INDEPENDENCE, Mo. - Child TV star, Hayden Byerly plays a foster child on the popular TV show, The Fosters.
Through his role, he’s learned the difficult times children in the foster care system face.
"After hearing so much from different social workers and kids for six years, and I still hear stories, and every time I hear them, I still can't believe wait these kids go through and what happens to them," Byerly said.
“Kids are moving six or seven times throughout the system, on average maybe more, hopefully less, they usually put their stuff, if they have much of it, in a trash bag,” Byerly said. “These kids are taken away from what they know, from familiar faces and family and they have nothing and then the few things they do have is put into something as demeaning as a trash bag.”
That’s when Byerly decided to give these children, who he portrays on TV, something more permanent.
“You can take the things that are close to your heart, the things that are important to you and put them in something that's safe and secure and something that's going to be with you the entire time,” Byerly said.
10-year-old Niko Domerese says he and his dad were thrilled to meet the young actor.
“It was pretty exciting," Domerese said. "I got to meet someone from a show that I watch and cause he's helping with foster kids,” Domerese said.
President of FosterAdopt Connect says it’s nice to know Byerly is doing something to help kids who are living those real life experiences of the foster care system.
“It's a really cool thing. He's a really neat guy and what he's doing for kids is really meaningful,” Ross said. “Hayden took the idea of replacing trash bags with totes and he got some folks together and he was able to fill those bags up with things that are going to be helpful and cool for kids that receive them. That's a small action that makes a big difference.”
Ross says roughly 6,500 children are in the foster care system in the Kansas City area, and more than 400,000 nationwide. She says it’s an issue that’s a hidden one.
“They go to school with your kids, they are sitting in the same classroom as you are, but the difference is their life is insecure,” Ross said. “They don't know what their future is going to hold. They may have to spend their afternoon on a supervised visit with their parents, rather than playing soccer in the neighborhood with their friends.”
Byerly hopes his charity will bring more awareness to the hardships these children may face everyday.