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Andrew Stone

Hopeland Partners with Paramount Pictures

Hopeland is excited to announce that it has been working with Paramount Pictures to promote awareness of issues related to foster care, adoption, and reunification in the USA following the release of their new movie, Instant Family.

The movie is directed by Sean Anders and stars Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne and was inspired by the true story of Sean and his wife Beth’s journey of adopting three children and the trials and joys that came with it.

In conjunction with Paramount Pictures, Adoption Share, and MDC Productions, Hopeland hosted a screening of the movie in NYC followed by a Q&A with Sean and Beth Anders, Hopeland’s Co-Founders Deborra-lee Furness and Nick Evans, and Adoption Share’s Thea Ramirez.

Left to Right: Hopeland’s Co-Founders Nick Evans & Deborra-lee Furness; Sean & Beth Anders; and Adoption Share’s Founder Thea Ramirez

As well as being a hilarious comedy the movie tackles difficult issues such as the trauma children experience as they move from foster home to foster home, the damaging effects that substance misuse has on families, the fear and rejection that children experience, and the difficult decisions courts have to make as they decide outcomes for children.

After the screening, Nick Evans said, “The movie powerfully tackles the subjects of foster care, reunification, adoption, parenthood, and what it means to be a family. I have not laughed and cried so much in a while!”

If you want to learn more about the making of the movie you can watch a featurette about Instant Family here:

Hopeland’s Annual Gala Raises Awareness

Hopeland’s 2018 Gala was a beautiful, and powerful, event bringing together some of NYC’s biggest hitters to hear how Hopeland is finding better ways to keep children in families while enjoying performances from Ari Afsar and Keala Settle.

The room was packed in spite of one of the earliest snowstorms in New York City’s history that brought six inches of snow and many downed trees.

Dr Bertice Berry speaking passionately about Hopeland’s mission

The crowd heard from Dr Bertice Berry, the host for the evening, who’s powerful story of how she adopted her sister’s children to prevent them from ending up in the foster care system moved us all. This was of course not an easy task for her but she told the gala, “We have the power to make a difference in a child’s life – that’s why we’re here tonight.”

Ari Afsar

The first musical performance of the evening was from the up and coming artist Ari Afsar who is best known for playing Eliza Schuyler in the hit musical Hamilton. She performed ‘Dear Theodosia’ which was particularly apt for the evening as it is a song in which Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr speak to their children about their hopes for the future. The lyrics “If we lay a strong enough foundation, We’ll pass it on to you, We’ll give the world to you, And you’ll blow us all away”, speak perfectly to how children, with the support of a safe, loving family will thrive and do incredible things. This is exactly why Hopeland works to ensure every child has the support they need.

“Just because you didn’t cause the problem, doesn’t mean you can’t be part of the solution.” Hopeland’s CEO and Co-Founder, Nick Evans, used this call to action to rally those in the room to support our cause – based on donations on the night the call was heeded. Nick ran through Hopeland’s achievements in 2018 – read more here – and it is already looking like a great 2019 for Hopeland thanks to our many generous family members.

Keala Settle

“Hopeland is about making sure every kid has someone that is fighting for them” were the words of Hugh Jackman as he introduced the star of the evening, The Greatest Showman’s Keala Settle. Keala spoke about what Hopeland means to her and then sang Mariah Carey’s ‘Hero’ and of course ‘This Is Me’ – the inspirational hit of 2018.

Keala’s incredible voice got the whole room on their feet and sent Hopeland’s supporters home with Dr. Berry’s mantra in their ears: “when you walk with purpose, you collide with destiny”. We all came together with the purpose of keeping children in families and thanks to our collision at the gala we have a stronger Hopeland family for 2019.

How Being Thankful Can Empower Families

Hopeland is proud to announce that in partnership with Thankful we will be a leading organization in the #Thankful4Women campaign.

The spirit behind the campaign is that the mere act of being thankful has the power to increase attention, mood, energy, and many other important aspects of our lives. If we stopped more often to be thankful for what we have our world would be a happier, more peaceful place.

We all have a lot to be thankful for and we at Hopeland are especially thankful for the many inspirational and impactful women in our lives – that’s why we’re part of this campaign! We believe that by empowering women and girls they will strengthen their families and allow them to grow.

Check out some of the beautiful posts people from all corners of the globe have already posted here!

Take a moment to be #Thankful4 an amazing woman or girl by:

  1. Letting us know about them on social media by posting on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook
  2. Tag the person you’re thankful for as well as @OurHopeland and @Thankfulorg
  3. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #Thankful4Women so we can celebrate them together!
  4. Encourage your friends to share and post their own messages!

Check out our pinned Instagram story for a template that you can use!

We’re thankful for our amazing Co-Founder Deborra-lee Furness and the many other women who are fighting for justice. Thankfulness is a virtue we can all appreciate the strength of; it encourages us to practice gratefulness and truly value the sweet and tender things in life – like a safe, loving, family.

