The entire time that these two were on my program I was enthralled listening to a snippet of their story. I will post the interview (archived) very soon on both my website and podcast page.
These two people are extraordinary! Check this out:
Federal Way Mirror Reporter
August 18, 2009 · 4:17 PM
|Federal Way residents Mike and Carol Garcia. / KYRA LOW/THE MIRROR|
For more than 20 years, Carol and Mike Garcia have been bringing children into their home. After a rough childhood filled with near-death experiences, drugs and domestic violence, Carol knew she wanted to help other teens who experienced the rough aspects of life at an early age. When she met her husband, Mike, she told him right away that she wanted to foster kids — troubled behavioral teens, to be exact. Mike agreed, but never really thought they would do it, at least not right away, being that they were both just in their early 20s. Shortly after their wedding, the Garcias took in their first foster kid. Over the years, they have had 85 foster kids, all with behavioral problems, in their house — some staying a short time, others for years. Their rules were simple: Act like a family, obey the rules and most importantly, have some fun. "We felt if they were in the house, they were part of our family," Carol said. The kids had to learn to follow their foster parents and stick with them. "I told them, ‘You follow me, I don't follow you,’" Mike said. Once they had two young boys with them. To teach them not to run off, they took weekly trips to Costco, where the boys were taught that if they got separated they would stay put, and that Mike and Carol would always come back and find them. It took a couple of times, but eventually the message stuck. "They stood there," Carol said. "We came and said good job! We always praised them and saw the good." The Costco training was for a trip to Disneyland, where they took the boys. "When we flew into L.A., they followed Carol so closely, when she bent down to tie her shoe they all ran into each other and fell over," Mike laughed. Mike and Carol made sure all their foster kids got to go on family vacations, with plenty of pictures taken. Carol would let each kid pick out photos they wanted and would then put it in a book, leaving room for the kids to write down why they liked that photo. Currently, the Garcias are taking a break from fostering. They are spending the time concentrating on their adopted daughter, whom they've had since she was a drug baby. The Garcias' daughter is following in her parents' footsteps. She works with autistic children at church and is currently in Africa, helping to restore wells. They also have another adopted son, who is in his 20s now but was also a drug baby. Carol went back to work, working with the developmentally disabled in the Federal Way School District from 2003-2008. In the meantime, they have been helping out another group: Widows. Since getting out of the foster care system in 2002, the Garcias have had a couple of different women stay with them, including widows and their current roommate, Marnie Gentry, who is recently divorced. They pay a small amount for rent, but other than that, they don't have to pay any bills. In January, Gentry moved in following her divorce. She knew the Garcias a little bit through church, but was still surprised when they offered for her to live with them. "It kind of blew me away," Gentry said. "It was very unexpected. It's really nice being with this little family and it's going really well." Now the Garcias are in the midst of a project they hope will bring in money — money that can be donated to the numerous charities the Garcias have come across over the years, such as homes for domestic violence victims and horse therapy camps for disabled children. "We still want to help the community," Mike said. "But we want to have the finances to do so." Mike has been working on an invention for the past few years that is now in the final stages. He had an investor lined up, but that money won't come until late this fall. For his project to keep going, he is looking for investors with either $50,000 in gap funding to keep the project moving until the fall, or a new investor willing to put $250,000 into his company. In return, investors would get a return of 10 percent of profit for three years and collateral of $500,000. His invention is geared for sports fans, especially those in the Northwest who are used to being frustrated with their teams. It also works well for those in the corporate world and in music, Mike said. The product would be assembled by developmentally disabled adults, giving them a job. "This is our story," Carol said. "And our next vision. We don't want to reinvent the wheel (with a new foundation) we want to bless the foundations already out there." Since the invention is close to being done, the Garcias are not yet ready to spill the beans on their creation yet, but it is a crowd pleaser. Anyone interested in contacting Mike can reach him at email@example.com
In Their own words
Hi, I'm Michael Garcia. My wife, Carol, and I have been helping people for the last thirty years. Now we need your help to continue doing this in a really new way.
We were blessed to be able to be foster parents of more than 80 boys over a period of over 22 years. Some lived with us for a short time, but others for several years. We became very close to all of them and they changed our lives for the better. Carol and I were never able to have children of our own and these children filled a large hole in our lives.
We end up adopting two of our foster children; a boy named David and girl named Samantha. (Interestingly, Samantha looks just like my wife Carol.) We no longer foster parent, but still help single individuals get a fresh start.
During our time as foster parents we became aware of a need for an income stream dedicated to helping single parents and their children. The money will be used for education, training, housing, food assistance and some childcare allowing single parents to end the vicious cycle of poverty due to lack of advancement opportunity and support.
Single mothers and fathers need to be able to raise their children in a healthy, happy home despite their lack of another parent. This funding can also extend to the children to assist with educational expenses.
Now that we are older and can no longer foster parent, we still want to be helpful. I have created several novelty items to help further this cause including the FUN BRICKâ„¢ (See accompanying video) www.buyafundbrick.com. More than 90% of the profits from these items go directly to helping single mothers get on their feet and raise their families. Please see newspaper article link in beddede in video. We are a looking for champions to help with single moms with kids. Are you a champion? Do you want to help these children have you have, or wanted? Please be a champion and help the next generation?
