Cover art for podcast Shop Small Savannah

Shop Small Savannah

12 EpisodesProduced by Tersh Blissett: Small business owner podcasterWebsite

Shop small Savannah podcast is here to help highlight some of the small businesses in and around Savannah Georgia. We aim to tell others about the great things these businesses do for the locals in the community as well!

37:18

What does it mean to meet the needs of foster care in Savannah?

Tersh Blissett talks with Whitney Gilliard of Gilliard & Company about how we, as small business owners, can help shine a light on the Youth who live in foster care!

Today's episode provides a behind-the-scenes look at how emotional Tersh gets when it comes to helping those who can not always help themselves. This is a rare occurrence where you get to see the sensitive side of the main in the suite!

A little about Gilliard & Company - This is Their Story!

"Whitney entered congregate care at the age of 14 and wasn't taken in by a foster home until age 17. Through the turbulence of life, Whitney found her purpose in advocating for foster youth who feel they've had no voice. Whitney's story consists of traveling to 18 placements with a trash bag of her belongings, over-prescription of psychotropic drugs, and the fight for dignity while she was in the system.

The name, "G&Co", came to be after Whitney survived a life-changing car accident, while in foster care, that left her with a traumatic brain injury, a broken spine, and a broken leg. During her recovery Whitney's, only, means of mobility was by wheelchair.

As healing felt impossible, Maurice understood, he has witnessed his mother's overcoming. Maurice's mother was also a youth battling the hardships of foster care in Germany.

Compelled to remind Whitney that there is hope in her recovery. Daily, Maurice would remind Whitney of all that she has been through, and would always say "I know this is frustrating for you, however this time you are not alone - you'll always have company". From then on, their journey kicked off.

Through the birth of their son, Aemon, they became devoted to stopping the cycle of abuse and abandonment, not only for their child but for others as well. Whitney is an advocate for fostering and adopting and during her events Maurice is right beside her delivering hard facts about the truth of the American Foster Care system. Together their goal is to remind others and lead by example on how small acts of companionship can result in life-changing resilience.

G&Co means never giving up on each other. G&Co means being there for those who are afraid. G&Co means meeting the needs of each other, together."  

Resources

Learn more about Whitney & her team by visiting below:

Learn more about Tersh & Service Emperor HVAC & Refrigeration below:

Closing thoughts for Tersh...

Foster care is NOT an adoption agency!! We must work together to serve prevention and preservation of families!!

 

Transcription:

 

Meeting the Needs of Foster Care is Meeting the Needs of Humanity! Whitney Gilliard.mp3

Tersh Blissett: [00:00:02] the Hello, everyone, out there in podcast world. I hope you're having a wonderful day. You were listening to or watching the Shop Small SAV Podcast. I'm your host, Tersh Blissett. Today we have Whitney here. Whitney, she is with Gilliard & Company and we've met. I mean, we know each other very well, but we met a couple of times here and there and then buy local lunch, you know, just networking in general. We do a ton of networking together. And one of the biggest things that are it just stands out is abundantly clear. Any time Whitney in the interview room is how much she cares about others. And today I really am excited to talk to her about just that, where it came from, a little bit about that, a little bit about what it is that Gilliard & Company does and is and how it makes up just an integral part of Savannah and Georgia and Southeast and just make a massive impact. And they're one of those organizations that doesn't get enough recognition, which I'm glad that we're here and we can get recognition, but definitely is one of those things where you don't really think about. So my goal with this show is to just bring attention to those businesses in and around Savannah that really make a massive impact. And with that being said, welcome to the show, Whitney.

 

Whitney Gilliard: [00:01:46] Thank you so much for having me. I'm super excited about this. When our team met you, I was like, that's the guy with the orange and the like. What it was like with the orange, you know, like with the Service Emperor, all the best of the orange have the orange like that guy. And they thought I was a little wild at first. I was like, but no, I'm so excited. So when our relations manager, Patricia Perry, she's amazing at getting us connected and she landed that I was really excited. I really was there. Yeah. Yeah.

 

Tersh Blissett: [00:02:16] So I'm excited for everyone that is watching this or listening to this to learn more about you and why you created this organization.

