4Kids Addresses The Silent Crisis

Karen Granger, Tom Lukasik and other dignitaries celebrate the new 4Kids office in Delray.

I have known and admired Karen Granger for well over 20 years now.

We go back to her days at Levenger, the Delray Beach company that I loved so much because they built a business around my favorite hobby: reading.

Karen was in public relations back in those days and I was with the press, first the Delray Times and then my own education newspaper. Levenger was one of the early Delray entrepreneurial success stories and so Karen and I found ourselves crossing paths every now and then.

We became closer friends when she was hired by the Delray Chamber of Commerce where she eventually served as president and CEO. I was on the board for those years and I thought she brought a lot to the job. She had the warmth of former chamber execs Bill Wood and Ken Ellingsworth and she had a special affection and way with the young entrepreneurs who were flocking to our city as a result of Delray’s long renaissance.

Along the way, we become each other’s confidants and supporters. When Karen felt the political heat on hot button issues such as Ipic and the future of special events in Delray, I and others tried to be there for her. When I published my book and agonized over whether I should run for office again, Karen was there with sage advice and support.

So when she landed at 4Kids, a non-profit that focuses on helping children, I was thrilled for her. I truly believe she is where she needs to be; doing important work for a great cause and shining a light on a silent crisis in our community—the need for adoptive and foster homes. As a woman of faith, Karen also believes that she is where she is meant to be.

Last week, a large crowd came to celebrate 4Kids’ new location at The Arbors office building on Congress Avenue and Germantown Road. My company, CDS International Holdings, owns the building and it is part of a redevelopment project envisioned for the abandoned site where Office Depot once had its worldwide headquarters. LynLee Fraser of Parkview Realty (another CDS entity) worked hard to bring 4 Kids to The Arbors and I am proud of our company for supporting the new regional office.

Having a Delray location means that more children in crisis will be served and more foster families will be identified, supported and engaged.

At last week’s ribbon cutting, an array of 4Kids executives, volunteers, board members, supporters, business leaders, elected officials and chamber presidents from Boca and Delray discussed the acute crisis in our community.

More than 100 children in Palm Beach County needed to be removed from their homes for their safety last month. Tragically, 145 children had to be turned away because there is a lack of foster homes in which to place them. Those are staggering and sobering numbers.

If you visit the 4Kids website http://www.4kids.us , you can plug in your zip code and see how many children from your neighborhood were removed from their homes in a year’s time. My zip code saw 22 children removed. It is a silent crisis. Each story is unique. Each child needs love. They are being saved from violence, dysfunction even human trafficking. Yes, it happens here.

Karen and others—including 4Kids executive Tom Lukasik who has fostered 57 children—asked those in attendance at the opening to spread the word. But even if you can’t foster yourself, you can donate clothing, movie tickets, gift certificates—anything kids can use.

Pastor Casey Cleveland, who gave a heartfelt and emotional blessing at the ribbon cutting, also noted that it’s important to support, visit and nurture foster families in our community. Visit them. Bring a dish. Drop off something they can use. “Show them love,” says Casey.

Show them love.

Thanks, Karen for opening our eyes to the silent crisis. Thanks 4Kids for all the good that you do. And welcome to Delray Beach.

 

 

 

Comments

  1. MARIANNE REGAN says:

    Just saw this: what California is doing to help low-income families. It’s a good idea! Diaper tax relief bill included
    in governor’s state budget update
    Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), says her legislation to make children’s diapers exempt from the state sales tax will be included in Gov. Gavin Newsom’s update to the proposed state budget, which will be unveiled on Thursday.
    “This tax relief will go a long way in helping those young families who we know are at their most economically vulnerable,” said Gonzalez, who first proposed eliminating the diaper tax in January 2015. “In California, more than 50 percent of the children born are on Medi-Cal. We know that young parents struggle. We know that diapers are a necessity not only for the health of the child, they’re also required in order to drop your child off at childcare. If you want a job, you have to have diapers.”
    The tax break will give the average family in California $100 to $120 a year per child, or enough to diaper a child for a full month.

  2. Great article. Karen Granger is a wonderful leader and continues to shine at 4Kids as she radiates love and kindness to children/families who need it most.

  3. Great article by a great guy about a great cause.

    Thanks Jeff. Since my days as a board member of The Delray Beach Public Library, I have been impressed with your commitment, cooperation and dedication to the Library as Mayor of Delray.

    As a current board member of 4kids, I sincerely thank you for sharing our message with the people of Palm Beach County. We are relentless in our message – to find a home for EVERY child, and appreciate you taking the time to be with us and for your support.

    All the best,

    John Burke

    • Jeff Perlman says:

      Thanks John. Your email made my day. I truly appreciate your comments and commend you on your involvement through the years.

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