Following are just a few of the stories from our family. The children are now grown into successful adults making a true contribution.
Hi, my name is Samantha Garcia and I'm 22 years old. I was adopted by Michael and Carol Garcia in Seattle when I was about three months old. My biological mom was addicted to drugs but had enough thought to give me a second chance with someone else. I'm very grateful for that because I have an amazing childhood to look back on now.
My parents were foster parents for over 22 years with over 80 foster boys coming through their home. I remember a time where we had five maniac boys in the house at a single time and I got to call them all my brothers. The only choice I had being the only girl at any given time was to toughen up. I learned quickly from my parents to never judge anyone. You never know what battles people are fighting in their lives.
I grew up watching my parents constantly give. Not just personal items but love. These children coming into their homes were broken. Many of them were filled with anger and resentment. But it didn't matter either way cause my parents would tell them it could always be worse and showed them tremendous amounts of love.
After they retired from their daily jobs and stepped away for foster care, they were presented with a new challenge: helping single moms back on their feet whether that be with housing, food or jobs. They have housed about a dozen single moms over the past few years. They want to do more but it's difficult when you are the sole provider for your charity. Many of these moms have children and that brings in many more needs and they need your help.
People who make a real difference!
My name is Jim Page; I'm 39 years old and loving life. The story didn't start so well however:
I was born into a pretty tough situation. My father was an alcoholic, and my mother a drug addict. They had a less than stellar relationship as you can imagine. When I was 2 years old my mom shot & killed my dad. She did what she thought she had to do in the moment, but the guilt made her drug problem that much worse. She struggled to keep it together but we were spiraling downward (I moved 17 times by the age of 7) and eventually she put me into foster care and checked herself into treatment. Enter the Garcias:
I moved in with Mike & Carol in August 1982 (I turned 8 that September). They had the nicest home I'd ever seen (looking back now it was a very typical starter home for any ambitious family in their 20's) but considering the places I'd lived and couches I'd slept on, their house in Lynnwood WA might as well have been a mansion. I immediately felt safe with the Garcias but I also remember being scared and missing my mom and not knowing what to make of the whole thing. I cried a lot in the beginning, every night in fact for the first month or so. Carol used to come in every night and sit on the end of my new bed and try to comfort me as I cried myself to sleep. Then one day the magic began. I was crying myself to sleep and Carol came in as usual to sit with me. After a few minutes she said, "Honey, it's time to stop crying now."
I remember looking at her through tear-blurred eyes, and kind of being caught off guard. Then she said something that changed the course of my life forever. She said, "Do you think the world will care that you've had a tough life? We're here for you but you're going to have to be strong to get through this."
This isn't the approach most would take. Many would've felt sorry for me but the Garcias understood that self-pity would easily become a lifelong disability if allowed to take root. I remember this moment like it was yesterday, and a day doesn't pass without me thinking about it.
That was the beginning of a 6-year journey with Mike & Carol. I'd learned everything not to do in my first 7 years 11 months on earth, but in these 6 years I learned a lifetime of lessons that help me to this day. They taught me that anything worth doing is worth doing well. I learned the value of hard work, and more importantly I learned there are no easy ways out of working hard.
Mike worked at Boeing and I remember him having to work extra shifts, getting up as early as 1:00am or earlier (he worked day shift, not graveyard) but I never remember hearing him complain. They showed me how to trust people (without being naÃ¯ve) and that doing the right thing will always bear fruit in the long run. I learned how to respect others as well as myself. I learned how to be humble and not let success go to my head. By watching them I learned how to be a man and how to pay it forward to make the world a better place. I'm not alone. They took in over 80 children during 25 years of serving as foster parents.
As an adult I've been lucky enough to find my soul mate of over 18 years and together we raised her son. He was 8 months when we met and he just graduated high school in June. I've been at a great company for over 12 years and have worked my way up the ranks from a delivery driver to an area manager overseeing 6 facilities, 10 managers, and over 175 associates. I think about the lessons I learned from Mike & Carol every day: to be strong, work hard, treat people with respect, never feel sorry for yourself, count your blessings, never make excuses, and have fun along the way. I don't know where I'd be if I hadn't been placed in their home. I know there are other great people in the world but there's none any better than Mike & Carol. One day when I grow up I hope to be just like them. The positive ripples of their kindness spread far and wide. Much love!
Meeting the Garcia's was an act of God. My late husband and I attended a dinner for one of his godson's wedding. That is where I met Mike and Carol. After that chance meeting Marque, my late husband, continued to visit the Garcia's and called Mike regularly. One tragic night I received a call from Marque he had just been in an accident. I rushed to meet him at the hospital never once thinking he would not return home. He suffered a cardiac arrest on June 30th 2013. My life was turned upside down.
I was devastated and distraught; so broken up inside that I did not want to continue living. I recall someone saying to me "you will be surprised who will be there for you during your time of need". For me it was the Garcia's. I made one call to Carol. Next thing I knew I was moving in with them. Having only known them for 3 months, they took me in as a grieving widow and nurtured me back to life. Through prayer and genuine kindness I have become emotionally and physically stronger to continue on without my late husband.
It's people like Mike and Carol that go unrecognized and I believe it's their time to shine. So, please help me repay them with the gift of funding Mike's project.
Go Fund Me Funding Levels
(Contact Mike and carol Garcia)