BY KEVIN KLEVJER
It's so exciting to see how this gallery show never hits the ground! Artist Reformation has been working in collaboration with SalaamGarage for over two years on this project. SalaamGarage's goal for this project was to share stories of men and women in Seattle who aged out of the foster care system in Seattle in order to honor these people for their hard stories, to raise awareness about the need for change, and to hopefully see more loving families fostering and adopting these foster kids and reform brought to the foster care system.
The phrase "age out" speaks to how, if foster kids turn 18 before they are adopted, they are immediately considered an adult and are often given no further help from the government. As a result, many are kicked out of their foster homes and forced to figure out life on their own. A large portion of these foster kids are coming from homes where there was neglect and/or abuse and where there was no real preparation for life after 17. Statistically, 1 in 5 kids who age out end up homeless and 1 in 4 end up incarcerated. Many of the girls who age out into homelessness enter a life of prostitution. This needs to change.
Thus, SalaamGarage was moved to start this project and we are thrilled to have been a part of it. During the Spring, after a successful Kickstarter campaign, we were privileged to have the show displayed at the Art Institute of Seattle, then in the Summer we moved the gallery to the 220 & Change building in Pioneer Square, and now we get to display these stories at the Starbucks located in Columbia City! What's particularly special about showing the gallery at this Starbucks for me is that it's in my neighborhood. What's also exciting is that, since the space is so small, we've decided to show just one story one week at a time. This allows for more attention to be given to each of our nine stories over the course of nine weeks.
If you haven't had the chance yet, go grab a cup of coffee and give the latest story a read!