As our grand opening party approaches (it's this Thursday! More info here), we wanted to share with you, On Your Feet Foundation (OYFF), the wonderful organization that we will be donating 10% of sales to.
We asked OYFF Executive Director Alexis Eyler, who you may remember as the owner of Lollie (the adorable kids boutique that was previously located at our address!) a few questions about the organization.
What is On Your Feet Foundation and when did it start?
Alexis: On Your Feet Foundation was founded in 2001. The organization was founded by adoption professionals, adoptive parents and a birthparent, all of whom recognized the need for post-placement services. It serves the needs of birthparents who have placed a child for adoption. While adoption agencies do make an effort to offer these services, birthparents often find returning to the agency where they surrendered their child to be traumatic and, therefore, do not seek out or take advantage of the services. On Your Feet meets clients where they are and its sole mission is to help birthparents get back on their feet. We accomplish our mission by providing grants for tuition and counseling, as well as limited rent assistance. Our case management staff works with birthparents to (among many other things!) help them find stable employment, connects birthparents to resources such as Dress for Success, and provides access to adoption-competent therapists. And our tri-annual retreats enable birth moms to focus on themselves, to connect with others and move through the grief of placement while building a community of support.
Who does OYFF serve?
Alexis: On Your Feet serves birthparents who have chosen adoption for their children. Part of our mission, as a foundation, is that we do not take a position on adoption, so our clients have all completed their child’s adoption. We never want to influence a birthparent’s decision to place or parent. Our clients range in age currently from 18-65. We serve primarily birth moms, but do work with birthfathers and extend some of our community efforts to the extended families of birthparents. Our clients tend to come to us within 6-12 months of placing; but we also have clients who find us years - or even decades - after they placed their child. More often than not, this is because resources did not exist at the time of their placement and they were told to move on.
How does OYFF build community?
On Your Feet builds community in a number of ways:
- We connect our clients at the 3 annual retreats we hold throughout the year. Not only do the retreats help build a community of birth moms, but it also helps birth moms address many of the issues they face in choosing to place their child - from feelings of grief, regret and isolation to appropriate social media behavior and managing finances. For many, the On Your Feet 4 Life Retreats are the first time a birth mom may meet another birth mom.
- We connect birth moms with other birth moms who may share a similar experience. For example, if a birth mom is considering closing her adoption, we can connect her with another birthmom who has faced a similar struggle.
- We hold a number of events throughout the year including a holiday dinner and birthmother’s day celebration, connecting birthparents locally, as well as holding a combined event with our case management staff in Indiana.
- In addition, we connect birthparents through closed Facebook groups, enabling birth moms, birthfathers and even birth grandparents to connect with others whose lives have also been impacted by adoption.
How can our customers learn more about the organization and how can they get involved?
Anyone who is interested in learning more can visit our website
and like our page on Facebook. We are also hosting a board open house on Wednesday, May 16th at 7PM at Vinic Wine. This is a great opportunity to meet our board, find out more about On Your Feet and learn about ways to get involved.