“Three grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.” –Joseph Addison
I am truly learning the value of taking a leap of faith and trying something new… this is the 17th day of new experiences and the quest has been invigorating. I have no regrets and I am bursting with anticipation for what the next new experience will be! These Quests may be interpreted by some to be simple or even questionable when it comes to harnessing your inner strength to take them on. Perhaps many would think that trying a new food or going to a new place is not courageous. But for this shy and sheltered girl, they are indeed daily challenges that help to escape from this quiet and naïve cocoon and face the world and enjoy all that it has to offer!
I have to admit that I am lucky! I have the resources to live my life and take on this Quest. In hindsight, there are many that are much less fortunate than me. There are people whose parents never loved them. People who never had a family to call their own, or at the very least, a bed that is truly their own. They create defense and coping mechanisms to deal with the constant state of flux, new schools, new friends, new people to live with. They adapt as best they can with the hope that one day, someone will love them and care for them as every other child they go to school with does. They know what adversity is, they know they have been dealt a difficult hand in life and yet they continue to move ahead. Sometimes their choices are poor because they don’t always have dedicated caregivers to lead the way and help calibrate their moral compass. These foster children simply do the best they can with the circumstances they are given. Then at the age of 18, if they have not been adopted, and after being shuffled from foster family to foster family, they are expected to face the world and succeed.
There are many fantastic and dedicated foster families that do an amazing job trying to help these children get the best chance in life. But in the end, not every foster family can adopt the many children they foster. These committed foster families should be acknowledged and honored for the sacrifices and care they give these children they so graciously invite into their lives and homes.
But there are too many foster children who are shuffled from one family to another until they are considered “aged out” of the system. They are considered too old to receive the care they need. Their lives become a struggle to survive. This is where my Quest has taken me today…. My Quest takes me to the center of town to a restaurant called “Z-pies”. It is a gourmet pot pie franchise that started in California. There’s a lot more on the menu here than just food.
What makes this chain important to my Quest is not that I have never been there, but that it is a non-profit franchise that donates their proceeds to help “The Eddy House”, a shelter to help transition aged- out youth from foster care to real life. The aged-out foster kids work at the restaurant to learn job skills, responsibility and earn money. Here is a brief description of their project according to their website, “Our mission is to provide an organized, consistent and structured lifestyle to disadvantaged and abandoned young adults who have a history of instability and transience. Our vision is to ensure that when a resident ‘graduates’ from the house they will have an educational degree or trade certificate, bank account, life skills, job resume and job skills. The philosophy at the Eddy House is Education First. Case management and Service Coordination is also an essential component of our program. Life skills are taught in a group setting as well as on an individual basis. This supportive service is greatly needed in our community.” http://www.eddyhouse.org/who-we-are/
As I arrived at the cute and quaint Z-pie restaurant, I received a warm greeting by the hostess/waitress and was seated in the outdoor seating area that I requested. The cobblestone courtyard-style seating area was comfortable and spacious for a small café. The menu included appetizers, salads, sandwiches, pot pies and desserts. There were many delectable treats to choose from. I ordered the chicken mushroom pot pie knowing the entire time, there would be nothing truly healthy about this meal. But sometimes you just need to sink your teeth into a good cause.
The meal arrived and the first bite I took was simply delicious. The buttery and flaky crust was rich and the pie filling was flavorful as I found myself savoring every bite. By now, most should know that the appreciation and sense of taste is always important to me. Because some days, it has to be all about the food. But today, the food is much more important than just a simple pleasure, it is providing a recipe of hope to boys that deserve the opportunity to succeed. Before I knew it, the pie was gone, my tummy was full and my heart was happy to know that my little purchase was helping to give others a chance at going on their own Quest, called “Life”…
The courage today is found in the foster children, the dedicated and caring foster families that take on this difficult task, the Eddy House for providing opportunities for aged-out foster boys, and the patrons who support Z-pies so that the project can continue! I encourage everyone who lives in the area or those visiting Reno, NV, to stop in and help support this project by indulging in these sinful pot pies for a heavenly cause!
Feeling satiated and hopeful in so many ways…. Wondering what tomorrow will bring!