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BCA staffers contribute ‘Sweet Cases’ for foster children

Business Council of Alabama team members assembled and provided 20 Sweet Cases for foster children in Chilton County for the 2015 Christmas season.

Those pictured include BCA president and CEO William J. Canary; volunteer and Chilton County High School junior Ada Ruth Huntley; BCA Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration/Chief Financial Officer Terri McCullers, CPA; Chilton County DHR Director Marilyn Colson and child advocate and attorney Liz Huntley.

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The Sweet Case project of the “Together We Rise” non-profit organization provides a duffel bag filled with items that children entering foster care need. “Together We Rise” consists of motivated young adults and former foster youth who seek to improve the lives of foster children by collaborating with community partners such as the BCA to bring resources to foster youth and use service-learning activities to educate volunteers on issues surrounding the foster care system.

Sweet Cases duffel bags are a welcome and attractive alternative to the trash bags that many foster children carry with them to their temporary homes. The Sweet Cases duffel bags can include a hygiene kit, a blanket, a stuffed animal, coloring books, crayons, and various other items.

“One of our team members discovered the Sweet Cases project and we decided to participate in it and we chose Chilton County as the distribution location for 20 foster children,” BCA president and CEO William J. Canary said in a release.

BCA staff members this week contributed to the Sweet Cases and delivered them to the Chilton County Department of Human Resources that handled the distribution to children.

The BCA partnered with Chilton County, the home of attorney and motivational speaker Liz Huntley and Chilton County Department of Human Resources Director Marilyn Colson.

Huntley is the author of “More Than a Bird,” her story of overcoming tremendous adversity to become a child advocate, a successful attorney, motivational speaker, and member of the Auburn University Board of Trustees.

Huntley was the keynote speaker at the BCA’s board of directors meeting on Dec. 4 in Birmingham. Incidentally, Huntley’s daughter, Ada Ruth Huntley, is a foster children volunteer in her own right.

Liz Huntley has dedicated part of the proceeds from her More Than A Bird to support efforts to advocate for the expansion of Alabama’s high-quality, voluntary pre-K program, and to enhance the quality of life for children and families across the nation through various other programs.

Marilyn Colson is the mother of BCA Senior Vice President of Governmental Affairs and Chief of Staff Mark Colson.

She said that Chilton County has 104 of the state’s nearly 6,000 foster children.

The Sweet Cases are for 20 foster children, Marilyn Colson said. “They will be a source of comfort for them as they move into a foster home rather than having to carry their belongings in a garbage bag,” Marilyn Colson said in a release.

Ada Ruth Huntley, a Chilton County High School junior, founded Operation Birthday Wish that serves more than 100 children in the Chilton County foster system and at Children’s Village group home in Birmingham.

Huntley operates the program as her school’s FOCUS president and works with other members to meet this need.

Operation Birthday Wish is provided the names of children whose birthdays occur in the next month and their birthday wishes. Donors are recruited through social media and public speaking and are paired with a child. The donor provides a present and Ada Ruth Huntley ensures the present reaches the child’s worker who in turn delivers it to the child.

Operation Birthday Wish is on the Web at www.operationbirthdaywish.com.