This week I did some research on the competition. What was I up against? Who were my allies? Who were my foes? Interesting enough I found that regardless of the advance of technology, people still wanted tangible memories. I researched business, organization (NPOs), leaders, products, books, blogs, movies, volunteering opportunities and where they can be found.
Social Media (YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook captures all our memories and stores it for us (besides SnapChat). Facebook sends ‘memory lane’ notifications to review memories posted on same date years ago. Logos are iconic, tag lines are unnecessary at this point because of their popularity, and their brands are fast and economical. They are the most successful brands used for the current and future generations.
Together We Rise is a fundraising network of passionate volunteers that strive to give foster children a brighter future, a sense of normalcy and belonging. Events like National Build-a-Bike Tour, Sports Camps, Sweet Cases and Aging Out program also provide resources to older youth who are leaving the foster care system. The little bear (not pictured) depicts a hard childhood patched up by compassion. They have grown exponentially, are volunteered-based and sponsored by major companies.
The Forgotten Initiative (TFI) resources, supports and networks Advocates and TFI Church Partners across the nation, helping them grow sustainable foster care ministries in their communities. The tag line is a bit confusing at first but once explained, it’s understandable. It is a slowly developed organization that has reached national level.
INDIVIDUALS & THOUGHT LEADERSHIP
Karyn Sue Brand Purvis was renowned child development expert, popular speaker, author and passionate advocate. She was the Rees-Jones Director and cofounder of the Institute of Child Development at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, the creator of Trust-Based Relational Intervention, coauthor of a best-selling book in the adoption genre, and a passionate and effective advocate for children.
Constantine Sedikides is Professor of Social and Personality Psychology within Psychology at the University of Southampton. Currently, he is the Director of the Center for Research on Self and Identity. Constantine’s research interests are mainly in the area of self, identity and the self-relevant emotion of nostalgia.
Memories.com is a blog where memories live forever. It is a special place to gather and celebrate the lives of loved ones - either privately or with others. The stories, photos and videos shared help to preserve the most cherished memories. It seems as though it is no longer in usage. Logo is noteworthy.
A Fostered Life by Christy is a blog/YouTube channel for foster care practical information on what to expect and how to best prepare for this new adventure, for the day-to-day ins & outs of the life of a foster family. Started in 2013, it has reached over 4,000 subscribers.
Shutterfly provides personalized photos and services, lasting keepsakes; photo books, custom stationery, including announcements, cards, and invitations; as well as unique home decor and photo gifts. The color used is so vibrant that anyone gets excited to receive their orange box. They are more successful than their partners (see couple following) and are not fast, nor reliable, nor economical but have done great marketing and commandeered the market till now.
MyPublisher (owned by Shutterfly) offers an affordable way to tell your story and share your memories with customized, professional-
quality photo books. The books feature thick hardcovers, premium pages, and superior print quality.
Groovebook (owned by Shutterfly) is a mobile app that delivers a book of 40-100 photos straight to your door every month at an economical price. With a playful look and perforated pages, it’s easy to tear and share. The logo is simple and boring, yet concept is modern and reliable.
Creative Memories provides authentic scrap-
booking products and quick-and-easy products, as well as innovative new sales opportunity. Logo is poorly done, concept is interesting: doing scrapbooks for other people. Brand is somewhat unreliable since company split.
Adoption World Publishing has been the lead provider of therapeutic adoption and foster life books since 1993. The original owners, Donna Barnes and daughter Theresa McCoy, LBSW, authored most of the publications. This product is my main competition, although the templates created are poorly designed. The product may be reliable but advertised poorly.
Prynt re-imagines how digital content is shared in the physical world with the first-ever smartphone printer/phone case. The photographs taken by your phone will print a ‘Polaroid’ from the phone case. This can solve the time-consuming issue of scrapbooking and dying breed of photograph development. If affordable, it can be put into the hands of a foster child to document their own memories.
PANDORA designs, manufactures and markets hand-finished and contemporary jewelry made from high-quality materials to show little bits of memorable moments. If they were affordable, bracelets could tell a child’s whole history with each little bead.
