Hometown Hero: Teen focuses on care for foster children

It’s not just infants and toddlers who benefit from foster care, as Freedom Wright, 17, knows all too well.

The senior at Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School in Sandy Springs was put into the state’s foster care program as an infant and bounced “from house to house” before being adopted at age three by Kay and Michael Wright of Ellenwood.

Now Freedom is trying to earn the Girl Scout Gold Award, the female equivalent of the rank of Eagle Scout, by collecting backpacks for underprivileged youngsters up through high school.

Older foster children need help, too, she says, which is something most folks don’t recognize. And she’s dedicated to helping “foster cares” because most “never know where your next meal or set of clothes” will come from.

So far she has spurred the collection of about 150 “new and gently used” backpacks, which can be dropped off at Holy Innocents’ or given to the Foster Care Support Foundation, where youngsters in need can “shop” for free items at the non-profit’s distribution and donation center in Roswell.

“The Foster Care Support Foundation helps about 3,000 children each year get any and everything they need, including the backpacks,” says Freedom. “The warehouse is similar to a shopping center for those children and their families.”

She’s hoping to collect at least 200 more before going on to her next volunteer project.

“People usually know more about the babies in foster care, but older children also are in need and should have a voice in the community,” she says. “I plan to continue work with foster cares.”

Her adoptive mother say she’s proud of Freedom’s accomplishments as well as the “unbelievable courage and determination” she’s shown over the years.

“Her quiet compassion for others inspired her to give back to the foster care community,” says mom Kay Wright.

Dad Michael Wright says Freedom “has brought great joy to us as parents and to her biological brother, Xavier,” and that he’s confident she can achieve whatever she sets out to accomplish.

Holy Innocents’ headmaster Gene Bratek says Freedom has set a “great example for all of us.” And Chis Pomar, the school’s director of admissions, says Freedom “is one of the most quiet and unassuming heroes you’ll ever meet,” is on the honor roll, captain of the golf team and has traveled to the “far corners of the world through scholarships she has won via scouting or other activities.”

Freedom’s not sure where she’ll attend college but plans to concentrate on forensic science.

The Foster Care Support Foundation is located at 115 Mansell Place in Roswell, 30076. Holy Innocents’ 805 Mt. Vernon Hwy. N.W. Atlanta 30027

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