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Jimmy Wayne backs California foster bill

Wednesday, May 5, 2010 – Jimmy Wayne, a former foster care youth, was the honored guest of California Assembly member Jim Beall on Monday in observance of May as National Foster Care Month.

Wayne went to Sacramento to speak with lawmakers on behalf Beall's Assembly Bill 12, legislation that allows California to take advantage of federal law and draw down funds to help extend foster care benefits beyond age 18 to age 21. Wayne also received a resolution in recognition of his work to raise awareness of the plight of homeless foster care youth.

"I'm grateful for Jimmy Wayne's support for AB 12,' Beall said. "As someone who was in foster care, he can effectively explain how we can help youth overcome the problems they face as they leave of the foster care system. I think he's a tremendous advocate.'

On Jan. 1, Wayne embarked on his "Meet Me Halfway' campaign, a 1,700-mile journey on foot from Nashville to Phoenix, to publicize the challenges the homeless face, especially for at-risk kids and young adults. His walk is also raising money for organizations that benefit homeless youth.

"I support AB 12,' Wayne said, "because I know first hand the importance of having a support system. During my childhood, I was in and out of the foster care system, and at one point I was homeless. At 16, I was taken in by Bea and Russell Costner. They gave me a home and a foundation of love and support, enabling me to finish high school and attend college. Most foster kids aren't that lucky. Without anyone to care for them and help them, they 'age out' of the foster care system at 18 and often become homeless.

"Many do not have the means to support themselves. That's why I believe extending foster care benefits to age 21 is a priority. We can give these worthy young people the opportunity they deserve to become productive citizens."

The singer's visit was initiated by Beall following a Twitter message sent by Wayne after AB 12 was approved by the Assembly. The bill is in the Senate Human Services Committee.

About 5,000 youths who have been abused and/or neglected by their parents leave California's foster care every year when they turn 18. Many of them leave with little or no support. A major study released in April revealed young adults who had left foster care continued to face very high rates of joblessness and homelessness. By age 24, only 6 percent had obtained a college degree.

Wayne's trip was sponsored by Cadence Design Systems and the Foster Care Month Coalition. The coalition held its sixth annual kick-off to National Foster Care Month in California on Monday at the State Capitol's north steps. Both Beall and Wayne attended.

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Sometimes the third time out for an artist can mystify them, as by this point they've chosen to either clone or deconstruct their first record. So what's next? Jimmy Wayne, who sharply veered away from the deep emotional mining of his first effort to more straightforward country- pop on his second, goes the route of a hybrid collection. There's the big leadoff (and Keith Urban-penned) Things I Believe, which swings for the number one hit fences all the way with a hook heavy »»»
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Editorial: Walking the talk – When names like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Waylon and the Hag are invoked, you're talking hard core country. These are the touchstones of country , the guys who made country music what it was and still is (or maybe can be). When these folks would sing about being down-and-out and the rough-and-tumble, they knew of what they were singing about. Fast forward a few years to the country singers of today. »»»
Concert Review: Gibson Brothers join "Brotherhood" in style – The idea of releasing "Brotherhood" by veteran bluegrass band The Gibson Brothers was a natural. The disc paid tribute to a long list of brother acts including the Everlys and lesser known acts like the York Brothers and the Four Brothers. While the younger Gibson, Leigh, sure gave Eric a ton of grief throughout the show - all in jest, of... »»»
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