 

Whitney Gilliard: [00:02:29] Ok, so I'm reporting back for anyone reporting back to the system, for those who follow me, obviously It's I share all the time about what life was like in the system. And then I try to highlight as much as possible what life is like outside of the system because I used to be a ward of the state and I was that I was one of the states at the very critical times that even currently right now the state is currently trying to kind of understand, which is that adolescent phase. I came into the foster system at 14 and then I left at aged out at twenty-one. So one of the best things I was ever said to me by a staff member in a group home when I was sad when I was mad, was this pain is going to be used for one day, and wow. And I, and I did it and I think that was the best. I don't know. But we will find out the answer. And so here I am reporting back to these facts and, you know, trying to just trying to make the pain useful.

 

Tersh Blissett: [00:03:29] Yeah, that's really that's powerful. I mean, that's extremely powerful in the fact that you remember that that obviously made a huge impact on your life. And what I want the audience and listening audience and the viewership to really to understand and take in and embrace is you're so involved in the day to day of this business and making an impact, not just a business, but just impacting the lives of these adolescents that you may hear a little bit of background noise and that's perfectly fine for them. That is just massive lives being impacted in just amazing ways. And the things that they're learning are things that I could pull. I never learned. I mean, obviously, my parents taught me some of it after I was 16 or 18. But, you know, it's not stuff that I ever learned in school or anything like that. So, I mean, kudos to you for teaching that as well. You know,

 

Whitney Gilliard: [00:04:31] I wanted to I think you asked earlier about, like, what exactly it is that your company does. And I think I forgot that I really like doing this. I remember. But we are a nonprofit organization here and in the heart of Savannah, Georgia, and we provide housing for youth aging out of the foster care system for 18, 19, 20, 21 days. But that's a little bit forgotten. They are not forgotten through us.

 

Tersh Blissett: [00:05:01] Yeah, it's very common. So when you think of one when I think of foster care, adoption in that type of thing, most common, I'm thinking of babies or toddlers or maybe preteens, possibly early teenagers. But when you think about eighteen to twenty-one, that's like, wow, like when I was 18 it was, you know, I'm not normal. I bought my first house when I was eighteen, but it was very much like my parents really helped out. They supported me and they You've had a question. I had somebody to go back and ask questions to and lean on. And I can imagine someone who had not gone through an adoption process and there at the eighteen to twenty-one-year-old range by then, I guess you're probably out of high school. Are they in college or what? Can you tell me how that works or I mean, I'm ignorant to the whole situation, so I don't know.

 

Whitney Gilliard: [00:06:13] But I was so glad that you're highlighting this issue. Do you know how long it has been that foster care is one of the most hush-hush topics of the nation? Tersh one, when I think about foster care, when I think about the child welfare system, you know, what's the one topic among all politics and everything that I see an entire community go to bat for? Doesn't matter what color, suddenly color and race and gender, all that stuff doesn't matter is when there is a heinous crime towards children, suddenly everybody jumps and says, I don't stand for this. And we collectively as a whole, as a nation will not stand for this. Right. And so I think one of the reasons why my own personal theory, one of the reasons why foster care is not talked about is because, unfortunately, just just as the fault in our stars, our nation has not done a really good job of taking care of our children and our children end up lingering in the system. So this is one of the most, I would say, one of America's most shameful improvements that we must work on. But it when I say America, it's all of us. Each and every one of us has a responsibility. And yes, when children enter the system. So the one thing that so long as everybody in my circle knows me and now that you know me, for those who are watching, we do not use the word, foster kids.

 

Whitney Gilliard: [00:07:29] Use the word youth in care or youth from foster care or child from the system person before foster care. OK, the word foster kid has been used so many times to marginalize and to put a label on on the inabilities or abilities, truncating that for for for young for young adults. And it's not right. So, so so what we're going to talk about is not about foster kids, but youth in the system. And when children enter the system, they typically do enter. Babies come in quite often. And when they do what one of the reasons why this is still very bad across the board It's it's just a very devastating tragedy. Children who come into the system on average experience a minimum of two traumatic events in their life. No. One is the event that got them under the radar of these facts and CPS and number two are actually coming into the system. Coming into foster care is an actual trauma. The instance that the instant that they walk into the double doors of defects or the first time they're in the arms of a caretaker that is not biologically their own, it is a traumatic event. And so that so but babies and little ones that are a little bit peaky to our six or seven, they get adopted and reunified home sooner. However, it is the ones that are more like 15 and up actually starting at seven, and they're the ones that linger in the longest.

