University of Colorado at Boulder Chancellor G.P. "Bud" Peterson and his wife, Val, are inviting the campus and Boulder community to attend an April 30 open house luncheon to learn more about the importance of foster parenting and to be part of a new university scholarship program supporting college-bound students exiting the foster care system.
The free, public luncheon will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Leeds School of Business Koelbel Building, room 355. Current and past foster families and CU-Boulder faculty, staff and students who were foster children themselves will attend the event and share their stories. The Guardian Scholars Program, a new scholarship program to benefit college-bound foster children, will be unveiled during the luncheon.
The Boulder County Department of Social Services and the Leeds School of Business are sponsoring the event.
"We do have foster parents at CU-Boulder, but we just need more," said co-host Val Peterson. "Due to the nature of this issue, many of these foster kids are anonymous, especially in Boulder County which is pretty well off financially. Many people do not realize how many foster kids there are in Boulder County and what needs they have."
The event's main goal is to encourage people to be foster parents or to help in any way they can, according to Val Peterson. Officials from the Boulder County Department of Social Services will be available to answer questions and offer advice on how to become a foster or foster-adopt parent.
"In 2007, there were 192 children in foster care in Boulder County alone, so there is a need for foster parents and foster-to-adopt parents in our community," said Jessica Pac of the Boulder County Department of Social Services.
Val Peterson said foster care is an issue she cares deeply about, and one that she has a great deal of experience with. The Petersons, who have four grown children of their own, also were foster parents to nine children over 11 years prior to moving to Colorado.
During the luncheon she will tell the story of all of their foster children.
"Now that we don't have any children at home, I look back and wonder how we did it," she said. "We had six kids at home and they were all in scouts and all in soccer or other sports. The best thing is I wouldn't trade that experience for anything."
Part of being a foster parent is teaching kids some of life's lessons, since they haven't had a parent to do it for them, according to Val Peterson.
"There are kids in Boulder County who have aged out of foster care and were never adopted," she said. "They need help with life skills like cooking and balancing a checkbook. If people want to be mentors to these kids, that would be great, or if they want to donate to our new scholarship program that we will be announcing, that would be great too."
Parking for the event is available at meters along Regent Drive and in lot 436 north of Coors Events/Conference Center.
For more information about becoming a foster or foster-adopt parent in Boulder County visit www.bouldercounty.org/ss/adoption/.