As a child, Elana Conner lost both of her parents and spent her school years in foster care, hoping from family to family. She struggled, but managed to finish high school and then college. She learned to sail in San Francisco, less than a decade ago. But personal difficulties and strong mentors convinced her she needed to follow her dream of circumnavigating on her own boat sooner rather than later. She recently sailed across the pacific solo, arriving in New Zealand a little over a month ago. In this first of a two part interview, I speak with Elana about the challenges she’s overcome and how she learned to sail. Follow Elana at https://www.peregrinasails.com/
Here are ways you can support children in the foster care system:
- First, and most basic, when folks shop on Amazon, choose to shop at https://smile.amazon.com/ and choose a local foster care org or CASA chapter. For every purchase made, Amazon will give money to your org, and it adds up quickly!
- Foster Hope is the New Zealand base foster care organization Elana talks about in our interview - https://www.fosterhope.org.nz/
- Together We Rise — https://www.togetherwerise.org/team-building/ — They have a number of programs, including opportunities for corporate team-building projects (like assembling bikes and skateboards, or backpacks).
- Become a resource family in SF to foster or adopt a child from the foster care system: https://sfcaresforkids.org/foster/
- SF Foster Youth Fund — http://www.sffosteryouthfund.org/what-we-do/ — they provide funding and/or scholarships to allow children in foster care to have access to activities beyond the basics, like music lessons, summer camps, etc.
- CASA in California— https://www.californiacasa.org/ — CASA stands for Court-Appointed Special Advocate, and there is a CASA program in almost every district in the country, as well as a national advocacy organization. People who are interested in becoming a CASA go through a multi-month training and are sworn-in at their local court.
- Finally, here is an additional list of ways to help foster kids: http://www.fostercoalition.com/help-foster-children