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Nursing Alumna Establishes Nonprofit to Benefit Former Foster Youth, Plans Virtual 5K Nov. 1

Leora BainLeora Bain

An award-winning graduate of Ferris State University’s Nursing program has her sights set on some exercise Sunday, Nov. 1, to bring attention and support to people impacted by homelessness related to those raised as children of foster care.

Leora Bain, of Big Rapids, serves Spectrum Health’s facilities in West Michigan in various roles as a registered nurse. The Ferris alumna earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2015. Bain earned a Master of Science in Nursing Leadership-Health Care Systems, from another institution, in 2019. 

Grand Rapids Magazine recently recognized Leora with its inaugural Excellence in Nursing Award for Community Health.

Bain, a former foster youth, has founded a nonprofit organization, Guiding Life to Independence through Development and Education (GLIDE), which seeks to acquire a motel in greater Grand Rapids as their site to house and train young adults who are between the ages of 18 to 26.

“This particular facility would allow us to provide housing for our participants, while they learn life skills and establish themselves in the hospitality industry,” Bain said. “Young people ’age out’ of the foster care program and among the 17-year-olds in the system, one in three will go on to experience homelessness by the age of 21. Our board of directors seeks to make a positive impact on that figure, while we look to build a welcoming and diverse nonprofit.”

Bain added, “We also hope to serve those families and individuals who find themselves displaced when eviction moratoriums end. There are a number of community sectors we hope to assist by providing them a chance to get back on their feet.”

One method that GLIDE’s Board of Directors hopes will gather financial support for their base of operations is a virtual five-kilometer run on Nov. 1, which is the start of National Homeless Youth Awareness Month. Activities to draw attention to those suffering hunger and homelessness have taken place in November since the mid-1970s. Bain said she would welcome participation from her alma mater and across the state of Michigan, whether they can financially support the 501(c)3 organization or not.

“What we are asking is that they spread the message they are participating by using the hashtag “#GLIDE4Change,’” Bain said. “That will be the true testament since we have a relatively short history as a nonprofit. We are hopeful about our prospects with this event, but building response during a global pandemic will be hard to quantify this season.”

Bain said the GLIDE organization is also striving to build diversity as it advances on its goals.

“We are focused on giving the young people who are making their way after lives in foster care an opportunity to get back on their feet,” Bain said. “We are thankful for the support of a number of community partners in Kent County, but would welcome those who have personal experience in the foster care system, or homelessness in their past to bring that skill set to our board.”

Bain welcomes inquiries on GLIDE and the Nov. 1 virtual 5K through the organization’s website, and looks forward to the fall event, and other future activities.

“We have been proud of our board’s dedication to these youth, the work to establish GLIDE and the planning that has brought about this event,” Bain said. “We look forward to embarking on those opportunities that will allow us to gather needed infrastructure and moving toward the realization of our mission.”