The schedule of a high school student is notoriously busy. Between homework, sports, studying, clubs, family, and friends, it’s hard to find a free moment. That’s the case for 17-year-old Catherine Morris. As a New Trier Township High School junior, Morris is no stranger to a frantic schedule. She’s an honor roll student, applying to colleges, participating in clubs, babysitting, playing soccer, and running cross country. It’s hard to imagine she has time for anything else.
However, Morris finds time to serve on the Gift of Adoption (GOA) Chicago-based junior board, as its public relations and communication head.
GOA is a volunteer-driven charity. Its mission is to provide financial assistance to complete the adoptions of children in the United States and abroad. “Adoptions can cost up to $30,000,” says Morris. “It’s sad that the only thing separating a child from a family is finances. Our goal is to give those families that little extra to make the adoption happen.” GOA offers grants of up to $7,500 to a family in need. Since 1996, GOA has awarded $5.8 million to help unite over 2,000 children with loving families. In 2016, GOA helped 255 children unite with families and its goal is to double that number by 2020.
Last November, which is National Adoption Awareness Month, GOA held an event in downtown Chicago where members of the board, their families, and one of the previous grant families, climbed 50 flights of stairs. The 50 flights of stairs are equivalent to a vertical mile. The purpose of that distance was to represent GOA’s work in helping families pass that last mile in their adoption process. Under Morris’ watch, the event ran smoothly and raised $15,000.
“I love children, so GOA’s mission overall is so enriching for me, and helping people by working on this board is incredibly important and fulfilling,” says Morris.
To find out more about Gift of Adoption, visit giftofadoption.org.