Jimmy Wayne Aids in Passing of New Tennessee Bill for Foster Children
Chances are that no matter what happens to Jimmy Wayne in the coming weeks, he will remain with a smile on his face and in the grandest of moods. Earlier this month, Wayne was sitting front and center in a Tennessee board room when the news was revealed that a new bill he was fighting for -- one which supports foster children -- had passed congress.
Representative Mark White introduced the bill that will continue the Transitioning Youth Act -- program that provides assistance to foster children between the ages of 18-21, at the point when they age out of the foster care system. The critical legislation helps individuals bridge the gap from their teenage years to adulthood.
The bill was presented to the Senate floor by Senator Doug Overbey, where it passed unanimously, and passed on the House floor with overwhelming support and a vote of 97-1. Following the tally of votes, Wayne wrote a personal letter to the rep who voted against the bill, and the very next day, the vote was reversed for an unanimous vote across the board.
"Carrying this legislation for Tennessee’s foster children, a particularly vulnerable population, was an honor," says Representative White. "I appreciate the widespread support of my colleagues in recognizing this very important initiative, and I thank Jimmy Wayne for his incredible passion in seeing this through to the end."
The fact that the bill aids kids who are in, or are getting ready to "age out" of, the foster care system is something extremely personal for the singer. He too was once a kid on the streets, looking for guidance, when an elderly couple took the then-16-year-old teen into their home and gave him an opportunity that changed his life forever.
Wayne put the phrase "if you're going to talk the talk, you'd better walk the walk" to great use in 2010, when he embarked on his Meet Me Halfway solo walk from Nashville, Tenn. to Phoenix, Ariz. to raise awareness and funding for teen homelessness.
"I am grateful to Tennessee lawmakers for standing up for foster children across the state and recognizing the critical need for this program," says Wayne. "I was fortunate to have two people who were absolutely integral in seeing that I transitioned into adulthood, but not all foster children have that experience. The continuation of the Transitioning Youth Act will ensure they do."
"We need to continue the good work of this program and ensure we are giving the opportunity of hope for foster youth," says Speaker Harwell. "Jimmy Wayne is a great leader and gifted spokesman for this issue because he knows the difference it can make. As lawmakers, we are here to change lives in a positive way. This was a chance for us to do what is right, and I am pleased to see passage of this bill."
For more information on Wayne's contributions to organizations that help foster kids in need, visit the official Meet Me Halfway project website.