 

Whitney Gilliard: [00:09:00] So why is it that babies come in more? But however, why is it that there's that you see more adolescents and there is a difference between who gets chosen first? Babies and younger ones get adopted first. You know, there is a waiting line and Chatham County to adopt and foster babies. No, no, there's a waitlist. You can wait up to a year to two years. Everybody calls in the line. And I have had it. I have had it here at Guiliano Company. I have had phone calls asking for babies as we have them in inventory. But the thing about it is older kids, the ones that were like me. And I'm telling you when I say I'm reporting back, I am actively reporting back. I was one of those kids that were labeled mentally unstable, emotionally unstable. I did. I mean, it was my life that was insane. And you would never imagine the things that I have done. And but we were the ones that were forgotten, completely forgotten, because despite at some point, we just stopped being cute, right? At some point, we stopped being cute to society. Society doesn't see us as cute anymore. But I can tell you, out of all the young adults that I've worked with and even the adolescents that I work with, they're all babies at heart. And if you can meet them where they're at, it is really easy to work with them.

 

Tersh Blissett: [00:10:17] That's crazy. Like, it just kind of blows me away because, like, I love my kids to death. But, man, if I could just skip the the the toddlers and the terrible twos and the diapers and man if I could just have them where they could wipe their own behind and fix her like that's like amazing sounding to me.

 

Whitney Gilliard: [00:10:44] Like our teenagers are great because here's the thing, right. Like our our our young adults are teenagers and they're they're amazing and they're amazing in the regards that they have made me truly become a better person. Listen, Tersh, I went into this war thinking I have a good heart, I'm patient, I'm kind. I can know they will teach you this lady. You're not that patient. You are not a lot more grace. And you need to learn about forgiveness. And I was like, woo, I can learn the stuff. But that that is that that's you get that through friendships, right. And you get that through friendship.

 

Tersh Blissett: [00:11:17] That's, that is crazy. So like how do we other than obviously podcast and stuff like that, what, how do we bring more awareness to this, and is there something that we can do. I mean I'd love to see I have thought, I'm the worst person to go and talk with you about this because I'm like, just give them all to me, like, I'll take them all.

 

Whitney Gilliard: [00:11:44] And so I have that proposal one time I have ever one time they're or like, we don't have enough. Yeah. So that's why we created a nonprofit. Well for helping this way. So here's the thing. Ray Tersh. I'm so excited to be in your program because you are very well respected in your community. And for all the business owners who are watching, you guys have something that the average person won't have and you would think they have, but they don't. And that is a platform with a voice. And then and on top of that, your voice matters, your voice matters, and people will listen to you. And I am asking everybody who is watching this to kind of stand alongside me. So one of the biggest things that I want to bring awareness for is that charity starts at home. Charity absolutely starts. Go home and I want everyone to know that foster care is right in your own backyards, children and families who are under the radar of defense and CPS go to the same hospital as you. They go to the same grocery store as you. They are right behind you. After you get gas in their cars pulling up, they go to the same park, and more intimately, they are around your children. These children who are in the system are around your children and your children befriend them.

 

Whitney Gilliard: [00:12:57] And the biggest thing that I really want our community to understand is so Agugliaro company. We don't just support youth aging out the system Ray. We also kind of we also support families who are at risk. Our holiday seasons are is about to come on. So hopefully Tersh you and I can talk more about that. But we actually help families that are in the Prevention and Preservation Unit, which means keeping children at home and preventing them from going into the system. You know, when I think about how people judge families who really don't know better, I almost want to give this analogy right. When a veteran who's been in war comes home and their wife is pregnant and just came home with a baby, do you know how that baby cry can trigger veterans? The veterans get triggered on child-rearing. They do. They get triggered on child-rearing. They get triggered on being compassionate and a little and emotional towards little ones just because not the same. They're not great parents. They ask are it is just it is triggering because of the sound. Children in foster care and those who've experienced the system have two times the trauma and then those people end up becoming parents. I became a mom at 19 years old and I was still in the system.

