The week we brought home one of our twins, a little organization called SMILE organized meals for our family. Six meals were delivered daily the first week Miss Magnolia was home from the NICU.
Smile had been started by Esther, another local foster mom and she collected donations of clothes and baby equipment at her home, to be passed along to foster families when they accepted placements. When she first began the organization, she was trying to assist the homeless and the poverty stricken, and then it morphed into a foster care assistant program. Esther had hosted several community meetings to get others involved, hoping to find someone to take Smile to the next level of becoming a 501c3, etc. I had attended a couple of those meetings and took notes and offered some ideas as a foster parent myself.
Then January 4, 2018, Esther messaged me and said she was stepping down from Smile and was ready to pass it on…and would I want to take over? I thought for 3 heartbeats and said “yes!” We met that night at LaCarretta and she passed the torch over chips and queso.
Looking back, I’m glad I had no idea what was in store for me or my family running this organization. The joy of it has been quite the surprise.
It has now been 18 months since that day. Smile is now an official 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and I am it’s director. 168 pages later, I’m also known as the created and incorporator of our official status. Our president of the board, Rachel Lawson, has been there with me every step of the way (really, a few weeks ahead of me as she offered the basement that is now the main location of Smile on her church’s property for storage just before Esther offered me the gig). We have a board of 10 members. We have real meetings and budgets. We have donors and sponsors. We have served 620 clients in our community as of July 1, 2019. 620!
Smile has become for me a dream I didn’t know I had; a non profit of epic impactful proportions, enmeshed in this community of fosters that I love so much.
If you’re curious about our mission and all we do, visit our website at smilefostercloset.org.