The Walk Your Talk Walk is an annual event with a twofold focus.
- The first is to raise funds for foster care organizations to assist them in their support to foster and adoptive, youth and parents.
- The second is to raise awareness in the community, as to the needs of the foster/adoptive community.
“Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless” – Ps 82:3
How the “WALK” started
As an elementary school physical education teacher in Redlands, walk founder Jaci Hasemeyer witnessed firsthand what the life of a child in foster care can be like. After rewarding a student for good sportsmanship with a free pass to a skating rink, the pass was handed back to her. The student’s reason, “because I can’t go”, there was no one who could take him skating to enjoy his free pass. He was one of several students who lived in a group home. This was the start of the Hasemeyers journey in raising awareness for children in foster care.
In 1998 Eric and Jaci Hasemeyer became foster parents and took in their first foster child. Eventually, Eric quit a high-paying career as a stockbroker to become a marriage and family therapist, and Jaci gave up her job as a physical education teacher. Together they have fostered over 30 children and have adopted ten, in addition to raising three children of their own.
As Riverside residents, the Hasemeyers have assisted other couples in adopting and started support groups for other families with adopted children. They have established partnerships with other organizations whose focus is to aid foster kids, through educational and mentoring programs. Presently they also advocate for Riverside County’s Educational Representative program, by recruiting volunteers to help guide foster children through their educational process. These are just a few of the Hasemeyers contributions to the foster community, through their non-profit organization, known as F. A. C. T. O. R.
In 2005, Foster Advocates Caring Together of Riverside (F.A.C.T.O.R) organized its first walk, what is today the annual “Walk Your Talk Walk” of Riverside. As a non-profit company, F.A.C.T.O.R, organizes this walk to raise funds and awareness for local foster children. It also provides an avenue, to increase the involvement of service from the community, with other organizations that positively impact children in the foster care system. However, the greatest impact the “Walk” has made, is helping foster children find permanent homes.