 

Whitney Gilliard: [00:14:15] I cannot tell you how. Terrified I was when I looked into this bassinet and there's this baby and I'm looking at this baby, this baby's looking at me and I'm like, taking home. And you have to come home with me and me. But the deeper root, a part of it is this is a perpetuating cycle, and a lot of times people don't know any better. One of the training that I had to do and becoming a human service professional was there is a picture of ducklings that were walking on the like on the New York sewer line. And one of the ducklings fell into the sewer and people were like, oh, and the instructor goes, why don't you give that same compassion for your neighbor? Who may not know any better? Because at some point, Tersh, we suddenly forget that it is not. It is by the grace of God. There go I right. We know better. But if you've had a family history of abuse and trauma and neglect, you are raised with that as your tool. That is your tool. You have no other tool around you and you can try to emulate what other people do. You can try to mask that. You could try it at the end of the day behind closed doors.

 

Whitney Gilliard: [00:15:25] Those are true actual struggles. So long story short, I would like for us to focus and come back to the humility of being a community and understanding that when you see a family and struggle, lean in and offer assistance and take the judgment away, because that's actually what that leads to someone picking up the phone to call CPS. But most of the time right here, the Account. that I have, the statistics I promised you, I was going to bring statistics, 91 reports of neglect here in Chatham County. And this is just based out of twenty-twenty, which is fairly recent. Ninety-one calls on average a week. You get ninety-one a week. That's right. It can average up to ninety-one. And people call and they say, hey there's, there's this mom is doing X, Y and Z this depth. But what they find out the most is poverty is not a crime. Having a lot of children is not a crime, it is not a crime. But what becomes a crime is when resources are given and you are unwilling to because you don't want to. Right. And if you are actively hurting a child, then that is a crime. But not knowing any better is not a crime. It is not a crime.

 

Tersh Blissett: [00:16:38] So what I'm hearing is rather than actively calling out to reach out and help them, is that what you're saying here?

 

Whitney Gilliard: [00:16:50] Yes. So here's the thing. Come you mentioned earlier, like, we don't get enough recognition, which is why for me, which is fine, and it's so cool that we did. But we're the underdogs. We are the underdogs. We really are because we do the dirty, gritty work. We do the dirty, gritty work and foster care for anybody who's interested in doing this with us. You are going to die to yourself every single day and you will not you will encounter the love of Christ closer than than than that most average thing that you'll do when it comes to caring and loving for children who have been forgotten and neglected.

 

Tersh Blissett: [00:17:21] So is it true is so a lot of what I have to go off of is like a Hollywood depiction of the quote-unquote youth in care? And it's typically not a pretty picture. Is that the case or is it? I mean, because I feel like it's been dramatized by Hollywood for ratings, but I don't know. I can't tell you. I don't have experience with that. So it's I mean, are we getting the if I say we were like, hey, yeah. I mean, I'd love to take in someone who's 14, 15, 16 years or 18 years old. Help them out. Like, what should we expect, like and then also I get this impression that it's very demanding to become foster parents or family because of almost more so like I've I've heard people say this and joke about this, like it's easier and less strict to have a child than it is to foster and adopt a child. It's more like you have to adhere to more regulations. And is that true also?

 

Whitney Gilliard: [00:18:42] So a few debulking segments, right? So, number one, always keep in mind foster care was developed to be temporary. At some point people thought this is the best way to adopt children and it just became permanent. And then at some point, resources we're given, resources were suddenly shortened for families, and then it became permanent. Back in the day, foster care literally was OK. So situations like mom is having a mental breakdown. Children goes into the welfare system with a temporary family. Mom exits out of a mental institute and then is able to better than care for their child. So the number one thing, Hollywood has a really funny way of saying that foster care is your adoption agency. Foster care is not an adoption agency. I hope that there are more people that are willing to assist in reunifying families, children, no matter what. And if anybody has an issue with this and come sit down with me and let's have a conversation about it. They belong with their families. They belong with their families in the matter. The fact is, when they leave or when they get older, they're going to want to know their biological family. So you should foster and nourish a stable relationship. Children should not just solely be adopted straight out of foster care. It is in very rare situations, very, very rare situations where there is absolutely zero opportunities for a child to go back home. And in those cases, it's typically really, really bad physical abuse.

