There are community service organizations that “do good”, and then there are community service organizations that do great – that go above and beyond. The Maria Joy Foundation is doing just that.
I was first introduced to foster and adoption as a child when my mother remarried a gentleman who had adopted a beautiful young girl. We were a blended family and the adjustment was not easy, but over the years I’ve been blessed to have the sister I would not have otherwise had, had it not been for adoption.
As a married husband and father of three in Florida, we see the SIGNIFICANT need to serve children and families in need. To that end we’ve become foster parents and despite dealing with the challenges of the “system”, we feel a strong calling to serve God and children in need. Foster parenting is not easy—frankly, it’s thankless—however the need continues to grow within our communities to help children without a loving family.
The Maria Joy Foundation is focused on increasing awareness and support for the foster care and adoption system. Children within our communities are in desperate need for advocacy, love, attention, and positive reinforcement. Start A Snowball received a grant request from Taylor Tinsley, the teenage daughter of Olivia Maria Joy, who was once a foster child adopted along with her brothers and sisters. Taylor founded The Maria Joy Foundation, and she believes every child in this world deserves a loving family.
A startling number of children in America are suffering from a hidden epidemic of child abuse and neglect. Every year, more than 3 million reports of child abuse are made in the United States involving more than 6 million children. The United States has one of the worst records among industrialized nations—losing an average between four and seven children every day to child abuse and neglect.
The purpose of the Maria Joy Foundation is to host events for children, participate in community service projects, and organize fundraisers to raise funds for children in foster care, as well as promote child adoption awareness. In addition to supporting awareness, the Maria Joy Foundation seeks to help children with literacy by organizing events for reading and book drives. This year, Taylor plans to use her grant from Start a Snowball to make sure the foster kids in her area have the school supplies they need when they go back to school.
It’s an honor to support the Maria Joy Foundation at Start A Snowball. Our funds are helping create scholarships for children within the foster care system. We look forward to continued support and expansion of the program. We continue to be amazed with this generation of youth and their devotion to service, what we see forming is the next “Greatest Generation” and it’s being led by children like Taylor.
By John Mize, VP Start a Snowball Board of Directors