Foster Kids Get Words Of Hope From One Who Knows
by Chris Connell
The Seattle Post – INtelligencer (Seattle, WA)
When Robert J. Danzig’s parents divorced in the middle of the Depression, they placed their 2-year-old son in foster care and left Albany, N.Y., and moved away.
He remembers only five of the many homes he lived in over the next 14 years. There was no abuse, he says. Instead, he recalls the kindness of poor families “who had room in their heart to bring in a strange kid.”
Danzig has written two new books intended to inspire parents and social workers who struggle to find a better life for foster-care children, and to give those 542,000 children in this county “a sense of hope and personal possibility.”
“Every Child Deserves a Champion” and “There Is Only One You” were published by the Child Welfare League of America, the nation’s oldest and largest charity working on behalf of neglected children. All proceeds will support the league’s work.
Danzig, who headed Hearst Newspapers when he retired in 1998, donates his speaking fees to help send foster-care children to college.
His foster-care books are “all kind of hokey,” he said, “but the essence is to offer a message of hope to people in their lives.” They come packaged with songs on CDs that echo Danzig’s messages.
“There Is Only One You” is a picture book constructed around words of encouragement for every child. It begins, “There is only one you. You are unique in the universe. Only you can hum your favorite song smile your smile live your dreams.”
Danzig borrowed the title of “Every Child Deserves a Champion” from a couple he met hiking around Taos, N.M.
The couple recalled the humiliation their computer engineer son, Danny, faced as a 4-year-old when playmates competed in a shoelace-tying contest.
Danny, who had mild cerebral palsy affecting his right hand, could not tie his laces. So his father taught himself to tie shoelaces with his left hand, then imparted the skill to his son. Danny won the next neighborhood contest and came running home to say, “Daddy, you are my champion.”
“Every Child Deserves a Champion,” shares stories from Danzig’s experiences and the lives of others who have championed children.