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Families walk to help kids find new homes

Nearly 130 families join effort for children with special needs

Posted: June 28, 2008 10:57 p.m.
Updated: August 30, 2008 5:02 a.m.

Participants of the Walk your Talk Walk make their way back to Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Canyon Country after walking a mile, Saturday morning. Local and people from outside Santa Clarita took part of the event.

 
Not too long ago, Jim and Michelle Riley came across a billboard advertising Child SHARE, a faith-based organization that helps families provide foster and adoptive kids permanent homes.

After going to a Child SHARE meeting, the Simi Valley couple said they “felt the power” to adopt a child in need.

“We felt something pulling us,” the two said while walking on the sidewalk of Luther Drive in Canyon Country.

From there, the couple began learning more about the adoption process and what it would take to not only bring a child into their lives, but give their biological daughter, 3-year-old Lily, a sibling.

Their efforts led them to 2-year-old Jovana, nicknamed “Jo Jo”, a little girl they recently adopted.
On Saturday, the Riley family shared their message with nearly 130 other families impacted by Child SHARE and the adoption process during the “Walk Your Talk Walk” held at the Bethlehem Lutheran Church.

Bob Levy, program manager for Child SHARE’s North Los Angeles County region and event organizer, said the mile-long walk has been held four times, but was a first for the Santa Clarita Valley.

The goal of the event was to raise awareness about the need for adoptive families, while giving thanks to the families of the Santa Clarita Valley who have brought foster children into their lives.

“There are a lot of foster families here,” said Levy, a Canyon Country resident. He believes there are 500 youngsters in the local valley that are in need of a finding a permanent home.

Levy and his wife, Carlotta, participated in the walk with their adopted daughter, 11-year-old Moriah.

“We had two boys and wanted a little girl,” Carlotta said, referring to her biological 12- and 14-year-old sons.

During the Saturday morning event, families decked in yellow shirts gathered together to walk from the Canyon Country church to the intersection of Sierra Highway and Soledad Canyon Road. The walkers carried signs with the phrase “Walk your talk” while frequently chanting “Child SHARE, Child SHARE, home for kids in foster care” amidst the sound of honking horns from passing motorists on the busy Canyon Country road.

As Neysa McFarlane of Woodland Hills walked back to the Lutheran church, she said she was motivated to take part in the walk after her godmother, Chantal Swanson, told her about the event.

Swanson, a Canyon Country resident, is a member of Santa Clarita Christian Fellowship, which was one of nearly 10 churches that offered their support to the walk.

McFarlane said she participated with her mother, Milsa, and called the event “great.”

She said she would participate in the walk again especially given its cause.

tmarashlian@the-signal.com

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