 

Tersh Blissett: [00:20:06] All right. So and I guess, do you know upfront if it's an adoption situation versus a foster care situation or is it is it is there a chance that you may be a foster parent to or foster family to the same individual multiple times and then eventually they ask you to adopt them or.

 

Whitney Gilliard: [00:20:33] Yeah, so so when children come into the system, depending on the severity of their cases and it can also it can always change their case plan is always changing. Their goal is to ultimately return home. Right. However, you must if your chances of adopting a child that you have built relationships with is much better and it is a lesser it is less of a fight if you just work with a biological family, if you're able to work with a biological family and say, if you would allow me to adopt this child and we are able to work together, this is a housing stability and a permanency connection for this kid. Unfortunately, that that's not really quite how it plays out. There's a lot of like, oh, this family is not able to take care of this baby. Look at the mistakes that they've made. I will never make those mistakes and there's never a chance. And did you see this kid went back home and came back and the. We need to pump the brakes on those really got to pump the brakes on those things and let's work as a collective whole because actually confuses a child worth adoption, you would think is a kind of adoption is merging a family, but it actually can feel like a divorce or a child. Oh, I can only imagine in the system, it actually feels like a divorce. It feels like, OK, I just I'm betraying my that's what I felt that I do not I'm not adopted. I'm not adopted on paper. My dad passed away and my mother is not in my life now. Biologically, I have not adopted. I have no one on my paper. However, I have a permanent connection that I call mom and dad. That's relational permanency in relational permanency is what I would like to see. Families that are fostering do is building relational permanency.

 

Tersh Blissett: [00:22:19] Ok, so with that being said, is this a so I'm working with you and your organization? It's not an option. I want to clarify that. But is there a chance that the individual they may be with you from the time they're 15, 16 until twenty-one, like you, said, like not necessarily adopted them, but stay in the foster? Like, is there a time period where you can't be like foster care or whatever?

 

Whitney Gilliard: [00:22:58] Yeah. So just to clarify, we are not a child placement agency, right. We hope so. With your support of your donation, we can absolutely do that. Shameless plug, right. However, you can totally help us find these houses. Right. Many families, however, children are better in our program. They're not children. They come to us at 18. They're children at heart. They're 18 years old. But that's the other scary thing. You can stay in the system from birth all the way to twenty one. Wow. You can stay in the system from five all the way until 15. The scariest part is when you are twenty one years old. Sometimes turning 18 is one of the worst days of a kid's life. One of the worst days of a kid's life. Because now suddenly you're recognized as an adult by the state. And just like how prisoners leave prison, that is how children in foster care, you have money, know you've got family that you can stay with, know your and it's not. And I don't want us to feel like we're blaming the state because it's not. They have they at that point, there is nothing that they can do.

 

Whitney Gilliard: [00:23:53] Right. But then that's when we as nonprofits step in. That's when people like you need to step in. That's why we developed a permanency mentor program. So you all have an opportunity to be permanent figures in our young adult lives. You volunteer, you sign in as a volunteer, we register you and get you trauma and form training and then really understanding and you go and you go through continuous training and it helps you not just with the work that you're going to do with us, but it helps you in your day to day life, too. And that allows you to build relational permanency with this young adult and young adults who are aging out the system at twenty one years old. When they don't have anybody, they get pregnant, they go on the streets, they get arrested. All of these awful things happen to them, but with a permanent figure in their decision making is less drastic because now there's someone who loves them in their lives and that they can talk to is they.

 

Tersh Blissett: [00:24:48] Do you find that there's a time period before that trust is built up, before they are willing to lean on someone like that? I mean, I can only imagine being let down your whole life and then all of a sudden at eighteen, somebody is coming in and going to tell you all the right way to do things. You're like, OK, I mean, how long you going to stick around here? And that's like understanding. I could totally understand a young adult feeling that way. At the same time, I wonder how people's patience or with that look, I really want to help you, but you have to help yourself. You have to want to help yourself. But like, is there mentorship or coaching within your organization? And are they are it's like if I was wanting to do this exact thing and come in and and work with the teens, like, are you going to say, hey, look, don't get down like is they're like, all right, get back up on the horse. But you're good. You're good. You know what I mean? Is there a pep talk at the end

