A Foster Friend Named John - FOX 35 News Orlando

Gina's People

A Foster Friend Named John

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In this weeks "Gina's People" we meet John Franklin.  He's a FOX 11 viewer from Ventura who is transforming the lives of kids in Foster Care. 

Franklin has been confined to a wheelchair for years. Without warning, he woke up one day unable to move his body. "I was paralyzed from head to toe and my life changed. I had to deal with what happens when your life changes really suddenly in a way that you never asked for, you never wanted," says Franklin. Doctors believe a blood clot severed his spinal cord. They called it a freak paralysis. The only thing Franklin could move was his left arm. Instead of feeling sorry for himself, he adjusted and began working with foster kids.

Immediately, Franklin found a connection. "While I didn't' understand a lot of things the youth were going through, I could understand this issue of dealing with something that you really wish didn't happen," says Franklin. "He really, truly cares. He's an authentic person sort of like what you see is what you get. He's honest and sincere," says Raquel Montes. As a kid, Montes was placed in foster care because her father was physically and emotionally abusive.  She says Franklin has provided the love and compassion she never got from her biological family.  We heard the same story from several different former foster kids.  They credit Franklin with changing the course of their lives. "I've been in a lot of tough situations lately and I reach out to John. I say, 'I don't know what I'm gonna do. I feel like I wanna give up. I can't do this anymore.' He'll tell me, you can't give up. Look what I've gone through in my situation and the fact that I keep pushing forward and making a difference in people's lives and one day that's gonna be you," says Jennina Berg. She is still in the foster care system.

Every year, Franklin organizes a party called Milestones.  It's an annual event where foster kids can celebrate what's good and positive in their lives.  When he recently lost funding for the program, everyone thought Milestones would be canceled.  Franklin wouldn't have it.  He organized a fundraiser and raised enough money so Milestones could continue. That's just the kind of guy he is.  FOX 11 congratulates John Franklin for making a difference in his community!

This is the website for Milestones: www.Milestonesvc.org.

If you know people like John Franklin making a difference, please let us know. Every Monday morning, Gina Silva highlights our FOX 11 viewer of the week.

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