Children Are A Gift: Local businesses support foster children - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

Children Are A Gift: Local businesses support foster children

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(KYTX) - Each week CBS 19 profiles a local foster child in our "Children are a Gift" report to help find them a loving home.  About 50% of those children have now found their forever family.  In the past year and a half, there have been 456 adoptions in Region 4 of East Texas.

Forty-five Smith County businesses play a part in the process, allowing CBS 19 in to videotape these children for the stories.  The Texas Department of Family and Protective Service held an appreciation event in Tyler to say "Than you!"

"You are part of the team with CPS because if it wasn't for all of you we couldn't do what we do," Ashley Gipson with CPS told the crowd at Bruno's Pizza. "A lot of times when I call these businesses they feel it's an honor for us to come in."

CBS 19 visits a different location each week to shoot our stories on these children including Chick-fil-A. "It's just such a joy to get to meet them," said Melissa Smith Braswell, Manager of the Troup Highway Chick-fil-A.

Rockin' C Ranch welcomes the children to go horse back riding, fishing and a number of other fun outdoor events. "We've been blessed with a beautiful place  and when these kids came a couple weeks ago I felt so lucky to be associated with them and we just wanted to help anyway we could," said Matt Clapp, Rockin' C Ranch Executive Director.

Build-A-Bear allows the children to make a new friend. "It's such a great experience for them because they get to create something they will have forever and something they can love and that will love them back," explained Susanne Hammond with Build-A-Bear.

For many of these children, it's the first time they've ever had the opportunity to visit these places, which are all to familiar to most kids.  Places like Tyler's Caldwell Zoo.

"Back when the late Mr. Caldwell was still alive, he tried to do what he could to enrich the lives of all children.  So it's just a natural for us to work with these [foster] children that need so much," said Mike Tucker, Director of Visitor Services at the zoo.

These children also get the chance to see animals they usually only see in story books at Brookshire's World of Wildlife Museum.   

"The children that need a home forever are just so loving and kind.  When they don't have something like this they are so thankful and we are blessed to have them," said Tina Saxon with the museum.

For one 11-year-old boy, it was the first time he'd ever gotten a professional hair cut and Marquie's barber shop was happy to help.

Marquie Daniels said, "It's just a blessing to be able to give back to people who are less fortunate because I was less fortunate when I was younger and there were things I couldn't have.  So just to be able to be a blessing to them."
 
A 9-year-old boy got to try Kung Fu for the first time. "I've learned a lot from these foster kids.  For anybody to be sad they have an excuse to be, but they are always energetic and excited and have a positive outlook," said Brandon Jones, owner of Tyler Kung Fu & Fitness.

Another Smith County business owner allowed a teenager in foster care who was fascinated by drawing to tour his Tyler Architect Office.

"I think by opening my business, if there is someone interested in my career, it might give them a glimmer of hope, a spark, something to aspire towards and for me personally helping out our local community," said Tyler Architect Alan Roberts.

It's a gesture of generosity that's helping spread the word about the need for forever families.  "People call me all the time from all over saying I saw Channel 19 News and on their website about 'Children are a Gift." So it gets the word out about children who need parents and we appreciate these businesses helping us out," said Gipson.

For more on these local businesses, join Gillian Sheridan for her "Children are a Gift" report, Tuesday night on CBS 19 Ten @ 10. You can also find information on www.CBS19.tv and www.tylerpaper.com.  If you have a businesses and would be willing to let CBS 19 bring foster children for a visit, please call 903-533-4109 or email gsheridan@cbs19.tv.

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