I would like to share the heartwarming story of what Bonnie Norman, an early Tesla Roadster owner, is doing. Bonnie has a huge heart for those in need, but especially children in the foster care system. For those who don’t know Bonnie, she is an EV advocate, has been driving EVs since 2010, and was a notable leader in the Tesla owner community for years. Currently, she drives a Tesla Model X Founders Edition P100D.
The December @Tesla Memorabilia Charity Auction begins now! 1st Bundle features @Tesla LunchBox, pins, key chain, original 2012 Brochures, HotWheels & More! 100% of proceeds benefit Koinonia Family Services benefitting Foster Kids & Adoptees. https://t.co/VSOvV2inks pic.twitter.com/vPuUpwM55r
— Tesla East Bay Fremont (@TeslaOwnersEBay) December 1, 2021
Since she has been supporting Tesla since its early days, Bonnie has had plenty of time to amass a neat collection of Tesla memorabilia.
“I’ve been saving Tesla memorabilia beginning around 2010,” she told me. “I’ve always felt privileged to have had a front-row seat watching history being made. Tesla Roadster owners all knew each other, so attending an event meant spending the evening with old friends.
“Tesla has grown from a small startup, hand-assembling Roadsters on El Camino Real, to a global presence. Raising money for charity is a great way for me to let my ‘front row seat’ collection of memorabilia reach the hands of Tesla collectors.”
When Bonnie lived in California, she volunteered at Koinonia with her chocolate lab, a certified therapy dog, Houston. Koinonia Homes for Teens is a division of Koinonia Family Services. Koinonia provides short-term residential therapeutic homes that help teens recover from abuse. The program also helps teens who are in need of mental health treatment. Each of its homes, which are spacious six-bed facilities, provides foster teens a safe place to stay and heal.
“It’s important to support organizations like Koinonia. These kids aren’t looking for adoption – they have families. Aunts, uncles, siblings. They just need a safe place to be for either a temporary period of time or until they reach adulthood. Koinonia supplies that home for them. They live with their friends. Counseling is available to them 24/7. The love there overflows. And the kids aren’t just forgotten when they reach adulthood: Scholarships, homes in the community where they are assisted as they reach full self-sufficiency. These kids transition from arriving traumatized to proud, healthy, contributing adults.”
To help the Koinonia foster teens, Bonnie is auctioning off her merch in bundles. The Tesla Owners Club of East Bay is helping her with this project and all of the funds will be donated to Koinonia Homes for Teens, a division of Koinonia Family Services.
Thread. If you're looking for a worthy charity this holiday season, Koinonia Foster Homes for Teens is near and dear to my heart. 1/https://t.co/w9G3F2mvOZ
— bonnienorman.bsky.social (@bonnienorman) December 5, 2018
I cannot emphasize the importance of organizations like Koinonia enough.
Although I lived with my own mother most of my life, there was a time when I was sick and she didn’t come to get me out of the hospital. I was moved into the foster care system for about three months and, sadly, I witnessed and endured abuse. My foster mother compared me to her biological daughter often and said that I was not good enough. She was also worried that I was too pretty for her son, who was well older than me. I was only 15 at the time. They also had several other foster children and one of my “sisters” confided that there were other things happening. I won’t go into detail about that here. I was relieved when the state finally gave me back to my mother.
Many children in the foster care system don’t have the love and support that most parents give to their children. YouthToday shared the cases that were studied by several independent researchers of how children in foster care were abused. Some of the information found includes that one-third of foster children in Oregon and Washington State reported being abused by a foster parent. In Atlanta, 34% of foster children had experienced abuse, neglect, and other harmful conditions. You can read more about the research on these studies here.
The Louisiana Public Broadcast System aired, Adrift in the System: Louisiana’s Children in Crisis is a good 30-minute documentary that took a deep dive into the complex issues surrounding foster care in Louisiana. Nearly 6,000 of Louisiana’s children are in the foster care system at any given time, LPB noted. The documentary also touched upon how many foster families were only in it for the money. I was often informed that my temporary parents were, too. We were nothing but a paycheck for them.
The foster system is heavily flawed and I was fortunate not to be in it longer than three months. My mother had her own traumas to fight and we were often homeless when I was younger. I remember her worst fear was having me taken from her and put into the foster care system.
I bring these things up because they emphasize the importance of what Bonnie and others are doing to help organizations help children in need. This is one of the most beautiful things about the Tesla community — it is a group of international EV lovers who care about their fellow humans. If you would like to bid on Bonnie’s auction and try to win some cool Tesla memorabilia, you can do so here.
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