 

Whitney Gilliard: [00:26:00] Of and Company Everiss? And I always laugh about this because I try to because it's a very serious thing in an organization without doing any other training, before CPR training, before any training. You must be trauma-informed if you are not trauma-informed. If you don't understand how trauma works, if you don't understand the impacts and an imprint of trauma in a young adults life, then you are going to feel more of a push back and wondering why they react the way that they react. Why is there a lack of will like this? Why is their motivation like this? It all leads back to trauma. So it's very important that all of our mentors are trauma and informed and every single training that we go through at the end of every single month, they're called Mentor Huddle's. They it is all surrounded through trauma training. So and our young adult is actually really funny. So it is a case by case basis. Sometimes we have young adults that latch right on there. Like I know this person's going to do good because what do you brought them in? And then the other times, like, you're crazy.

 

Whitney Gilliard: [00:27:00] I don't want to talk to nobody. I don't want a mentor for me. It took me about two years to finally have our young adults trust that I am really not here to hurt you. I am not here to hurt you. And what it took was just me being a a decent person. It didn't take any esoteric, like traits to emulate love and all that. It just took me being a basic like a very basic, kind, promising and consistent person. I am here for your birthday. I'm here for your bad days. I'm here. I have a young adult who like who when they hang up on me, they call me back. Sweetie, I'm so sorry I hung up. And I'm like, listen, if I'm not one, if I if you hang up on me, if I can be that person in your life that you hang up on, you go ahead and hang up on me. You can. And you and your and you'll learn that is the least of my worries. That is the least of my worries.

 

Tersh Blissett: [00:27:52] Do you find that or do you do personality test before entering into your program? I just wonder, like certain like You've maybe a type A personality might not really mesh well with this because they just control freaks type thing and then that's kind of me. And so it's like just do it, just do it that way. And while I have compassion and understand things, I wonder if I wouldn't want to I would it would just crush my soul if I did more damage than good. Does that make sense?

 

Whitney Gilliard: [00:28:40] Yeah, I know I do. So for for us, like we we always, always try to do it unless there is some outstanding issues like homicide or, you know, truly anything that would cause harm to others of themselves, you know, like being schizophrenic. You can't really take care of yourself independently as of yet. And we can't we don't have the capacity to kind of monitor that. So unless there's things like that, we always try to conduct an interview, whether it's on Skype or whether it's on Zoome. Whatever it is, we want to see you face to face. We got to hear you. And we do. We grade them, whether they are more of an alpha personality or a problem, like we try to go ahead and do that. However, one of the things that we also try to like raising our own kids, like we teach them, listen, people are going to come into your life with all sorts of different personality and with me doing this work. There have been so many times Tersh I'm like my, my, my a alpha. All of that plus, plus, plus is going to have to dial back. And I think, hey teammate, so and so you should talk to this young adult. You're much better at this than I am. So it's really trading off skills like who is better for who? And and I think that's where a lot of organizations who do this work fail out is that they want It's me. I have to I am in this role. I am in this title. So I must be able to support and help. But that's really not the case. Like, you don't always talk to everybody, right? Sometimes you talk better to dad. It's often you do the mom. Why can't our young adults have the same options? It's freedom.

 

Tersh Blissett: [00:30:11] Good point. OK, perfect. I think we hit on all of the fields on that one, but where can we donate, learn more, get connected, all of all of that? Good, good.

 

Whitney Gilliard: [00:30:26] Yes, you can always number one, when you eat, when you guys take the time, please consider doing a fundraiser for us are online fundraisers. We try to make it really fun. We cater to who you are and what you're about and what you do. And when you do a fundraiser, I want you to understand it is beyond just a monetary expression. It is you saying that you recognize that foster care is among us. You recognize that charity starts at home and you are going to make a public display saying that I care about this and for anybody who knows me, hey, if you don't know about this issue, then now you do. And the other part about it is like so people can donate Agugliaro and company, Doug Gilliard and Company, just like my name here, spelled out Dog. Or you can go to donate to foster care dot com. You can always support us in that way. Funding is always helpful. We don't really need any use clothing. We don't need use Ligeti's and suitcases. And if I can't, another PSA please stop giving us items to use in the system is not helpful.

