MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) — As the number of children in need of homes climbs higher than the past two years, a Middle Tennessee organization is walking 100 miles this weekend to raise awareness for the struggles foster kids face, as well as raise money to give them a better life.
The founders of Jonathan’s Path, Jase and Carrie DuRard, and fitness trainer Brandon Holt are making strides on Saturday, Nov. 19 and Sunday, Nov. 20 to increase teenage foster care awareness, build support for foster services, and raise funds for the organization.
“We’re tired; we’re sometimes grumpy because the tired and the cold can make you grumpy; this night’s going to be a little scary,” said Carrie. “These are all the same feelings that teens come into foster care with when they’re taken out of their homes. These are the exact same emotions that they’re going through.”
The 100-mile walk — which follows a route from Lebanon to Murfreesboro to Spring Hill to Franklin — comes days after the Department of Children’s Services told Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, “We have a real crisis on our hands.”
“There’s 9,000 kids in foster care in Tennessee right now, and there’s 5,000 homes,” said Jase. “We’re literally the worst state in the country. The Volunteer State, we’re the worst state in the country for foster care.”
The DuRards said they hope other families will see their story and open their homes and hearts to fostering. In early November, they adopted their son Taylor, who they fostered for more than two years.
“My entire life, I’ve been fighting for a family that will love and care for me and really just be there at all times and not have to worry about it,” said Taylor. “I can finally rest. I can finally stop fighting. It just feels great, it feels amazing, and I want every foster kid to feel that way.”
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A portion of the money raised during this walk is going toward Jonathan’s Path’s next project: building a series of homes for immediate and long-term placement.
“I want teenagers that are coming into foster care to have the experience of stability, unconditional love, and a home from day one,” said Carrie.
The two-day expedition ends around 4 p.m. on Sunday at the Mellow Mushroom in Franklin.