Nancy Young has a passion for raising children to be strong, smart and independent. In 2009, after her children and grandchildren became adults, Ms. Young saw a report on the news about Porter-Leath’s need for foster parents and decided to pursue her certification. She wanted to open her home to provide children a safe and loving home, as long as they needed it.
“I saw so many children in Memphis who were being mistreated in different ways and I just wanted to help out,” she said. Currently, Ms. Young is fostering four children ages 2 to 5 years old. Ms. Young, affectionately called “Grandmama” adds that being a foster care parent helps her maintain her health because she is always moving. Her mind stays sharp because she spends a lot of time with the children, engaging them in conversation, playing games and working with them on homework. There have also been bumps along the road. She recalled a young boy who came to her house and struggled at school because he did not know his alphabet. His frustration grew into daily tantrums, but Ms. Young, undeterred by his outbursts, patiently worked with him for six weeks at the end of which the child began reading.
Ms. Young shares that Porter-Leath has always been there when she needed guidance or assistance with a child, and credits her faith for providing her with compassion. “I pray every day, ‘God, please help me to be the best foster mama that I can be’ and I do that even before a child comes into my house,” she states. Ms. Young believes the adage, ‘you reap what you sow’ is never more evident than when you are raising a child. “If you yell, they will yell, but I have to remember that they are children,” she adds. “If you practice patience and kindness, chances are, they will emulate that too.”
The ultimate goal of foster care service is reunification with parents or family members who can provide a safe permanent home. Over the past decade, Ms. Young has had many children live in her home with most staying only a few months. Ms. Young’s ultimate compliment came when the parents of a former foster child said that they wanted Ms. Young to continue to be in their child’s life. She now serves as a surrogate grandmother to that young girl and a special friend to her parents. To find out more about Porter-Leath's foster care program visit porterleath.org/foster.