Many consider Ohio State and Michigan to be the greatest rivalry in sports. The annual clash between the universities’ football teams on the last week of the regular season has become a regional holiday, nicknamed “The Game."
So what could possibly cause Michigan and Ohio to come together in solidarity? Something bigger than The Game. For National Adoption Month in November, two foster care and adoption agencies, Michigan-based Hands Across the Water and Ohio-based Caring for Kids have joined forces to help raise awareness of the more than 420,000 children in foster care, 120,000 of whom are currently waiting to be adopted in our country and 23,000 teens who will age out of the foster care system this year. “Strong communities like Columbus and Ann Arbor are rich in resources and opportunities, but those working in the field of child welfare know that many children and families continue to lack access to safe places to live, medical and mental services tailored to their needs and healthy support systems,” says HATW Executive Director Katie Page Sander (U of M class of 95, 97). “Every
dollar raised and every new community member who steps up to assist youth in foster care, no matter which team they support, is a win for these families and kids.”
The agencies assembled university-themed raffle baskets, both including two tickets to The Game in Ann Arbor on November 27. They will compete from November 1-20 to see which team gets the most tickets sold and the agency who sells less will take the “Photo of Shame” with all their staff wearing the opposing university’s shirts.
Both agencies are similar in size and scope and are committed to rewriting the story of the children they serve. “We deal with a lot of heartbreaking situations day in and day out. So to join with another agency in the trenches like us, for something that is fun and raises awareness about the real needs in our own backyards, our own cities, is something we were excited to do,” said CFK co-director Jill Davies, an OSU alum (class of 81). “Add to that a chance to beat Michigan and we had to be a part of it!”
While they are framing it as a competition, the agencies are unified in their desire to help children find safe and loving homes. The proceeds of The Bigger Than the Game Raffle will be split 50/50 between the agencies. So everyone wins. Those interested in finding out more should check out tinyurl.com/biggerthanthegame.