Sunday, January 07, 2007

Kashi's foster care experience inspired him to create iCare

R&B veteran Kashif is down for foster children:
He's started iCare to improve the quality of life for foster kids
Jan. 5, 2007
http://www.eurweb.com/

LOS ANGELES, CA - Kashif won the hearts of millions of music lovers through his pioneering sound which dominated R&B charts in the 80s but what many do not know is that he has a passion for helping foster children.

His recordings have sold over 70 million worldwide and he has produced smash hits for the likes of Whitney Houston, Kenny G, George Benson, Barry White and Lil Kim, yet his greatest accomplishment - the one closest to his heart is yet to come.

As the Founder and National Spokesperson for iCare, a non-profit organization committed to changing the image of foster care and improving the quality of life for children in the foster care system, Kashif is using his celebrity status and Hollywood connections to raise money and bring awareness through creative endeavors including hosting two benefit concerts, producing and directing three national commercials, creating a clothing line exclusively for children in foster care and sponsoring a summer camp, Celebrity Sports & Entertainment Camp (C.S.E.C.) iCare's motto is "Every Child In A Loving Home."

Having never known his biological parents and persevering through abandonment, abuse and eight foster homes, Kashif knows firsthand the importance of providing children with a loving and stable living environment. He is committed to making substantial differences in the lives of the hundreds of thousands of children in the foster care system.

Statistics show that more than 800,000 children pass through the foster care system each year. Most of these children are the victims of repeated abuse and prolonged neglect and have not experienced a nurturing, stable environment during the early years of life.

According to the most current AFCARS Report (Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System Report), 38% of the children in foster care in September 30, 2001, were African American and 37% of the children were Caucasian. 17% of the children were Hispanic while 2% were bi-racial, and 1% were Asian. According to Casey Family Programs, African-American children are over four times more likely than Caucasian children to be placed in out-of-home care.

Every effort should be made to make foster care a positive experience and a healing process for the child.

Kashif applauds celebrities such as Madonna, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie for traveling to foreign countries to adopt, however he states "That can send the wrong message to the local community. All we need to do is look in our own backyard. We don't need to travel to Africa and other foreign countries to adopt. By the year 2020, if we do nothing to reverse current trends, 9 million children in this country will be in the foster care system. I'd like to see positive changes in foster care including more resources available for foster parents and the process of becoming a foster parent made easier."

For years, Kashif has been a mentor for foster kids and has worked with agencies such as Casey Family Programs and the Department of Children & Foster Services (DCFA). Earlier this year he traveled to Sacramento as a part of a team that helped secure an additional $83 million dollars to the State budget. He is also working with local and national politicians to help change legislature and was featured in Jet magazine's May 22, 2006 issue and addressed the issue of foster care and how we can help.

UPCOMING iCare FUNDRAISING EVENTS AND ACTIVITIES:
iCare Concert
Two musical concerts will be held: May, 2007 in New York and August, 2007 in Los Angeles. A portion of the proceeds will go to foster care agencies.

Celebrity Sports & Entertainment Camp (C.S.E.C.) - Begins summer, 2007, this five-day camp exclusively for foster care youth will travel to nine cities across America. National celebrities will instruct youth in the disciplines of music, dance, acting and basketball. Also includes life skill workshops. For a complete overview, visit http://www.celebritycamp.com/.

iCare Clothing Line - Includes casual and sports gear aimed at increasing the self-esteem of those in foster care.

iCare Commercials - Three national television commercials aimed at re-branding foster care. The media has focused on the negativity of foster care - there are many successful people who've come through the foster care system. The commercials will feature numerous celebrities who support the ICARE initiatives along with individuals who have "aged out" of foster care. These PSA's will be shown on television, the Internet, at sporting events and in churches nationwide.

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