As an adoptive parent, Anna Calkins understands the complexities involved with navigating the worlds of adoption and foster care—and what a difference support can make on that journey.
Calkins works as an executive assistant at Corning Incorporated, the international Fortune 500 company headquartered in Steuben County, NY. She also leads a Corning Employee Resource Group, part of the Corning Family Support Network; her ERG is dedicated to providing support and resources to employees interested in adopting or fostering youth in need.
During a celebration of National Adoption Week, more than 50 Corning employees reached out to Hillside for perspectives and guidance that would help interested families take their next steps toward becoming foster or adoptive parents.
Shawna O’Dell, a Homefinding Specialist who works out of Hillside’s Bath, NY, office, co-presented on Therapeutic Foster Care and Adoption services to the dozens of interested Corning team members. The group was “really engaged,” O’Dell recalls; a Corning employee even reached out to O’Dell after the presentation, looking for information about becoming a foster parent.
“It was exciting, working with a group from the community like that,” O’Dell said. “It’s great to see that kind of interest.”
Further inspired by the presentation about Hillside’s community-facing services, the Corning employees collected $500 to donate to Hillside—a gift matched by the Corning Foundation, for a $1,000 donation in all.
Calkins says she and the other Corning participants learned a lot about the importance of fostering as a result of the Hillside presentation. “In my personal experience, foster parents played a crucial part in our adoption process and provided support for our son until he was placed in our home. Foster parents are like a bridge that help a child get to the next part of their life,” she says. “It’s great to know that kind of support is out there for kids who need help. And we really appreciated learning more about all that Hillside does.”