Did you know that there are on average 600,000 children in the foster care system in the United States? Of these foster children there are on average 120,000 available for adoption and many age out of the foster care system and lack housing and support to succeed. Realizing the need for advocacy for these children, Grant Me Hope was founded in September 2014 by Helen Zeerip. California had aired adoptable children on TV news stations and had great success finding them adoptive homes. Zeerip thought, “Why aren’t we doing that in Michigan?”
Partnering with the State of Michigan and local TV stations, such as WZZM 13 Grand Rapids and WXYZ 7 Detroit, Grant Me Hope (GMH) started producing TV newsworthy videos of foster children available for adoption. The first child aired on WXYZ Detroit received 19 inquiring phone calls.
“So we went from having no interest in this beautiful child, to 19 inquiries! I was giddy!” Zeerip said.
In Michigan, Grant Me Hope (GMH) is airing information about adoptable children in Lansing, Cadillac, Traverse City and Sault Saint Marie and on TCT Network as well. In 2016 GMH launched in Ohio and are airing children in Cincinnati, Dayton, and Toledo. Zeerip has done a TED Talk and has had numerous speaking engagements statewide trying to educate America about the plight of foster children.
Five facts you might not know about foster children:
- Foster children are in foster care through no fault of their own, they are innocent victims of circumstances beyond their control.
- Foster children are amazing children and need a safe and stable family to show them unconditional love.
- There is typically no cost involved to adopt foster children in Michigan as well as many other states.
- 25% of youth who age out of foster care become homeless.
- Less that 2% of youth who age out of foster care will go on to higher education.
Sometimes it takes creativity to get your message out, and Grant Me Hope certainly got creative! Since 2016, Grant Me Hope has partnered with trucking companies to put 2’ x 2’ decals on the back of their trucks. These trucks and decals bring awareness to people all over the country. There have been numerous inquires about how to become a foster parent from people who have seen these decals on trucks. With a goal to take the initiative national, Grant Me Hope launched in Mississippi in July 2020. They are in talks with other states as well.
Social media has been a powerful tool as well. "You never know how of your friends and family might be interested in adopting" Zeerip says.
Every year Grant Me Hope invites all the children in group homes, foster homes, and adoptive homes, along with the whole community, to a day of fun filled activities! Even as their biggest fundraiser, it remains affordable for all with a free will donation. Join Grant Me Hope on Saturday, September 26 from noon-6 p.m. at Nelis’ Dutch Village and Holland Town Center, 12330 James Street Holland, MI. The something for everyone event includes a semi-truck show, car show and motorcycle show. Please arrive by 11am to participate in the car or motorcycle show. Trophies will be awarded. Nelis’ Dutch Village has rides, games, petting zoo and Dutch themed shops the whole family will enjoy.