The first time Michelle Armour ever met a foster child, it was a dead one.
“I did CPR on her. Right as the ambulance pulled up, she took her last breath. It was the worst day of my life.”
On June 22, 2008, a speeding driver hit a curb, flew through the air and tore off the top of another car holding three girls (ages 10, 7 and 5) and their foster parents. They all died. Armour happened to be driving on the same road that day in Plano and tried to save the youngest of the girls who landed near her car.
In the months following the accident, Armour testified in court against the other driver and learned more about the girls’ lives. They were with their sixth foster family in as many years.
“I thought I was in the wrong place at the wrong time, but it turns out I was in the right place at the right time,” Armour says. “I think God put me there to see it and do something about it. It opened up my eyes to foster children.”
Earlier this year, the Preston Hollow resident and former Hockaday teacher founded her own nonprofit, Foster Kids Charity, which raises awareness and creates care packages for both local agencies and Child Protective Services resource rooms.
“When they come in and take the kids, they give them a trash bag and say, ‘You have 15 minutes to grab your stuff.’ They might grab their pajamas, some shoes, maybe a toothbrush and a toy. We come in to fill the crack.”
Foster Kids Charity accepts only new items. “These kids are abused, or most of them are abused, and we don’t want to give them abused stuff. They need to use this stuff for a long time.” Armour moved to America from Israel 10 years ago, having served in the Israeli Army. English is her second language, so learning how to establish a 501c3 proved challenging.
“I stayed up until 2 a.m. reading about how to do all this stuff. Thank God for the internet.” But after witnessing the horrific accident three years ago, she knew she had to do something. “I couldn’t save them, but I feel I can put a smile on other children’s faces.”
Foster Kids Charity hosts a benefit at 7 p.m. Nov. 12 at The Hall of State, 3939 Grand. The event includes live music, magician Eric Anderson and President Barack Obama impersonator Reggie Brown. Tickets are $85. To learn more or donate to the organization, visit fosterkidscharity.org.
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