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Former youth in care Redbirds create community

Four female students sitting and smiling

Together Creating Community members at a Redbirds men's basketball game.

Together Creating Community (TCC) is an Illinois State University group for students who have experienced the child welfare system or are passionate about it.

We come together to create friendships, be supports for one another, and to give back to the child welfare community in Bloomington-Normal. Over the course of the year, we participate in multiple social events, support group meetings, and service events.

For example, for the spring semester, we are promoting a sweet build fundraiser through Together We Rise, a nonprofit based in California that supports foster youth all over the country. Most youth entering foster care receive just two trash bags for their belongings. A sweet case build is when people come together and decorate duffel bags for foster youth complete with a teddy bear, hygiene kit, and blanket, to be donated to a local foster care agency.

This January our group organized a support group meeting, where members came together, ate food, and had an encouraging discussion about their experiences in foster care as well as their goals for 2019 and lessons from 2018. TCC is meant to be a place for students to gather and feel comfortable with their experiences in child welfare, or to advocate and learn more about it. TCC creates a unique platform for members to connect with others that share similar aspirations and backgrounds!

To provide one more example of what we do, just this past weekend our group was able to participate in a social event by going to an Illinois State Redbirds men’s basketball game together. For some members it was their first Illinois State basketball game and for others it was one of many they have been to. Yet each member supported each other’s new experiences and enjoyed the game by cheering, ordering hot dogs and nachos, and taking pictures and laughing together.

It was a great experience for existing members and also new members to get to know each other a little better, while supporting our university!