Community writes hand-written notes to Utah foster kids for their graduations

Jun 2, 2022, 4:13 PM

SALT LAKE CITY—It’s the time of year when most high school graduates and their families are celebrating years of hard work.

Some grads, however, aren’t so lucky.

For them—kids in the foster care system—several strangers gathered Wednesday night at the Urban Arts Gallery at The Gateway to show support and honor their success.

JOYMOB events  and the Utah Arts Alliance teamed up to host a live graduation card signing for the 17- and 18-year-olds who are set to receive high school diplomas next week.

“They don’t really have caregivers or parents or anybody in their immediate world to celebrate them,” said JOYMOB founder Bahaa Chmait. “I know that despite all of their challenges and adversity, they’ve exceeded academically and that’s really exciting.”

People attended from across the Salt Lake Valley and came from as far away as Park City to write out personal congratulatory notes.

“I feel like they need to know somebody cares about them,” said Trisa McBride.

In addition to handwritten notes, McBride showed up with typed-out letters addressed to the graduates.

“You are so important to so many people, many of whom you’ve never met yet,” she wrote in one.

She said she hoped the graduates realized what a difference they make to others around them.

“At least they’ll know someone cares and a lot of people care,” McBride said.

Glen Svenningsen also showed up with his dog, Cooper, to jot out some notes.

“The best preparation for tomorrow is today and you have truly done that!” he wrote to one grad.

Chmait said he was glad to try to make a difference in the lives of these young adults. He said he planned to hand-deliver the letters at their graduation next week.

“I think if we can do a little bit and spread a little bit of joy in a very challenging environment, that just brings us a lot of happiness,” Chmait said.

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Community writes hand-written notes to Utah foster kids for their graduations