Posted by Carl Gerhardt on Oct 03, 2017
On 10/03/2017, Cindy Mericle from the "Love Fosters Hope" organization spoke to the Magnolia Rotary Club about her organization and all the wonderful things they do to help foster kids. Pictured above is Cindy Mericle.

Kelly McDonald, President of the Rotary Club, provided everyone with a short bio of Cindy Mericle:

Cindy Mericle is the Founder and Executive Director of Love Fosters Hope. She received her degree in Computer Science and Psychology from the University of Central Oklahoma. The Mericle family moved to The Woodlands, Texas in 1992.  She is married to James Mericle and mother of three young adults.Twenty years ago she began working with children in foster care as a CASA advocate. In 2000 the first summer camp, Royal Family Kids Camp, was launched in Montgomery County for children in foster care.  In 2008 Cindy launched a camp for the teens 12 to 15 years old called Teen Reach Adventure Camp. Four years later Love Fosters Hope created a camp for 16 to 19 year olds teens called Bridge. Cindy is a member of a Coalition of Foster Organizations in Montgomery County and has served on Advisory Boards for other local foster organizations in Montgomery County. Cindy is also on a Task Force promoting Trauma Informed Care for foster and adoptive parents, Case workers, educators, and anyone in contact with children and teens in our foster care system. Her heart is to raise awareness and bring hope, healing, and create positive childhood memories to children and teens in foster care who have been abused, abandoned, and neglected. Love Fosters Hope became a 501(c)3 non profit organization in 2012. 

Cindy then told everyone that a foster kid feels something like a victim of Hurricane Harvey in that they have lost everything. However, in addition to losing everything, they have also lost all of their biological family. Becuase most foster families are in it for the money, foster kids seldom feel loved or cared about simply for who they are. As a result, statistics show that within 2 years of aging out of the system, 56% of all foster kids are either homeless, in jail, or dead. Most foster kids get into the system because their parents use drugs and their drug habit is more important to them than their kids.

To combat the problems foster kids face, Cindy founded "Love Fosters Hope" and started initially by creating a summer camp where the kids who went were treated like royalty. They even made birthday cakes (with the name of the kid on it) for each kid and had a birthday party in their honor. Because the first camp was so successful, 3 other camps were started and targeted around specific age groups and gender. 

Cindy pointed out that trust is a difficult thing for most foster kids. However, at camp, these kids feel the love and they begin to realize their own self worth. Even after the kids age out of the system, Cindy's group helps them with plans and goals for their future. A number of them have even gone on to complete college and have become important members of society. Some even come back to help as camp volunteers called "Camp Cousins" because the word counselor has bad conotations for most foster kids.

Cindy then told everyone several stories about individual kids who overcame significant life problems to become healthy, active members of society. One of these kids even wrote a poem called "A Home Found Me" and Cindy showed a short video clip of foster kids who read lines of the poem. Cindy remembers wondering what awesome home these kids were talking about so she asked them and they said it was her camp!

Cindy then passed out two flyers:

1. The Love Fosters Hope "Run For Fun" to be held on Market Street in the Woodlands on 10/21/2017.

2. A brochure showing the sponsorship levels for the Fun Run.

For more information about this awesome organization, go to: