“Everybody can do something. Find your something,” Candace Cartwright, founder of Foster Love Bell County, told about 200 luncheon guests Saturday of the Temple Daily Telegram’s 18th annual Day for Women at the Frank W. Mayborn Civic and Convention Center.
In his introduction, Dave Hedge, general manager of the Telegram, told how Foster Love was founded in 2016 after Candace and her husband, Tim Cartwright, junior high and outreach pastor of Temple Bible Church, saw their first foster child arrive with only a trash bag for his belongings.
“She collaborated with other organizations and professionals to make a lasting impact in the community, and it quickly snowballed into a nonprofit organization,” Hedge said.
The luncheon was the high point of the day, which began at 10 a.m. and ended with a 3:30 p.m. style show by Susan Marie’s of Salado. Throughout the day, patrons shopped among the approximately 40 vendors set up in the building’s rear hall.
Main stage events in the rear hall included presentations by Tommy Reeder of Wild Birds Unlimited, Seleese Thompson of Precious Memories Florist and Gift Shop, Dr. Jeffrey Schels of Advanced Chiropractic and Lisa’s Dance Group.
In her luncheon talk, Cartwright said that during a recent interview by Tex Appeal Magazine she was asked if anything in her background prepared her for becoming involved with foster children.
“I had to stop and think about that,” she said. “When I was 2 years old, my mom made the decision to leave my abusive father … it was in the middle of the night.”
It often occurred to her, she said: “Why didn’t anyone step in and do something about it?”
Later in life, she met and married her husband and they had two daughters, she said. Then their third child came, a boy.
“I felt very done with children,” she said. “I was sitting in the nursery rocking him.”
She didn’t hear an audible voice, she said, but got a strong impression that she and her husband were not “done with children.” She said she knew it was along the line of foster care.
“I was very resistant to the idea,” she said.
She told her husband, and at first, they did nothing.
“My plan for the next year was to talk the Lord out of it,” she said.
She knew about Child Protective Services and CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) of Bell and Coryell Counties. But she found there was a great need for families willing to provide foster homes, and she and her husband took license training.
“It probably wasn’t until we began the licensing process that I felt this was what we should do,” she said.
Among the vendors in the rear hall, Zion Zobell-Pistole promoted Anthony Chiropractic, which has been in Temple 13 years.
“We do chiropractic, acupuncture, massage therapy and physical therapy,” she said.
Something new at the practice is a 10s unit, an electrical device, she said.
“It stimulates your muscles, helping to relax them, especially around your back,” she said.
Physical therapy could include stretches and exercise, and is used to work through an injury, she said.
In the booth next door, Kim Edmonds of Temple displayed hundreds of earrings and said she’s been operating KC Creations out of her home for about a year. One of her lines is custom earrings for team sports, which she said is very popular.
“I make everything with a laser cutter or a Silhouette machine,” she said. “I just picked it up, taught myself. It started as a hobby for myself, just to have extra earrings, and it kind of grew from there. People said, ‘Oh, I need your earrings.’ It’s my full-time business now. I was a nurse for 20 years.”
Jasmine Simmons, director of strategic engagement at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, was promoting MyWay, a fully online undergraduate program. UMHB has two full bachelor’s degrees through the program, she said. These include a degree in organization leadership and everything in nursing from registered nurse to a bachelor of science in nursing, she said.
The program began in 2016, she said, and had to do a little shifting because of the coronavirus.
“We’re kind of getting back out there,” she said. “We have about 70 students in the program.”