The award was named in honor of the late Myra Kraft and what she valued most in her life — service to others.
That epitomizes Joan’s work with youth who are experiencing foster care. Since 1990, Joan has welcomed 80 children and teenagers into her home. She has been a stable source of support for teenagers who’ve returned to her home after more intensive placements in residential homes did not work out.
Joan’s background as a caregiver at a residential school, where she worked with youth who rarely saw their parents and never experienced having the privacy of their own room, has informed her work with youth experiencing foster care.
“Children in foster care do nothing to deserve their plight, which ends with their being removed from family and experiencing the trauma of separation as well as the physical and emotional abuse which most likely got them removed in the first place,” Joan says. “There are definitely challenges for myself as well as the youth coming into care. Thankfully, I am not alone. In fact, I could not possibly do this work if I didn’t have supports from social workers, teachers, therapists, and other foster parents.”
Joan adds that she is ultimately driven to work with youth experiencing foster care based, in part, from what she gets out of the experience: “In giving, we receive — and what I’ve received are daily lessons in communication, kindness, humility and a chance to make a difference in someone else’s life.”
We are so grateful to foster parents like Joan and to the Patriots Foundation for recognizing Joan’s service. We’re also grateful for the $10,000 contribution to HopeWell to support our services that came along with the recognition!
“Being a foster parent has given me the opportunity to offer a child a safe place and a home with someone who cares”