Helping Them Click Their Heels to Get Home

 In Blog

Watching the Wizard of Oz as a kid, I could so relate to Dorothy as she desperately clicked her red heels and said, “There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.”

I could well imagine what it might be like to be so far away from home, wondering whether a pair of red shoes and a washed-up wizard could really get me back there safely.

This is why my heart goes out to young children in foster homes across this region, and across the country. They don’t know if they will ever get home, and, truthfully, they don’t even know that they’ll be safe if they do get there.

This is why I wholeheartedly put my passion behind helping Friends of Children in Hadley raise awareness about its programs and services. And this is why I want to tell you about the agency’s Red Shoe Ball, which is coming up on April 11 at 7 p.m. at the Garden House in Look Memorial Park in Florence.

At this chic event, party-goers don their own red shoes to raise money for the children that Friends of Children befriends.

This organization, led by the indefatigable Jane Lyons, advocates for young children and teens alike who have been abused and neglected and find themselves in foster homes, sometimes in a string of foster homes, one right after the other.

Jane has been with the organization since it was founded in the late 1980s, and, in terms of abuse and neglect, she has seen it all. Jane has seen children who’ve been so neglected their teeth are nothing but blackened stubs. She has seen children who are beaten, children whose parents lock the refrigerator door.

Friends of Children now has two full-time staff people and a part-time employee; together, they help oversee programs that train volunteers and mentors who advocate for neglected and abused children as they travel through the court system and for adolescents who are turning 18 and losing eligibility for state services without any support network.

The Red Shoe Ball supports their efforts.

Highlights of the event include a signature cocktail designed by Hope and Olive of Greenfield, music dejayed by Joan Holliday of WRSI, dancing and live and silent auctions.

A photographer will be on hand, and attendees can pose for photos. A “Best In Shoe” contest is also offered.

Items to be auctioned include: a week each in vacation homes in St. Croix, Vieques, Puerto Rico, Truro and Greenwich Village, New York. Other items include a hot air balloon ride, an East Heaven Hot Tub and Spa package, fresh water pearls and many other items.

Last year, the Red Shoe Ball raised $15,000 for the organization. Help it raise more this year. Help a young person find his or her way home.

Tickets can be purchased online at or in person at the office at 245 Russell St. in Hadley.

To learn more, contact Friends of Children at 413-586-0011


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