If you have run a shop for any amount of time, finding and keeping good help is always near the top of the list. At every class I teach a few minutes are spent discussing the plight of American foster children. First the chilling numbers. Over ½ million American kids have been removed from their homes for their own safety. 130,000 have gone through, or are in the process, of legally being freed to adopt. In other words they need a new forever family. 25,000 of these kids will never get adopted and will age out of the foster care system at eighteen without being attached to a family of their own. 25,000 American kids (per year) will not have a family to spend vacations, holidays or their birthdays with. Those are the facts, as sad as they are. Each year it gets worse. You can help.
When Deb and I found out in 1992 that we could not conceive our own children, we were sad, mad, frustrated and lost. After some real soul searching and an education in all types of adoption, it was clear to us there were kids in our area that really needed parents, a home, love, family, discipline, and a future. We didn’t need to go outside the USA to help a child find a home, there were plenty right here. I respect all those that adopt from anywhere in the world as every child deserves a family.
At the same time Deb and I were building the Massachusetts ASA chapter, we were also preparing a home for what would be two foster-adoptions. Mike was first at age 5. We took him in as our own, adopted Mike and started our family. Will was next at age 15. Now the boys are 31 and 25. Mike is doing well after some very rough times. Will is not. It was more than worth it. We didn’t need baby pictures; we just wanted to be parents. Deb and I knew we could do a good job.
At Van Batenburg’s Garage, Mike and Will helped with trash, clean up, worked on company vehicles, and did some computer work. Recently Mike and I worked on his 2008 Civic Si that he bought (with the banks help) a few years back. Will takes the bus. Working with my sons added more than just a cleaner shop. It helped them learn, helped them develop skills they will need to succeed in the real world, a not so nice place at times. Both of my sons know how tough the world can be and learned at much too young of an age. What they need now is to learn survival and success skills. Fixing cars can do that.
If you have been employing young people, you have been dealing with some bad behaviors. You already know what to do keep young people in line. I have an idea. Why not learn more about the foster teenagers that live in your home town, visit with them and offer them a job, a future and maybe even a home. There is more to life than work. Why not make your career a place for foster kids too?
Craig Van Batenburg