Jockey is not only about undergarments anymore. They are also supporting post adoption-services and have created the foundation “Jockey Being Family.” Founded in 2005 by Jockey International Chairman and CEO Debra Waller who was adopted as an infant, Jockey Being Family (JBF) is Jockey International’s corporate initiative to help adoptive families stay together forever by raising awareness, funding and support for post-adoption services. Jockey Being Family helps adoptive families stay together through:1. Funding post-adoption services through nonprofit partners.2. Involving Jockey employees and adoptive families as ambassadors for the cause.3. Raising awareness through corporate leadership and expanding the program’s impact across North America.
Being adopted is the first part of a life long journey of becoming a forever family but the steps that follow can be challenging. Jockey Being Family understands this journey and should be commended for putting their time and efforts into not only raising funds but also awareness about the importance of post-adoption services. Jockey believes that ” One failed adoption is one too many, and so they are doing their part to ensure families stay together forever.”
Debra Waller is Chairman and CEO of Jockey International, Inc. She founded the Jockey Being Family foundation 10 years ago and has since provided more than $4 million to support post-adoption services. As an adoptee herself, she knows firsthand how important it is for families and children to have continued support and care after the adoption occurs. Waller states that, “I am deeply committed to these issues. I was adopted as an infant, and I certainly have come to understand that adoption is not a snapshot in time; it is a life-long journey. But it is a wonderful, complex, happy, challenging, journey filled with highs and lows and everything in between. Just like life itself.”
Most impressive it that Waller and Jockey understand that there are over 100,000 foster care children waiting to be adopted in this country. Foster children deserve forever and permanent homes with parents who have access to the best resources and tools to find permanent, loving and successful homes. Waller has channeled her passion for helping adopted families and is on a mission to help as many adopted families as possible. In fact, Waller is a firm supporter of a federal legislation bill passed last month that highlighted the need – and funding – for post adoption support services. A new bill earmarks significant funding for post-adoption services ,requiring states to track and spend at least 30 percent of the federal Adoption Assistance savings on post-adoption and post-guardianship services. Part of HR4980“Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act” aims to support and sustain permanent outcomes for children.
Jockey Being Family has also been able to pair up with many familiar partners that include, Coalition for Children, Youth & Families (CCYF ,WISE Up Adoption Kid’s Conference, Parent Leadership Conferences, Our Home, Our Family Program, Center for Adoption Support and Education (C.A.S.E.) – C.A.S.E. is JBF’s partner for the Jockey Being Family National Backpack Program. JBF also sponsors C.A.S.E.’s Strengthening Your Family Webinar series, Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption (DTF North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC) – scholarships Teams and the Adoption Council of Canada (ACC) – JBF donations support.
In addition to everything that Jockey Being Family is doing to raise awareness for post-adoption services, they have started a new national backpack program that provides adopted children with a little extra comfort while raising awareness among families about post-adoption support and services they may need for potential challenges after the adoption. Each child receives a personalized backpack filled with a Jockey Being Family teddy bear, blanket and age-appropriate toys, and parents receive a tote filled with important post-adoption information. Many foster children who are adopted from the foster care system arrive in their new homes with only a trash bag filled with their belongings. This can create a sense of low-self esteem in many of these children and a feeling that “they are not worthy of being ” loved (Cornbluth, 2006). Jockey Being Family backpack program is a thoughtful and excellent way to show adopted and foster children that they are important and do matter.
Since the launch of the Backpack Program in 2005, Jockey has distributed more than 6,000 backpacks to newly adoptive families throughout Jockey’s home state of Wisconsin with the Coalition for Children, Youth & Families and 2,500 nationwide with the Center for Adoption Support and Education. The goal is to continue to expand this program nationally and distribute5,000 backpacks to adoptive families across the country.
November is National Adoption Month, and Waller and Jockey Being Family are encouraging everyone to become involved in their national campaign to support Post-Adoption Services. There are a number of ways that you can help adoptive families stay together forever through Jockey Being Family and they include:
1. Encourage adoptive families to visit the Jockey Being Family website to connect with resources and services.
2. Purchase a Jockey Being Family bear – for every sale, Jockey will donate 100% of the net proceeds through our foundation to its non-profit partners for post adoption services.
3. Donate money to Jockey Being Family to support its partners’ work in increasing awareness and access to post-adoption services
4. Jockey encourages shoppers at its retail stores to donate $1 at the cash registers this month. Jockey will donate 1 percent of all sales on Jockey.com.
So next time you are in the department store during this holiday season, reach for your Jockey’s and please support adopted children and families.
For more information on Jockey Being Family, post-adoption services and how you can get involved, please visit www.jockeybeingfamily.com.
Dr. Sue Cornbluth
National Parent Expert in Childhood Trauma, Foster Care and Adoption