Hi Sasha, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I grew up in Memphis, earning “lifer” status at St. Mary’s and after graduating from Baylor University, I came back! I earned my Bachelors in Social Work from Baylor and my Masters in Urban Studies and Youth Development from Eastern University in Philadelphia, PA. I am currently serving as the Executive Director of Foster Village Memphis. It was while I was a foster care social worker in Montgomery, AL that I decided to move back home, to found Foster Village Memphis. I discovered that support was considered a luxury to most foster families and I didn’t understand why that was acceptable…it shouldn’t be! I have always been a “connector,” wanting to link up hurting people with people willing to serve or those in need with those willing to give. My role as Executive Director of Foster Village Memphis allows me to do just that as we bridge foster families with the community who wants to serve but doesn’t know how. It is my passion to serve children and those who care for them, so they can continue caring for them. I am also passionate about spreading the word throughout our community and beyond, that although the child welfare system is very broken and foster care is a very big and icky problem, everyone can do something.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It has not been a smooth road. My time in Montgomery had every struggle you could possibly think of and I could have quit, never even getting to this point. Some days, I simply yell out that I just want to go get a 9-5 job in an office with “regular” stress and have a “regular” life like a normal person…Alas, I could never.

Once I got to Memphis in October 2019, I did not have much of a plan besides working a few side jobs and grinding. Foster Village Memphis is an affiliate of Foster Village, Inc. that started in Austin, TX so I did have some guidance from a few other directors who had gone before me but otherwise, I was blind. I proceeded to start a non-profit as a social worker, with no non-profit experience, by myself, during a pandemic…need I say more?

We’ve been impressed with Foster Village Memphis, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Foster Village Memphis is a 501c3 non-profit organization that aims to create community beyond the system in hopes of reducing burnout and bridging the gap between those who care about vulnerable children and those who are called to foster. We provide holistic support to foster families by meeting needs that the system doesn’t meet and surrounding families with the community.

Foster village bridges the gap.

Foster parents often feel tired and alone. Most families foster for less than a year, citing burnout and lack of support as the reason they stop. At the same time, 85% of people who are not foster parents say they care about vulnerable children and want to help.

Foster Village bridges this gap between foster families and caregivers and those who want to help, meeting practical needs and providing holistic support beyond the system.

Who we serve.

We support children and families at all levels of our local child welfare system. This includes foster and kinship families as well as families being reunified post removal and families in preventative services through Family Support Services within the Department of Children Services. Our services are available to families in Shelby County.

How families receive support.

Our Welcome Pack program serves to bring families into the Village through tangible necessities and comfort items for the first few days of a new placement. Families are encouraged to place a request through our website which is then fulfilled and delivered within 24 hours by our volunteers. The request may be made by the family, a family friend, a case manager, CASA, an attorney, or anyone knowledgeable about the child and family’s needs.

How can you help?

We are run completely by private donors and by volunteers. We offer Volunteer Training on the 3rd Saturday of every month and we would love to see you at an upcoming training! Volunteers help to pack and deliver our Welcome Packs which is currently our most important and tangible program.

Our private donors allow us to keep giving back to children and families as we do not receive any government funding. Monthly donors help us to create consistency and allow us to better plan strategically. Join the Village Partner Community by giving monthly here! https://givebutter.com/fostervillagememphis 

Interested in learning more about us? Follow us on social media and feel free to reach out with any questions, we’d love to chat!

Heads up!

Our Black-Tie Bowling Gala is coming up on August 26th from 6-10 pm and tickets are on sale now! You don’t want to miss the fun-bowling, live music, silent auction, prizes, and more! Buy your tickets here: https://givebutter.com/blacktie