Former foster child creates foster care community network
Last updated 11/4/2020 at 5:32pm
Menifee resident Kaylee May is creating a community communications network
called The Penny Project, named after her foster mother, for those who work
together in the foster care system.
"It started about a year ago – my foster mom passed away in April 2019," May
said. "I had actually started an Instagram for the restaurant that I work at and I was
on social media a lot, and I was seeing a lot of advertisements and stuff like that,
and I came across one for a program called Together We Rise."
Together We Rise is a nonprofit organization for foster children.
"One thing that they focus on is making duffle bags, supplying them for foster
kids," May said. "I remember 'cause when I was in foster care, they put all your
stuff in big black trash bags, and that's how you travel from house to house."
She talked with her foster father about it.
"I just recently went to Utah, which is where he lives and where I was in care and I
saw him, and he lives alone in a small town and it just brought back the idea for
me," she said.
She left the idea on the back burner for a time due to life being busy, May said.
"Getting close to the holidays, I just wanted to do what I could and I felt like
maybe using my voice and my knowledge would help," May said. She went into
foster care when she was 13, and aged out at 19.
One of her ideas was to help connect those to gift drives for Christmas, as she had
received gifts one year from strangers. Another idea was focusing on helping group
"I've been talking to a group home, Oak Grove Center," May said. "They actually
can house up to 76 – anywhere from ages 8-18 – and they have a high need for
kids to be sponsored, because group home settings are generally more like a last
May said there's levels to foster care.
"You have your kids who are in the family setting; you have ones that are in
proctor care; and then you have group homes where sometimes if you're not
behaving in your foster home, or multiple foster homes, you then get sent to a
group home setting," May said. "Sometimes it may not be behavioral, it may just
be because of lack of foster homes."
May also has been in contact with El Roi, a foster closet in Bonsall that allows
foster kids to shop for thrift clothing.
"I think what they do is very important, because when I was in foster care and
when I was going through the system one of the things that I realized was the lack
of clothing and having nice things," May said. "A lot of the homes that I went
through before I got to the home that I was in, my last home with Penny,
everything was very used and worn-out.
"I had gone through a few homes that would have five, six girls, and it's just
special to me that there's people out there who are trying to – just to give these
kids a place to go to kind of shop and to pick out things that they like and to feel
special. I think that's really important," May said.
May contacted other groups as well.
"I think that the older that I get as life goes on, I just have more of an appreciation
for the things that the adults in my life did," May said. "To know now looking
back and being a parent myself, I have so much more of an appreciation of what
they did for me, and also for the ones who saw past the hard exterior, the walls,
and who put in the time so that's why I think it's important that people understand
May has a 5-year-old son and a 5-month-old daughter.
"A lot of kids want to have a voice; they just don't know how," she said.
To learn more about The Penny Project: helping make community connections for
foster youth, visit
Lexington Howe can be reached by email at [email protected]