Craig and Deb Van Batenburg, owners of The Automotive Career Development Center (ACDC), have announced that their non-profit program, FAATCATS, (Foster Adopted Abandoned Teenagers Can Attain Transformation Successfully) continues to make a positive impact on the lives of many young teenagers.
FAATCATS started when Craig and Deb Van Batenburg, well aware of the struggle teenage boys face in the foster care system, made a commitment to do something about it. The Van Bateburg’s adopted a 17-year-old boy who had spent 12 years in the foster care system and also decided to start a non-profit organization and raise funds by reaching out to the automotive industry. Shops, technicians and companies donated to help foster care children find a home or, at the very least, have some mentors who could help them. While all expenses for operating FAATCATS are paid for by ACDC, the donations are sent over to the adoption programs.
Companies such as Midtronics, Pico Scopes and AE Tools have donated generously offering tools that could be used as prizes for a yearly drawing to raise funds for the program. Zachary Parker, owner of Redline Detection, for example, donated $1,000 to FAATCATS, challenging other automotive companies to do the same.
“Our job has been to create awareness in the automotive community and to inspire them to reach out and help these young teenagers find a foothold in life,” said Craig Van Batenburg, founder of FAATCATS and CEO of ACDC, a Hybrid and EV Training Resource Center in Central Massachusetts. “Deb and I are adoptive parents ourselves with two boys, Mike and Will, and though it has not been easy, we are grateful for the contribution we have been able to make in our sons’ lives and the ways in which they have enriched ours.”
In June, Craig made a donation to Adoption Rhode Island to help provide the necessities for kids going to camp. To go to camp they need sleeping bags, duffles, camp necessities and a little spending money for the Camp store. According to Craig, “For the kids, going to camp, it is a huge esteem builder, and for the foster families, it is a chance to get a well-deserved break. None of this would have happened without the generosity of so many shop owners, technicians and educators.”
FAATCATS was founded 10 years ago to help the kids find a home as early as possible, once they enter foster care. The reason is that when kids come out of foster care at the age of 18, they have nowhere to go and often end up in homeless shelters or on the streets. They simply “age-out” of the system.
You can help these children in many ways. In addition to considering adopting them before they enter their teens, you can also contribute money that is turned over to adoption programs. You may also offer them jobs or take up opportunities for mentoring them.
For details, visit: http://www.faatcats.org.
If you want to help, send an email to [email protected], or write to Worcester Shines, Inc. D/B/A FAATCATS, 40 Boyd Street, Suite 100, Worcester, MA.