New Bern, NC, November 7, 2019
Mattie Williams has had success raising foster children with her tough love approach. She’s been a foster parent since 1989 and ten years ago she became a therapeutic foster parent with Easterseals UCP. More than two dozen children have come through her doors, receiving shelter, food, consistency, and lots of love.
The foster children have affectionately nicknamed her “Drill Sergeant Mattie.” After all, she served 20 years in the U.S. Army working numerous roles including medic and medical trainer. “It was a man’s world in the 1970’s when I signed up and it was difficult being a woman in the Army,” said Mattie.
After serving her country, Mattie is now serving her community by helping to raise challenging foster children. She said, “I get the difficult kids, almost always boys. They carry lots of baggage – some baggage you can see and some baggage you can’t. I steer them in the right direction and try to show them there’s more to life than their baggage.”
As soon as a new foster child steps in her home, Mattie provides stability. She’s consistent with expectations that come with appropriate consequences. Mattie chuckles, “When the kids see my military picture on the wall they say, ‘Don’t mess with her!’” Even after the children leave Mattie’s home, they continue to stay in touch by calling and visiting regularly. Some even call her “Mom.”
The Therapeutic Foster Care Program is proud of the men and women who accept the role as a foster parent. Easterseals UCP provides training, reimbursement and 24/7 support. Parents come from all walks of life including single parents, LGBTQ individuals and couples, and people with biological children in their home. Audrey Fisher, Easterseals UCP Therapeutic Foster Care Program Supervisor in New Bern, said, “Mattie never gives up on these children, even when things get tough. She stays connected to her past foster children, and if they need her she is there for them. She is committed, she is loyal, just as she has been to her country!”
Mattie enjoys playing an important role in the lives of foster children. Despite the challenges Mattie said, “Mostly these kids want love and I have plenty of love to give.”
We celebrate Mattie and military veterans throughout the U.S. today. Happy Veterans Day!
Learn more about the Easterseals UCP Foster Care Program. Become a Therapeutic Foster Parent Today!ABOUT EASTERSEALSEasterseals provides meaningful and exceptional services so that children and adults living with disabilities and mental health challenges can live, learn, work and play in their communities. Kathy.Edgerton@eastersealsucp.com(O) 919-865-8660 | (C) 919-208-0621