The Legacy of a Lifetime
Rhonda Bourne has been a Mentor foster parent for almost 30 years. Having experienced different challenges growing up, she recognized the importance of family support, belonging, and love. Rhonda knew she didn’t want others to experience similar feelings of discouragement and loneliness so she explored many avenues to make a difference in the lives of children.
The Root of Family
Rhonda was a school police officer, but found that she wanted to help kids at the source of their problems. One day she was asked to discipline a child but found that he was hungry and living in poor conditions at home. Determined to instill a baseline of self-worth in youth, she left her job and opened a daycare, continuing to tell children “you are beautiful.”
“I wanted to help them find themselves at a young age that they might grow up with hope, admiration, and inspiration. That they’re not going to be a statistic,” said Rhonda. Soon, Rhonda convinced her husband Kenneth to foster, and they did so together as a dynamic team until Kenneth passed away in the fall of 2021.
They Came to Say Thank You
Over the years, Rhonda and Kenneth had fostered over 70 kids. They even adopted one child, but stayed in touch with more. Many of them, now adults, came back to support Rhonda and pay respects to their foster father.
“I was so grateful,” said Rhonda. “I said ‘Your work wasn’t in vain. They’re gona look out for me. They came to say thank you.'”
Rhonda continues to foster, supporting the children in her home through the loss as they process together. Before he passed, Kenneth asked her to continue her calling.
“Even though my partner is gone, the problems still remain,” said Rhonda. “They need somebody who’s going to help. I promised my husband, I promised myself, and I know they need me. And I need them. I don’t want to be alone. They’ll turn your house into a home.”
A Continuing Legacy
Kenneth’s legacy lives on in all of the lives he changed as a foster parent in his time. And Rhonda continues to touch lives and create family with her vulnerability, dedication, and support. Thank you to the Bourne family for the incredible strength of your love.
Learn more about how you can create a legacy of love like the Bournes below: