By Kathy L. Collins
The Sylvia Thomas Center For Adoptive and Foster Families, Inc. (the Sylvia Thomas Center) is a local non-profit that puts the “forever” in “forever families.” Unfortunately, this wonderful organization has been hard hit by budget cuts and has had its funding drastically cut.
President and CEO, Denise G. Jamieson said, “We want people to know that despite the cuts, we are still here helping those who need us.”
Who needs the Sylvia Thomas Center? Jamieson offers the following example. A 12-year-old adopted boy was asked by his mother what it meant to him to be adopted. After thinking for a moment, he said, “To me, being adopted is like being a dirty, raggedy ball that no one wants and is thrown away…until your forever mommy and daddy find you, bring you home, clean you up and discover you are riddled with gold and jewels and are something to be treasured.”
Jamieson explained that the Sylvia Thomas Center provides much-needed after adoption services that help keep “forever families” together and prevent children from being returned to foster care where they risk being further traumatized. “Children struggle, families struggle, and the Sylvia Thomas Center is there to help. Our counselors are available 24/7,” said Jamieson.
The Sylvia Thomas Center is fighting hard to continue to do the work it does in our community. Thanks to generous companies such as the UPS Foundation and Suncoast Federal Credit Union, both of whom have given generous $5,000 grants, the Sylvia Thomas Center has been able to restore some of the services that were previously cut.
However, the Sylvia Thomas Center is still in need of the help of the community, and you can help by making a donation and/or volunteering to help. Students can earn valuable community service hours. On Saturday, November 23 you can attend a fun event and help this important organization. The Sylvia Thomas Center will hold its first Denim and Diamonds Ball.
The Sylvia Thomas Center is now located at 500 Lithia Pinecrest Rd. in Brandon. The new facility is more functional and offers a fenced-in backyard that helps facilitate functions and events at the center.
For more information on upcoming events such as the Denim and Diamonds Ball, please visit www.sylviathomascenter.org or call 651-3150.