Things Remembered is a leading retailer of personalized merchandise and experiences. They help customers create unique and personalized products for all of life’s occasions. Products are pricey yet reliable, many too delicate to be moving from home to home.
FosterFocus is the magazine the only national go-to source of foster care news and information for anyone involved in any way with the foster care industry.
REPRESENT by YOUTH COMMINICATIONS is a magazine founded in 1993, providing a voice for youth in foster care. Their stories give inspiration and information to peers and offer staff a window into teens’ struggles. It’s published by Youth Communication, a NPO that helps marginalized youth strengthen social, emotional, and literacy skills that contribute to success in school, work, and life. These are how their memories are shared.
The Whole-Brain Child by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson. A great book to see how the child’s brain works and provide resources best fitted for their background and life experiences.
Searching for Memory by Daniel L Schacter. He takes us into the hidden world of implicit memories: unconscious influences of the past that, outside our awareness, affect our judgments, preferences, and actions. He examines the nature and accuracy of emotionally traumatic memories.
Memory by Alan Baddeley, Michael Eysenck and Michael Anderson. This presents a comprehensive and accessible overview of the study of memory. It contains everything the student needs to know about the scientific approach to memory and its applications.
The Giver by Lois Lowry. It’s set in a society which appears to be utopian but is revealed to be dystopian as the story progresses. The main character keeps all the memories of their history, releasing them to the people.
The Blindside is the told story of Michael Oher, a homeless, traumatized boy who became an All American football player and first round NFL draft pick with the help of a caring woman and her family. It shows how important creating memories can be. Actress Sandra Bullock is an advocate for foster care as she adopted both of her children through it.
Annie (1984) An orphan girl’s adventures in finding a family that will take her. Annie had a keepsake from her biological parents, giving her hope and somewhat history. It shows how a child can hold on to memories, even how faint they are.
VOLUNTEERING & KICKSTART
Spark 5K raises support and awareness to make a greater difference in the lives of vulnerable families and kids that come from hard places. Held at Clover Hill Church in Virginia every year at the end of September.
KICKSTARTERS: Memorial Imprint Charms by Francis. Makes clay pendants out of jewelry.
KICKSTARTERS: Memory Bears by Amanda Cline Memory Bears to carry on those special memories
when they grow out of it.
Memory Bears by Tammy are teddy bears made from special articles of clothing, uniforms, fur coats, blankets or other item that holds a special place in your heart.
TED TALKS - Lemn Sissay: A child of the state. Literature has long been fascinated with fostered, adopted and orphaned children, from Moses to Cinderella to Oliver Twist to Harry Potter. Why do many parentless children feel compelled to hide their pasts? This talk shows how important a person’s past can be.
TED TALKS - Carmen Agra Deedy: Once upon a time, my mother... Carmen Agra Deedy’s luminous, funny, digressive tales of childhood and adulthood bring out the starry-eyed listener in us all. This talk shows how vivid memories can be.
TED TALKS - Frank Warren: Half A Million Secrets. Secrets can take many forms — they can be shocking, or silly, or soulful. Frank Warren, the founder of PostSecret.com, shares some of the half-million secrets that strangers have mailed him on postcards. He has written documents of these people’s lives, interesting since secrets are memories.
TED TALKS - Cesar Kuriyama: One Second Each Day. There are so many tiny, beautiful, funny, tragic moments in your life — how are you going to remember them all? Director Cesar Kuriyama shoots one second of video every day to collect all the special bits of his life.
TED TALKS - Becci Manson: (Re)touching lives through photos. In the 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami, mixed into the wreckage were lost and damaged photos of families and loved ones. Photo retoucher Becci Manson, together with volunteers and a group of colleagues she recruited online, helped clean and fix them, restoring those memories to their owners.
WHERE DO THEY MEET?
Parenting Classes, Support Groups, TFI Meetings, Spark 5K
Much of the community I work with are available for support. The coordinator, Angie Grant, is a certified trainer in Foster Care Education and has multiple connections, such as CPS, first-response, licensed case workers and more.However I need to branch out to those resources.