Hometown Hero Open House, Open Heart Realtor® serves as foster parent and mentors new foster families.
Raising even one teen-ager isn’t easy. Imagine raising five at one time. How about all boys? Now imagine doing it single-handedly.
David Hall, a sales associate with Coldwell Banker Residential in Port St. Lucie, has taken on that challenge and is now providing a home for his five foster sons: Mike, Junior and Reggie, each 15, 14-year-old Jeromy and 13-year-old Jean.
A foster parent and foster-parenting activist for seven years, Hall got involved after visiting a friend who was employed at Hibiscus Children’s Center, an emergency care facility in Jensen Beach. “He challenged me to volunteer because they didn’t have too many male role models,” says Hall, adding that he agreed to volunteer one day a week. But he was so touched by the children that he soon found himself hanging around three or four nights a week. He recalls the time when a brother and sister were brought to the shelter and placed in separate rooms. “The [little boy] would cry, so I made a commitment to come every night and help him adjust, to let him know he would be OK.
“Someone talked with me about becoming a foster parent, and I joked that they probably wouldn’t let a single man become a foster parent,” Hall says.
His assumption was wrong. Both married and single people are eligible to become foster parents in Florida, as long as they pass application, interviewing and screening processes and complete 30 hours of the Model Approach to Partnerships in Parenting training program (unmarried domestic partners aren’t permitted).
Hall completed the training and has fostered needy children ever since. At one point he had seven foster children. Four of the five boys currently in his care will be there long term, and one will return to his mother if and when she completes her case plan.
“Being a foster parent is challenging at times,” Hall admits. “But the reward that I get is making a difference in a child’s life. Seeing the expression on their faces when they finally have someone who will be there for them keeps me doing what I’m doing. Also, the support from my FAR [Florida Association of Realtors] members and the community helps. To me, becoming a foster parent and being a Realtor go hand in hand. We’re looking for homes for other people, so why not open our homes up to Florida kids who are out there looking for someone to give them a chance?”
Hall has served as both president and executive vice president of the St. Lucie Foster and Adoptive Parent Association. He is also a foster parent representative for the Shared Services Alliance of Okeechobee and the Treasure Coast and a board member with Big Brothers and Big Sisters of St. Lucie and The Children’s Home Society of Florida (Treasure Coast Division).
“I encourage individuals who are interested in becoming a foster parent to call up their local Department of Children and Families agency to find out when they’re having their next class,” says Hall. Want to Contribute?
For information about Florida’s Foster Care Program, go to www.dcf.state.fl.us/fostercare