“I love this. This has potential,” Hale said, looking at several canvases adorned with bright streaks of paint or abstracted flowers. “That is stunning. It's stunning. And look at this ...”
“It's a great program, and I really have a soft spot in my heart for these kids.”
Since both her children attended Educare classes, Kelley can attest to the power of the program, especially for Izzy, who was 4 when she came to live with her future forever mom.
“We discovered pretty quickly ... she had been traumatized and had not gotten any counseling, trauma intervention, anything. I also realized that she could only count to six and only knew pink and purple. Well, she was a year from starting kindergarten,” Kelley said.
“Thankfully, we were at Educare, and Educare helped me really hit all of the things we really needed to hit at once. ... Within nine months, she was ready to start kindergarten.”
For Hale, her friend's inspirational family story was worth sharing, so she painted their portrait.
“I wanted to do something that shows foster care ... that people can take these kids into their hearts and really make it work,” Hale said.
The artist worked from a photograph of Izzy's fifth birthday party to create her portrait of the mother and her two children happily perched atop a hay bale.
“She had never had a birthday party before and ... that was the first time I think that she had been celebrated as a person,” Kelley recalled.
“It was just a really sweet day and sweet picture for Sue to pick for that. ... It's just a real honor to be a part of this whole thing.”