Adoption Fest
Sep 07, 2022 7:00 AM
Heidi M. Wittenborn
Adoption Fest
I've lived in Austin since 1957 and have been a Rotarian since 2010.  I am a past president and treasurer of Austin Centennial and current treasurer for Austin Cosmopolitan.
I coordinated Adoption Fest for two years prior to Covid.  This is the first one since the lockdown and I am the coordinator for this one.
Adoption Fest
This event is designed to bring prospective adoptive parents and children currently in foster care together. While the event is a fun-filled day, the objective is a very serious one; to allow the adults, who have already been cleared by Child Protective Services, to interact with the children in a relaxed atmosphere that nurtures the formation of bonds and provides emotional context.

The Rotary Club provides games and activities which help the children and the adults to interact and collaborate with each other. We provide a hot lunch with beverages and dessert. Each child is provided with a backpack and water bottle they can personalize.

The theme of the event is a Carnival of Fun. We provide a variety of games for the children to enjoy. As the children participate, they receive Rotary Bucks for scoring points in the games. The children can then spend their Rotary Bucks in the carnival Prize Store.  The games are designed to put the children and adults on an equal footing and foster interaction with each other.

The club collaborates with Child Protective Services and a hosting location that allows us the use of their premises. Because of privacy laws, we are not able to obtain specific information from CPS regarding the results of adoptions, but we have been informed that 100% of the children receive follow-up information requests and that the incidence of adoption resulting from our Adoption Fest is very high. We are honored that this event is considered one of the most successful of its type in Central Texas.
The 2022 Event
• Date: Saturday, October 1 from 8 am to 3 pm (includes set up and take down); event activities are from 10 am to 1:00 pm
• Other clubs participating with Cosmo: E-Club, South Austin
• Location: Christ Episcopal Church, 3520 W Whitestone Blvd, Cedar Park, TX 78613 
Volunteers Needed
We will need many volunteers on the day of the event to set up, conduct, and tear down the event.  Volunteers are needed for the following activities:
  • Event set up – set up games and activities, tents for outdoor activities, tables and chairs for lunch, and some activities
  • Registration of participants
  • Lunch preparation and service
  • Distribution of backpacks and water bottles to kids 
  • Manage different activities – We need at least one volunteer to run each game or activity.  Two is usually better.
  • Event tear down and clean up – Pack up games and other supplies, clean facility to leave it the way we found it
We are looking for Swag items to put in the backpacks.  We have some, but more is better.  These could be pencils, small toys, gift certificates, or coupons from places like Whataburger or McDonalds, etc.  We would need about 75-100 of each of the items.