Superhero Run Raises Awareness for Foster Care System

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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. -- Approximately 110 children in Hall, Hamilton, Howard and Merrick counties are in foster care, and some of those kids rose awareness on this issue with a superhero run.

"Everybody has a bad outlook on foster youth and foster care already, so why not raise awareness and let more people know about it?" said Kori Eckel, who has previously been in foster care.

"It's for a good cause, and it helps everybody out in the community and helps the foundation," said runner Michael Benson.

Nearly two years ago, Eckel was in foster care for six months. She says it has been improperly stereotyped.

"You can't just a book by its cover," said Eckel. "A lot of the times, more than not...it's not safe for the youth in the home, so they're taken out that way they can be safe."

Kori currently lives with her mother, but her bond with her foster parents will never diminish.

"It's awesome just to know no matter what happens, if you ever need anybody to talk to when you don't know who else to call, you can just pick up the phone and there's somebody going to be on the other line, telling you what to do and giving you good advice," said Eckel.

For kids in need, foster parents become the superhero.

"When I didn't have any place to go, they let me into their home. They didn't have to, and ...they just really sweeped me up off my feet," said Eckel. "I would say they are my superheroes."

Eckel recently graduated from Grand Island Senior High School. She says when she was in foster care, her foster parents drove from Cairo to keep her in school.

Eckel plans on attending Central Community College in Hastings to major in culinary arts.

The run was put together by Project Everlast, which is designed to develop those currently or previously in foster care. They teach youth independent skills like cooking, managing money and finding places to live.

According to Project Everlast, Eckel and others are breaking down the stereotype, one day and accomplishment at a time.

"These kids are overcoming all odds and graduating, and they have college plans, too. So they have plans for the future, and they're kind of plowing through right now, which is just absolutely amazing," said Project Everlast's temporary youth advisor Kortnie Ravenscroft.