By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Fostering Bulloch building downtown gets mural
Statesboro High students painting side of office
W Fostering Families Mural photo
Statesboro High School National Art Honor Society members paint a mural that contains replicas of drawings completed by previously-served foster kids on the downtown Fostering Bulloch building. NAHS President, Neha Aggarwal, center, and NAHS Secretary, Glory Lee, center on ladder, discuss colors and paint application to the family picture of a foster child that eventually became his forever family. - photo by JULIE LAVENDER/staff

Downtown visitors may have noticed some changes to a building just behind the Bulloch County Annex on the corner of Elm and North Walnut streets. The Fostering Bulloch building that houses the clothes closet is getting spruced up with a mural painted by Statesboro High School’s National Art Honor Society students.

Representatives of the 50-member club on Statesboro High’s campus have spent several afternoons applying paint to the brick exterior to create the project. The resulting pictures are replicas of drawings from previously served foster kids.

“It’s not just a physical building we’re working on, but it is the representation of the wonderful work Fostering Bulloch is doing for foster kids in this community,” said Neha Aggarwal, senior and president of the NAHS.

Aggarwal said the purpose of the club is to take the talents of its students and put them to meaningful use in community projects like this one, as well as a previous mural at the Statesboro Regional Library, a living art museum at the Main Street Statesboro Farmers Market back in the fall and participation with Statesboro’s ArtsFest, the Kiwanis Ogeechee Fair parade and events at the Averitt Center for the Arts.

“We love advocating art in the community,” she said. “Beautifying this building adds an emotional factor to the outside, as well as what’s going on inside the building.

“Art has been close to my heart growing up, and I believe the mindset of creation and innovation — that’s important in whatever career you pursue,” said Aggarwal, who wants to pursue a medical career.

Hayley Bond, art instructor at SHS and the society’s faculty advisor, said: “The mural is a tangible way to see how something the students do can help the community. They realize they sit in class next to kids every day who have utilized this facility, and it’s made it more personal.”

The mural is extremely personal to one local family.

Chelsea and Daniel Stackpole knew before they married that they would one day adopt. With some health-related issues before marrying Daniel, Chelsea was told she most likely wouldn’t get pregnant.

Even though the Stackpoles were busy newlyweds — Daniel with a privately owned business and working with the EMS and Chelsea finishing up school — the couple began to pursue the idea of fostering children locally after meeting Chris Yaughn, founder of Fostering Bulloch, randomly in a department store.

A full weekend of fostering classes and training, mounds of paperwork and five months later, the couple were certified foster parents.

“It was obviously God’s plan,” Chelsea Stackpole said. “It usually takes a year or more to complete, and we were approved in five months.”

Soon, the Stackpoles began to foster 5-year-old Miles for a weekend “here or there,” according to Chelsea.

“We got him every chance we could,” Chelsea said about the little boy with whom she and her husband were falling in love.

Then the phone call came.

“The caseworker called and asked if we would mind taking him in full-time,” she said. “They told me we’d need to pick him up from school that day.”

Chelsea received the call while she and her husband were sitting in Dr. Jim Hiller’s OB/GYN office.

With obvious emotion, Chelsea explained, “The very day they called to say he was ours, we found out we were pregnant with Ellie Kate.

“It was all God’s timing,” she said. “We couldn’t have planned it at all.”

About a month later, in July 2013, Miles had the opportunity to attend a day camp that Yaughn arranged for foster kids at the Raptor Center at Georgia Southern.

“The kids were drawing butterflies and flowers and things,” Chelsea said. “I was letting Miles do his own thing.”

Yaughn remembers the day well.

“I asked Miles to tell me about his picture,” he said. “He said, ‘That’s my mama; that’s my daddy. This is my house, and that’s our dog, Charlie.’ He looked up at Chelsea and said, ‘You’re my mama. That’s my daddy, Daniel.’”

Miles’ words were prophetic, and the kindergartner, who had been in 20 homes before coming to live with Daniel and Chelsea, would officially change his last name to Stackpole about 10 months later.

Appropriately, the Monday after Mother’s Day, his adoption was finalized.

Now, almost four years later, Miles’ painting of his forever home and permanent family is coming to life on the side of the Fostering Bulloch building as a visual reminder of the many children still seeking what Miles now has.

Funding for the NAHS Fostering Bulloch mural was provided by Luke’s Project 11, the non-profit organization founded by Greg and Julie Anderson in memory of their son, Luke, who lost his life in a single-car accident in 2010.

Lifelong Bulloch County resident, Georgia Southern student and Sigma Chi member Luke Anderson spent much of his free time serving others in a variety of ways, and the organization was created to encourage people to find ways to leave a positive impact on their community through service.

 

Sign up for the Herald's free e-newsletter