Last year, ForKids fielded 37,738 calls to their Regional Housing Crisis Line, but they couldn’t find a new home for themselves.
Rejected by one community after another, ForKids was eventually directed to the South Norfolk Civic League, which embraced the organization and its campaign to build a new, centralized headquarters for their statewide operations.
The South Norfolk Civic League hosted presentations by ForKids, and SNCL president Vicki Josue and ForKids CEO Thaler McCormick worked together closely to garner community support to seal the deal, bringing the $11+ million facility to the former library location on Poindexter Street. With lifeblood and commerce from the group’s 100 employees, the new facility is expected to breathe new life into the main street of the former city of South Norfolk.
Due to the remarkable hospitality of the South Norfolk Civic League and South Norfolk, ForKids, Virginia’s largest provider of homeless services to children, has named the community of South Norfolk the 2017 Children’s Champion.
The award, a monolithic star, is a specially contracted piece of art that reflects the sentiments of “The Starfish Story,” a tale of hope for homeless activists.
The Starfish Story
As told by Peter Straube
Once upon a time, there was an old man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach every morning before he began his work. Early one morning, he was walking along the shore after a big storm had passed and found the vast beach littered with starfish as far as the eye could see, stretching in both directions.
Off in the distance, the old man noticed a small boy approaching. As the boy walked, he paused every so often and as he grew closer, the man could see that he was occasionally bending down to pick up an object and throw it into the sea. The boy came closer still and the man called out, “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”
The young boy paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean. The tide has washed them up onto the beach and they can’t return to the sea by themselves,” the youth replied. “When the sun gets high, they will die, unless I throw them back into the water.”
The old man replied, “But there must be tens of thousands of starfish on this beach. I’m afraid you won’t really be able to make much of a difference.”
The boy bent down, picked up yet another starfish and threw it as far as he could into the ocean. Then he turned, smiled and said, “It made a difference to that one!”
adapted from The Star Thrower, by Loren Eiseley (1907 – 1977)
Images from the ForKids 2017 Awards Luncheon, Dec. 7, 2017