 

Whitney Gilliard: [00:31:32] That luggage that you got that you think is great to hand out to defect, please stop doing that is actually very harmful. Imagine being a child that's been removed and you constantly get things that belong to other people that don't smell like you and it's not a part of your personality. Would you go ahead and gift a little girl, a 50 year old woman's luggage? You will not do that. So what I say to stuff like that, well-intended. You know, do a garage sale, take that money and give it to organizations who can help you. That's not like that. That is what's needed. DFS does not need any more use clothes. You guys can help us out in the donation because it's a lot helping young adults like me pay for their living. Imagine. But listen, at the end of the day, what you get to be a part of stopping that foster care is a homelessness pipeline. And that's pretty cool. And you get to see that immediately.

 

Tersh Blissett: [00:32:24] That's awesome. That's good stuff when I knew that it was going to be exciting having you on the show and you'd make a massive impact and I'm so glad that you came on the show, You've definitely taught me several things. I mean, lots of stuff. The biggest thing for me, the biggest takeaway that I have on this is when you said serve prevention and preservation. Families serve to prevent and preserve families versus just constantly calling defects and, you know, trying to get kids taken away from their family rather than just stick out your hand and help. And there's so often that might not be much at all that they actually need. It might just be something that you would just consider like throwing away or even like you wouldn't even consider like 15 minutes, like helping out just a little bit. So I think that's one of the biggest that's one of the biggest takeaways that I have for sure. Is there I'm pretty sure that you all have some training programs, is that correct, for people transitioning into adulthood as far as like even learning some trades or anything like that? Yeah.

 

Whitney Gilliard: [00:33:54] What's really cool about by local and DNI and all these networking stuff is I have you I'll call it networking, I call it building up my army of people who love our young adults like you. Tersh I like I just know people like you guys. If I can say, hey, I need this because this kid needs this is it feels so good for our army to come up and say, hey, we got you, whether it's a job, whether it's helping us celebrate a birthday. So we do have programs and all our young adults need jobs and It's pressure, preferably because they don't drive. We also pay for transportation. They don't drive yet. So, I mean, they don't have a car. They don't they don't have parents that helps put them on their insurance. They're totally on their own, you know. So we would like jobs that are local here and pool their jobs with benefits is always helpful for them and yeah, stuff like that. And what they also learn is I have an unpopular opinion about education at this time in their life. I really do. And for all the social workers watching you right now, you're going to cringe. It's OK. I feel like you can always go back to school.

 

Whitney Gilliard: [00:34:55] Financial stability, being a business owner now, I have learned financial stability. Is freedom. It gets financially stable because otherwise, you would just be a homeless dude with a degree in a bunch of debt, you know, and I guess Tersh. The other thing is for everybody is watching that kind of hearsays and it may feel a little bit afraid about foster care and then feel like, hey, I can't really relate. Yes, you can. You know, you can look for many ways like just because you didn't have an adverse childhood does not mean that you've not had adverse adulthood. And at the end of the day, whether you've been in the system or not, we've all been children like we have all been children. We have all been a little kid somewhere else in our lifetime that relied on the hope that the adults standing in front of us won't hurt us. And unfortunately, there are a lot of kids in our area that did not have that. And if that doesn't put a palpitation in your heart to go, OK, this really matters to myself in my life, I don't know what will.

 

Tersh Blissett: [00:36:00] Yeah, I just might drop their good thing on the drop. Whitney, thank you so much. Thank you for coming on the show and everybody that's watching or listening to us. Thank you so much for listening to this episode of the shop Smaller SAV podcast. It really I mean, my whole goal here is to highlight local businesses in and around Savannah area. And you know, this obviously, as many people I talked to on a daily and weekly basis, for me to learn so much out of just one conversation with Whitney, obviously I need to have more conversations with her. So if anybody has any questions, don't hesitate to reach out to Whitney and her team. And I will put the links to both of those websites in the show. So with that being said, thank you again, Whitney, for coming to the show.

 

Whitney Gilliard: [00:36:56] You guys, I love you, Savannah. Thank you, Tersh.

 

Tersh Blissett: [00:36:59] We'll see you later. Yeah.

 

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