given to teens in foster care so they have something of their own.

Foster care changed King-Williams’ life and help shaped the woman she is now.

“I would not be person I am today without it, for that I am grateful,” the 17-year-old told The Daily Journal.

“I want to give back to maybe allow one kid to feel like they aren’t alone; to make someone feel as though someone understands; to inspire other children to have hope that they won’t be just another statistic,” King-Williams said. “I know it sounds ridiculous, but I want to change the world.”

Hoping to partner with local business, King-Williams emailed Rob Rone, the owner of three local Wendy’s about her idea.

“It hit me in the heart what she’s been through and that I can help other kids who are in that situation locally is huge,” Rone said.

To coincide with Foster Care Awareness Month, King-Williams and Rone will host a collection to gather the comfort items.

The initial goal was fill 25 to 30 bags, she said.

“Then I got involved,” Rone said, with a laugh. “Let’s do 300, we can do it, absolutely.”

On Tuesday, 10 percent of all sales between 5 and 8 p.m. at all three Wendy’s restaurants will be earmarked for “Tadae’s Foster for Tomorrow.”

It’s the first time Rone is hosting a benefit simultaneously at all three of his Wendy’s franchises.

The state department of Child Protection and Permanency is providing face painters and handing out information to recruit foster parents.

This fundraiser falls within the week King-Williams marks the first anniversary of her adoption. All proceeds will be used to purchase journals and other items to fill the bags.

King-Williams’ mission dovetails into Wendy’s corporate community outreach. The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, named for and established by the Wendy’s founder, focuses on finding permanent homes for children in foster care.

“It’s a great fix, it goes together,” Rone said.

You don’t have to wait until Tuesday to donate. King-Williams set up a collection box in the restaurant lobby.

Everyone who donates will be thanked with free Frosty, Rone said.

Talking about the plans, King-Williams is at times taken back by her own success.

“I had a little idea and now it’s definitely grown,” she said,

She has too.

Next month, the honor student will graduate from VHS and head to Rowan University to start a new journey. King-Williams, a math whiz with an interest in psychology, is considering career options.

Her fundraising partner offered some heartfelt advice.

“Do what makes you happy,′ Rone said.

Online: https://bit.ly/2JN0doO

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Information from: The (Vineland, N.J.) Daily Journal, http://www.thedailyjournal.com