We hope you will join this incredible campaign!

UN Secretary General Wants to Make Sure All Children are Counted

All children count but not all children are counted. In 2016, Hopeland rallied a campaign with these words and, in partnership with over 160 different organizations, pleaded that the United Nations reconsider its approach to counting the numbers of vulnerable children in the world. You can read more about the campaign and why it is important here.

By putting pressure on the UN, Hopeland and its partner organizations successfully prompted new methods of collecting data that ensured that vulnerable children, no matter their circumstances, were accounted for. This meant street children, children in unregistered orphanages, refugee children and any child that would otherwise remain invisible should now be considered when monitoring the SDGs.

But now we need to keep applying that same pressure.

Just last year the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, called for a huge increase in funding so that all countries can meet the targets and provide adequate data to show that they are doing this for every person in their countries. His 2018 report, just released, however shows that there is much more work to do. We need to raise our voices for all the children, even those the global community isn’t listening too, so we can hold global leaders accountable and ensure they follow through on their commitments.

Mr. Guterres says in the foreword of the annual report “in some areas, progress is insufficient to meet the Agenda’s goals and targets by 2030.” Sadly, he adds that “this is especially true for the most disadvantaged and marginalized groups.”

Specifically regarding the results of the ‘All Children Count’ campaign the Secretary General says that “Today’s technology makes it possible to collate the data we need to keep the promise to leave no one behind” but yet we have not seen enough progress to be confident that all children will be counted by 2030.

Guterres says we need to “inject a sense of urgency”, Hopeland couldn’t agree more and supports his call for more “political leadership, resources, and commitment to use the tools now available.”

You can be sure that we will keep the pressure on – because nothing can be more important than making sure that all children are counted, not just those who are easiest to find.  

– Andrew Stone

Deborra-lee Furness: Disruptor

What happens when you’re unafraid and willing to lift the voices of vulnerable children around the world?

Well, add some passion, charm, and a genuine desire to ensure that children have safe loving families, as well as a few secret ingredients and you have our Co-Founder: Deborra-lee Furness, who was honored earlier this week at the 2018 Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards.

 

The ‘Disruptor Awards’ honor those who are unafraid to go against the grain to fight for the causes they believe in.  This year’s honorees included 11-year old March for Our Lives activist, Naomi Wadler, influential music journalist and late night TV drummer, Questlove renowned HBO Documentary film director and female activist, Sheila Nevins and our very own Deborra-lee.

“There are 157 million orphans in the world and of these numbers 80% have at least one living parent. We’re going to the root of the cause and getting creative with solutions that will derail negative trajectories.” she said as she walked to the stage to accept her award – a bright red hammer, meant to symbolize the unabashed confidence each of the disruptors exhibit when standing for their causes.

“We are working on prevention, reunification, and mobilization because we believe every single child deserves to belong in a loving family and have the opportunity to pursue their dreams.” she continued.

You can also watch this video of Deborra-lee on the red carpet after accepting her award. She jokes: “I used to be disruptive as a child, I got detention, and now they’re giving awards for it!”, but we all know that she really deserves this award and are so proud of her and her amazing work!

You can find more about the Disruptor Awards here.

The World Needs Better Solutions for Children in Orphanages

On March 8th, the world collectively recognized women who empower and strengthen one another by celebrating their social, economic, cultural, and political achievements.

For Hopeland, this recognition lasts year-round and is an integral part of our identity; which is why we’ve developed the FAMILY Campaign. As part of FAMILY, Hopeland will provide financial support to some of the most impoverished women in the world, truly empowering them to make decisions that are best for their families.

But why is such a campaign needed?

Often the poorest women in the world face difficult choices about whether they can keep their children with them at home. Sadly many women face such hardship that they are forced into an incredible bind where they truly believe their children are better off in an orphanage than at home.

Unfortunately, the fact that more than 80% of children in orphanages have at least one living parent is testimony to the fact that this is happening every day.

This means children in orphanages quite often aren’t “orphans” at all – and it absolutely stings to think about how detrimental institutionalized care is for the growth of the child:

  • For every three months spent in an orphanage a child loses one month of brain development.
  • Children in orphanages are often exploited for tourist dollars. This is disgusting, especially when you consider that orphanage tourism can lead to children developing attachments to strangers they’ll never see again – perpetuating feelings of abandonment
  • In many cases, children living in orphanages are being denied basic supplies of food, education, and safety

If poverty is causing family separation and putting children at risk of abuse, trafficking, and violence then we can all agree that something must be done.

There is not enough awareness of the reality of orphanages and that solutions do exist.

Hopeland is working to prevent children from being placed in orphanages in the first place, to reunite the 80% of children in orphanages who have living parents, and to mobilize families around the world to care for those who truly have no one.

Together we can follow through on the commitments made on International Women’s Day and ensure that even the poorest children in the world have a safe, loving family, not a life of despair and abuse in an orphanage – all thanks to the fierce and powerful mothers that we – and you – have supported.