ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Foster care children have always had a special place in Tami Martin's heart. As a guardian ad litem for the Family Court system in Pinellas County, she has supported and mentored kids in foster care homes for years.
She always felt sad for those children who "aged out" of the system and seemed to be lost on their own, so recently she decided to take this mission to the next level, and she created a nonprofit to help them.
"My mission is to empower and engage foster care youth by providing them with resources and advocacy programs that will help," Martin said.
Future Resilient Empowered Engaged Foster Care Youth is in its infancy, but Martin hopes it is just the beginning of a beautiful way to have qualified adults mentor those foster kids that have grown up on their own and are now trying to make it as adults without adult advice.
"Currently I am mentoring two children that have just emancipated out of foster care," Martin said. "They've been a great success for me in teaching me!"
She noticed many of the kids in foster care are not aware of simple things we take for granted. Their basic knowledge necessities haven't been met, she said.
To counter that void, one activity on Martin's agenda is to go through the book "Know Your Rights" with those children she mentors.
Local attorney and author Taylor Greenberg wrote the book to explain how youth can use their voice and exercise the legal rights they have.
"A lot of kids don't know they have the right to normalcy, which means they have the right to live like other kids their age who aren't in foster care," Greenberg said.
Through all of this, Martin wants to give back to those kids she has served in the foster care system.
"I'd like my organization to be a mentor towards these children," she said.
To get involved or help, check out Tami's website.