For the second straight year, the St. Johns County Family Integrity Program (FIP) and Flagler College have partnered to provide nurturing resources for youth in the care of the FIP.
Lauri Mongiovi, professor of art and design at Flagler College, is teaching a course focusing on childhood separation. An integral part of the class is the book “All That She Carried: The Journey of Ashley’s Sack, a Black Family Keepsake.” Mongiovi highlights the message of the book by allowing her college students to create personalized duffle bags for children in the care of the FIP.
Many foster children are moved from location to location. These personalized keepsake bags are given to the children for them to keep and cherish as a symbol of their distinct identities.
Mongiovi also invites guests to speak to her college students as part of the course. This year, Addison Bailey, the adopted daughter of Racine Coleman (an FIP foster parent), shared her story of foster care and being separated from her family. The students were moved and asked many inquisitive questions.
Coleman touched on how important it is for the students to know what is going on in their community and how everyone can help and come together to support the affected youth. She went on to explain how personalizing a bag for a child in foster care may seem insignificant to some; however, to the child, it means much more to know that “someone, somewhere, was thinking about them.”
It just so happened that the majority of the Flagler College men’s baseball team was in the class. They discussed how, when they signed up for the class, they did not know that it would be about child separation, and they certainly did not expect ironing and stitching patches on bags, but they were very grateful for the experience and asked how they could further help.
Mongiovi received approval from Flagler College to teach the class again in May 2025.
To learn about how you can help children within our community, go to sjcfl.us/FIP/HowCanIhelp.aspx.