Indianapolis, Indiana gave us the largest crowd in Banana Ball history. It was a magical sight as I watched the crowd come together all standing, clapping, and cheering for one incredible woman who is making a difference, Sarah Michaels.
When we launched Bananas Foster, I received a dozen entries of people wanting to share their foster care story, but one stood out to me.
From Tiffani McCormick: “Hi! This is not my story, but rather a friend of mine here in Indianapolis- Sarah Michaels. She is a single gal, in her late twenties who has been taking in foster teens and sometimes their babies and sometimes other kiddos and babies for YEARS. She goes out of her way to not just give them a loving home, but make up for all the experiences they could easily miss, she loves fiercely and gives endlessly. I would LOVE to find a way to celebrate her and her family of foster kiddos if you all can!!!”
After that, I called Tiffani to get the ‘RIPE RUNDOWN’ on Sarah Michaels and she connected us that afternoon.
Sarah Michaels was 22-years-old when she became a licensed foster mom. As a nurse in a local Indianapolis Children’s Hospital she saw first-hand the need for more foster caregivers as she watched teens leaving the hospital with no where to go. Now 28-years-old, she has welcomed over 30 children and teens in her home. She currently has 6 children in her care ranging from ages 1 to 16.
After the first phone call together, I knew she would be as incredible in person as she was portrayed in Tiffani’s story, so I set them up with tickets for our Go Bananas for Game Day program.
MAGIC OF BANANALAND
When Sarah arrived with 5 kiddos, there was more than magic in the air. A storm was brewing over the stadium and I rushed them under the concourse before they would spend the rest of the day soaked.
As the rain came pouring down, the unthinkable happened and the power went out. I expected the lights to flicker back on but what they didn’t I wasn’t sure what we were going to do. I thought about what Jesse Cole and Jared Orton say, “do for one what you wish you could do for thousands.”
Instead of sending the family home, I called the coaches and asked if the players would meet us in the batting cages to spend time with Sarah and her kids. Let me tell you…the team showed up!
The power was never restored and the game was rescheduled to Saturday, July 1st, but we made sure to bring Sarah Michaels and her family back to the game. Her story deserved to be told and she deserves to be celebrated for making a difference.
SPARK A CHANGE
Sarah returned on Saturday with the whole family: her kiddos, parents and siblings. Being a holiday weekend, her family was coming to town so we hooked everyone up with VIB tickets.
During the fourth inning, it was time for our celebration. Emily Cole took the field and the kids watched from the dugout. Not a dry eye in the house when Emily shared Sarah’s story.
For years, Sarah has brought children and teens into her home when they had no where else to go. Some of those she took in were teen moms and Sarah has been there for the birth of their children. An incredible story. An incredible person. Thousands stood and cheered for her commitment to the community and to making a difference.
Grab some tissues and Click Here to watch the full celebration.
If you or someone you know is a foster family and are interested in sharing your story with us, please visit Tell Your Story.
Written by first-hand account of Jolie Chabala, Bananas Foster Program Coordinator