Tony, 18, who has been in foster care his entire life, said he never had a father figure until he met his court-appointed advocate, Jerry Thigpen, three years ago.
“He always has my back,” Tony said of Thigpen, 71, adding that he has never met his biological father. “He is always here to help me when I am down.”
Tony, who spoke under the condition that his last name not be included, and Thigpen — who volunteers for Court Appointed Special Advocates/Prince George’s County, a nonprofit organization tasked with monitoring children in foster care — have a rare volunteer-foster child relationship. Only 10 of the organization’s volunteers are men, compared to an estimated 300 male foster children in the county, according to the group’s executive director, Ann Marie Binsner.
The lack of male volunteers is something Binsner said she hopes to change.
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