Even a dreary day couldn’t wipe the smiles off the faces of Hamilton County foster kids.
The Midwest Culinary Institute at Cincinnati State welcomed Hamilton County Job and Family Services on Saturday to host an adoption event for children in foster care. Twenty-six kids available for adoption in Hamilton County came to meet families and learn an interesting skill.
And the activity designed to bring the kids together? Cupcake decorating!
“When I started this job, a recurring theme was that the kids did not want to come,” said Travina Hogue, HCJFS Adoptions and Foster Care Specialist. “It is my personal goal to make the events interesting, fun, and educational.”
After a brief demonstration, the kids were let loose to create three cookies and three cupcakes to their hearts’ desire. The designs included a baseball, a flower, a smiley face, and the cookie monster complete with its own cookie. It was a fun time for all, including the families who came to meet the kids. One of their children chatted up a storm with the foster kids and even decorated alongside them.
“The design of the space allows groups of 4-8 people at a station. This was great because children can be grouped together with an interested family and staff member. Their atrium was another great space with tables and chairs that fostered conversation open space and opportunity for youth to share in conversation with families,” Hogue said.
HCJFS adoption workers, student chefs, and these families assisted the kids with their creations, which they were able to take home with them at the end of the day.
After all the cookies and cupcakes were full of icing, the group was treated to a lunch made by the culinary institute students. The kids and adults played a few games as the event came to an end.
“The youth interviewed the adults at their table. Questions like, ‘What is your favorite holiday,’ and ‘What is the silliest thing you ever did when you were my age,’ help to create fun interactive non threatening dialogue… Humor is always important.”
Hogue hugged each one she could reach goodbye as they left the campus.
“I try to find events that promote social interaction and hands on activity,” Hogue said. “This is important to me because our events help bring out the best in our kids! You can see them smile, laugh, joke– you get a real sense of their spirit. That is the person I want our adoptive parents to see. Not the description written in their profile.”