Community building Guest authors

Create a holiday to remember for foster children in your neighborhood

Written by Devin Alexander

Give back to community nonprofits to make a difference this season

As someone who is best known for being a New York Times Bestselling Author and Celebrity Chef, I never thought I would become as passionate about anything as I am about helping people eat chocolate cake and chicken wings while still staying fit. That was until I fostered and adopted my “miracle baby” daughter, who we call Jelly Bean, and gained the greatest  gift of my life. With feelings of unrelenting joy, also came a deeper understanding of how broken the foster care system in the United States is.

My daughter inspired my mission to bust the myths about kids in foster care and find ways to ensure they have healthy, happy lives. I recently took on a role as The Manager of Strategic Partnerships for — a national nonprofit that works to improve the lives of foster youth through education and skills to help them transition to higher education and adulthood successfully. While only 3% of foster youth typically go to college, FirstStar Scholars have a success rate of over 80% going to college. Started on the UCLA campus, FirstStar now has 14 Academies across the country that start nurturing foster youth when they are freshman in high school. FirstStar’s university-based college prep programs help foster kids see that they belong in college and can beat the odds that are stacked against them. 

Last holiday season, a single post I shared on Nextdoor resulted in $40,000 worth of cash donations and goods for the kids of FirstStar. I simply shared the impact of FirstStar’s work to ask if any neighbors would be interested in filling holiday stockings for local foster children and the response was overwhelming. This year, I posted again with a goal to double the support for foster children in the Los Angeles area with the help of my neighbors on Nextdoor.

What I discovered is that neighbors are eager to give back in their own communities, and that community-based nonprofits provide a way to support causes near and dear to your heart.

It only takes one person to inspire change. To make an even bigger impact, rally your Nextdoor neighbors to join the cause. Post about a holiday donation drive for an organization like FirstStar, or plan a group community service activity. You can also look for virtual volunteer opportunities at local schools and nonprofits to make a difference in your neighborhood this holiday season.

About Devin Alexander

Multi-Time New York Times Bestselling Author, Media Personality, Entrepreneur and Keynote Speaker, Devin Alexander, was the Chef of NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” and author of 10 books including “The Biggest Loser Cookbook” Series, “The Most Decadent Diet Ever”, “You Can Have It!” and the upcoming children’s book, “The Land of Secret Super Powers: Vegetables”.  Devin’s unique approach to healthy cooking and her motivational personal story have landed her regular appearances on talk, news, weight loss and fitness shows for nearly two decades, making her America’s Go-To Expert for decadence without consequence.  Devin has shared her secrets through frequent appearances on The Today Show, Good Morning America, The Biggest Loser, Dr. Oz, Dr. Phil, The View, FOX, CNN, and others, and through over 500 magazine features including Prevention, Men’s Health and Shape. She’s coached thousands of pounds off others and has maintained her own 70-pound weight loss for decades.  Devin truly lives and eats her message: you don’t have to deprive yourself to be fit and healthy. When Devin adopted her dream baby from the Los Angeles foster care system, she was determined to share her passion with her angel.  Devin’s “Mom Tribe” wanted to know how she got her daughter to “attack” platters of veggies and devour extremely healthy foods many adults have not even tried.  Thus the birth of her web platform, and “The Land of Secret Super Powers: Vegetables”.

Devin also passionately advocates for the 425,000+ precious children currently in foster care in the U.S.  For inspirational tips, guilt-free recipes, free cooking videos, advice on staying youthful, getting your kids to eat veggies and so much more visit Devin at, www.FitMomFitKids.comFacebook, Instagram and Twitter.   

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