ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. – A St. Bonaventure University student’s senior project helped raise awareness in Cattaraugus County about local children in need of foster care placement and adoption.
Shannon Barie, a senior majoring in journalism and mass communication from Allegany, presented her senior capstone campaign, “Make Adoption an Option,” to the Cattaraugus County Department of Social Services in order to increase adoptions in the local area. Following her campaign, nine foster children were placed in homes in the fall.
Barie was very excited when she heard the news.
“The case workers at Cattaraugus County Department of Social Services were able to get nine foster kids placed in homes during National Adoption Month, November, and knowing that I had a small part to play and all the work that I put into it, I was very happy,” said Barie.
Cattaraugus County Department of Social Services is a foster care adoption agency, according to Ann Bolenka, a case worker with the agency. Children are placed in foster care by their parents, who either get them back at some point when their home lives have stabilized, or have them adopted by someone else. “It was great to have Shannon work with us,” Bolenka said. “We really appreciated her help and interest in the program.”
Bolenka said that there is always a great need for foster parents, especially for children over the age of 10. “The older a child gets, the harder it is for them to get foster parents,” she said.
Throughout Barie’s campaign, she handed out fliers at Tops Friendly Markets in Olean, and was able to broadcast an announcement on St. Bonaventure’s radio station, WSBU-FM, and Olean radio station WPIG.
In addition, she posted “Help Wanted” fliers throughout Cattaraugus County. She also created a Facebook page called “Care about Catt. County’s Kids in Need,” to get more parents interested in adoption.
“I created the (Facebook) page in October, and I was able to have the commercial play all throughout November,” said Barie.
What inspired Barie to promote this campaign are her two younger sisters.
“I have two foster sisters and I figured that I wanted to do something personally for me, and I wanted to do something for the community,” said Barie.
Barie never viewed her “Make Adoption an Option” campaign as simply her senior capstone.
“This campaign was more than just a school project, it is something that I want to continue doing,” said Barie.
About the University: Inspired for more than 150 years by the Franciscan values of individual dignity, community inclusiveness, and service, St. Bonaventure University cultivates graduates who are confident and creative communicators, collaborative leaders and team members, and innovative problem solvers who are respectful of themselves, others, and the diverse world around them.