Kathie Nguyen embraces Eileen & Callie’s Place founder Dr. Natalie Ellington. Celebrate 18!, hosted on July 13, 2019, was also the day of Ellington’s birthday. Olivia Sullivan/staff photo

Kathie Nguyen embraces Eileen & Callie’s Place founder Dr. Natalie Ellington. Celebrate 18!, hosted on July 13, 2019, was also the day of Ellington’s birthday. Olivia Sullivan/staff photo

Nonprofit to host birthday party for girls aging out of the foster care system

Eileen & Callie’s Place is hosting Celebrate 18!, a celebration and resource event, Saturday, July 17.

A statewide birthday party for girls aging out of the foster care system is scheduled for next month.

Celebrate 18!, hosted by Kent-based nonprofit Eileen & Callie’s Place, is a celebration and resource event to be held at the Auburn Community and Event Center Saturday, July 17.

This year, girls who turned 18 in 2020 during the pandemic are invited to attend as well.

At Celebrate 18!, each girl receives a new outfit, a makeover by professional beauticians, a rolling duffle bag, a swag bag filled with everyday necessities and individually wrapped birthday gifts.

Service providers, employers and social service organizations are also on-hand at the event to answer questions and provide needed guidance and information.

The evening concludes with a catered dinner and foster alumni sharing a message to “their 18 year- old self.” Girls can register to attend by visiting the Eileen & Callie’s’s Place website.

Historically, too many girls aging out of foster care, turning 18 has not been a time to celebrate but rather a time of anxiety as many are without clear direction or support as they transition into adulthood, said said Dr. Natalie Ellington, founder of Eileen & Callie’s Place.

At the 2019 event, a then-17-year-old attendee said Celebrate 18! was the first birthday in her lifetime that she enjoyed.

“I feel like I was actually loved and supported by others,” Kathie Nguyen said after the event. “It’s kind of overwhelming because I’ve never had this kind of care and love in my life … I love today.”

Celebrate 18! is hosted by Eileen & Callie’s Place, a nonprofit organization established to support girls aging out of foster care.

The organization focuses on building relationships with these girls through one-on-one mentoring. Plans are in the works to open a transitional home to provide safe and secure housing for girls as they age out of the system.

For more information, visit eileenandcalliesplace.org.


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