Student Project: North Star

Through StandWatch Academy, Kathryn Alley developed a project to leverage faith-based organizations to help improve the foster care system.

Being a part of StandWatch Academy has allowed me to grow in leadership skills and develop a deeper understanding of how our government works, how a nonprofit business functions, and ultimately how I can use my own passions and beliefs to design a business of my own.

When starting the Southwest Expedition, I had little to no idea of what kind of business I wanted to pursue and what kind of mission that would entail. I guess I never really thought of myself as a “non-profit” kind of person. However, when truly examining the state of West Virginia and looking into my own personal experiences, I have been able to see a great need that should be filled. Children who have been put into the foster-care system as a result of a bad home environment or the out-of-control opioid crisis face difficult lives; they may never be able to know what a loving, “normal” family or home-life is like. Therefore, throughout the time of the expedition, I formulated a concept known as North Star.

North Star is a nonprofit business with the purpose to equip families or parents in local churches with the tools and guidance they need to adopt a child from the foster-care system and ultimately provide a child from a bad home environment with the kind, God-loving home they deserve. The actual North Star, otherwise known as Polaris, is the brightest star in the Ursa Minor constellation; this particular star is used as a reference point in navigation or astronomy to lead people where there need to go or to find their way back home. My hope for this business is that children are able to find their way to a welcoming home as well.

North Star will provide training and lessons for parents wanting to adopt a child, as well as expediting the adoption process so that is is easy and efficient for a good, loving family to bring a child home. My goal is to function through local churches who are interested in partnering together to help fill the needs of hundreds of children in this state. I believe that this kind of initiative can be formed in West Virginia, and has the potential to help the growing number of children affected by the drug epidemic.

Being a part of StandWatch Academy has also allowed me to grow in my knowledge of how to be a leader in my community and in my school. As Christians I believe we have a responsibility to act as a light and example for others; we have all been set apart for a reason. Getting the opportunity to go on the Southwest Expedition, and be involved in StandWatch has shown me that I can make a difference and help the people around me by pursuing my passions and the things I believe in to accomplish the will of God and become a leader for sustainable change in my community.

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