Jimmy Wayne Speaks to California Senate on Foster Youth
Jimmy Wayne recently took a break from his Meet Me Halfway solo-walk across America to speak before the California Senate. Jimmy was asked to take part in California's kick-off event for National Foster Care Awareness Month in Sacramento where he spoke on behalf of Assembly Bill 12 -- the California Fostering Connections to Success Act.
Earlier this year, upon hearing about Jimmy's mission to help end teen homelessness, foster-care advocate and Assembly member Jim Beall, Jr., who introduced AB 12, contacted the singer through his Twitter page to express the same passion on the subject. The AB 12 proposal taps available federal monies to help finance California's Kin-GAP program and to offer foster-care benefits to age 21.
On Monday, May 3, Jimmy participated in the Sacramento Foster Parent Association Walk-a-Thon around the State Capitol. He then began making his rounds throughout the Capitol where he met with legislative staff, state Senators, and the Governor's key staffer to discuss AB 12 and foster-care issues. He was also introduced on the floor of the Senate where he received a standing ovation.
During a rally later that afternoon, Jimmy shared his own experiences growing up as a homeless teen and the family who saved him -- an elderly couple by the name of Bea and Russell Costner. Jimmy started out as the lawn-boy to the Costner's, but they soon opened their home the 16-year-old who had long hair and faded homemade tattoos. They asked Jimmy to do two simple things: cut his hair and go to church -- to meet them halfway. Jimmy wound up staying with the Costners for six years before heading off to college where he earned a degree in Criminal Justice. He was forced to cut his speech short on Monday because of the overpowering emotion that came over him. "I dedicate my life to advocating the foster youth and teen homeless," Jimmy tells The Boot proudly. "Therefore, I was honored to be a part of the event."
"Jimmy Wayne not only showed me he's a great singer, but a great advocate for foster care youth," Jim Beall tells The Boot. "When it comes to explaining the challenges foster care kids face and how we can improve their lives, Jimmy's our hero.''
A video of Jimmy and Assemblyman Jim Beall speaking before the crowd in Sacramento on improving the foster care system and AB 12 can be viewed by clicking here.
This Wednesday (May 12), Jimmy heads to Washington, D.C. where he will address the Senate Caucus on similar matters regarding foster youth.
To keep up with Jimmy's journey and project Meet Me Halfway, visit the campaign's official website here. Jimmy has roughly 500 miles to go before reaching HomeBase Youth Services in Phoenix, Ariz. Jimmy left Nashville, Tenn. on New Year's Day by foot and has already logged over 1,150 miles in four months.