“Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud” (Maya Angelou)
This quote from Maya Angelou is Roxanne King-William’s favorite quote, and she has exemplified its meaning in everything she has done for teens in need since becoming a Forestdale foster parent. In recognition of this service, ACS presented Mrs. King-Williams with their “Outstanding Foster Parent” award, at a reception held on May 25th at the NYU Helen and Martin Kimmel Center for University Life.
“Aunt Roxanne”, as the children call her, has been a Forestdale foster parent since 2015 and recently welcomed four siblings (3 of them teenagers!) into her Jamaica, Queens home. Four youth at one time would be daunting for almost anyone, but her experience as a leader and mentor in her church’s Youth Department helped prepare her for the responsibilities, obstacles, and joys of parenting. She and the teens were able to adjust to each other quickly thanks to the love, stability, guidance, and comfort she provides.
Pre-packaged ingredient deliveries make cooking a fun activity for the whole family, and one child is tasked with setting the table every night. This is the way that Aunt Roxanne encourages responsibility and curiosity at the same time – the youth are free to explore new hobbies such as cooking, but homework has to be done right after the meal, and set up and cleanup are just as important as sitting down to eat as a family.
Another important element of her foster parenting philosophy is the fact that she gives the teens a voice in important decisions, allowing them to negotiate their own curfew, for instance. She also requests periodic feedback from the children in her care. This action alone lets them know that their voices matter!
Aunt Roxanne and family have a lot to look forward to this summer. The youngest child is graduating from Kindergarten at the end of this month, the middle girls have made tremendous strides in school, and the oldest boy is graduating high school and will start college at SUNY New Paltz in the fall. He will be the first member of his family to go to college!
Through moments great and small, this Outstanding Foster Parent provides a safe and loving environment for young people – we are proud of her and all that she has helped these four youth accomplish in this past year.