TOPEKA – One Kansan who proved you can overcome a childhood of adversity is now inspiring others. A television program he recently launched with Eagle Communications is bringing his message of hope to young people in foster care. It’s also offering helpful information to families associated with the foster care system and to residents interested in helping children in need.
First Lady Mary Brownback is a guest on Dr. Jamie Schwandt’s January episode of Dreaming Big with Dr. Schwandt. Filmed at Cedar Crest in Topeka, the First Lady discussed child welfare issues with Schwandt, as well as other topics.
The episode with the First Lady will air at 5:30 p.m., Friday, Jan. 8, on Eagle affiliates across the state from Abilene to Goodland. It can also be viewed at HaysPost.com and http://www.eaglecomtv.net/
“I love to share my story of growing up as a foster child,” Schwandt said. “We hear a lot of negative stories about the foster care system, but I want to change that message. The foster care parents are superheroes, not the enemy.”
Due to issues of abuse and neglect, Schwandt, of Cheney, spent several of his teen years in the foster care system. He moved more than 20 times between foster families, his biological parents and his grandparents.
Schwandt began production of his television show last fall as a means to bring attention to child welfare and other issues. Eagle Communications is airing a short interview with Shwandt to promote the program.
A book he wrote about his journey to a successful adulthood (Succeeding as a Foster Child – October 2014), and the television talk show he hosts, are products of his desire to help others in a similar situation, as well as to promote understanding and involvement from the general public.
“Foster care saved my life, in little Kensington, Kansas,” he said. “I can’t thank all the people of that town enough. If it wasn’t for foster care, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Foster care in Kansas should be a model to the nation.”
Schwandt is also unveiling a children’s book, Finding Your Hero, to encourage younger children in foster care. Schwandt says looking back, being placed in the care of the State was the best thing that happened to him.
“We all want to give our (biological) children the opportunity to succeed in life,” said Schwandt, himself a husband and father to a baby girl, Ella. “But these foster children don’t have that. They don’t have parents who are giving them that best opportunity to succeed. That’s where the foster care system steps in.”
Schwandt’s television program features inspiring stories and educational discussions about issues that go beyond foster care and adoption. But one of the emphases of the show will be to promote the successes of children who came through the system.
“I want to focus on the foster child who became a success, find out how he or she did it, and build on those success stories,” he said.
Schwandt’s books, Succeeding as a Foster Child: A Roadmap to Overcoming Obstacles and Achieving Success and Finding Your Hero can be ordered online at www.jamieschwandt.com.
The Kansas Department for Children and Families is a sponsor of the Dreaming Big with Dr. Schwandt show.