A movie inspired Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy senior Mimi Spindle to research the Los Angeles County foster care system. She questioned whether it could be as terrible as portrayed in the film.
What she unearthed — statistics on abandonment, abuse, addiction and constant relocations — shocked Spindle, but it also spurred her into action. She sought out Kidsave, a Culver City-based nonprofit organization that works to connect older orphaned and abandoned children with loving families.
And on Saturday, the Girl Scout and Gold Award candidate will help host a Kidsave event at Memorial Park in La Cañada Flintridge, meant to build relationships between children in need and stable adults.
"It is so hard to get an emotional connection with a piece of paper," Spindle said. "So I decided what I really wanted to do is to get parents and these kids together so hopefully they can click and really make a connection, and these adults could go, 'Wow, I really want this child in my life. I want to help.'"
Participating children have been screened for mental and emotional stability, Spindle said. Nevertheless, the age group, 9 to 17, is largely overlooked by potential families because the children are classified as "older."
"People don't realize who they are giving up on," Spindle said. "They think they want a baby, or a 2-year-old. They don't know that a 9- or 10-year-old would be just perfect for their family."
The ultimate goal is adoption, Kidsave spokeswoman Danielle Yacono said, but there are other opportunities. Adults who can make only a part-time commitment can become a mentor, meeting with a foster child on a twice-monthly basis.
The Saturday event will be an afternoon of lunch and games, including a water-balloon toss, a watermelon-eating contest and three-legged races.
"I am very excited about it, and very proud of her," said mother and co-Girl Scout leader Kathy Spindle. "I think this is a really wonderful project that she is involved in. If she could help one child, I think it would all be worth it."
The Kidsave event will start at 11 a.m. July 31 at Memorial Park at 1201 Foothill Blvd. For more information, contact Mimi Spindle at (818) 395-1392.