On Wednesday night at Victory Field, the Indianapolis Indians prepared to play the Columbus Clippers.
And Indiana foster kids got something to help them prepare for the rest of their lives.
“We’re handing out backpacks with books in them for children that are in foster care,” said Terry Stigdon, Director of the Indiana Department of Child Services. “We are showing how one small idea can grow into something very big and really important for kids.”
For the past 10 years, the Colts have partnered with Cargo Services and the Indiana Department of Child Services to distribute backpacks filled with 25 age appropriate books to Indiana foster children.
“Being in foster care is tough for kids. It means that something was going on in their lives where they need some extra support. This is something solid, something tangible for them to hold onto that’s theirs,” Stigdon said. “It’s really important for foster kids to have something that they own, something that’s their own.”
When Colts General Manager Chris Ballard and his wife, Kristin, heard about it, they became the poster family for Books For Youth.
“We knew we wanted to get involved,” said Chris. “To be able to reach a kid who, life hasn’t gone his way and it’s not his fault or her fault, those opportunities for our family to give back and to reach those children are important to us.”
“They need a chance to read, succeed in life and if we can be a part of that, then that’s what we want to do,” said Kristin. “It’s just a passion for us and I think it should be a passion for the community.”
The Ballards are parents to five children, including two they adopted through the foster system.