As part of Cleft Lip & Palate Awareness Week, I’m absolutely delighted to have had the opportunity to interview a very inspiring lady called Selena Foster, who works tirelessly as a volunteer for the Cleft Lip & Palate Association as well as bringing up her four children. Her daughter Lorena was born with a bilateral cleft lip and palate (BCLP).
Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do.
My name is Selena Foster, I’m 34 and full time mother to my 4 children Tyler 10, Isaac 5 Cameron 3 and Lorena 2. Lorena was born with a bilateral cleft lip and palate. (BCLP)
I am a very active volunteer for the Cleft Lip & Palate Association charity (CLAPA). I have been a volunteer for them for 2 years, and as part of my volunteering I have taken on various roles and training including fundraiser, parent contact, Happy Faces Coordinator and I am also the Co-Chair of the newly formed West Midlands branch of CLAPA.
Tell us a bit about Lorena’s Fundraising.
I set up Lorena’s fundraising to raise money for CLAPA, and so far we’ve raised just over £2500 in 2 years with various events.
Why did you decide to get involved as a fundraiser for the Cleft Lip & Palate Association?
I became involved with CLAPA to give something back for all the amount of support they gave me when I found out at a scan I had when I was 22 weeks pregnant that she was to be born with a cleft lip and possible palate. I didn’t know where to turn and I wasn’t given much information when I was given the diagnosis.
What is the most rewarding thing for you about getting involved with the Cleft Lip & Palate Association?
I love volunteering as I meet so many new people from all backgrounds and I love being able to offer support to new parents/grandparents and other family members from diagnosis to baby’s first operation and beyond.
What is the most memorable event or fundraising event that you have done so far for the Cleft Lip & Palate Association?
I love doing fundraisers and anything else I can to raise money for CLAPA and the most successful thing I did was making calendars using photos supplied by the CLAPA community; through this we raised over £600 last year. It may not sound a lot but that’s 60 new baby bottle packs for parents who need special feeding equipment.
Lisa Ventura, Founder of “Frankie’s Legacy” with her 2014 calendar made by Selena Foster which included Frankie for November 2014.
A typical day for me is generally mummy duties taking the kids to nursery and school and then coming home to tidy the bomb site trail they leave behind them. I usually check and reply to emails and researching ideas for fundraising events. I also chase any emails to do with the branch.
After collecting the 2 little ones from nursery we go to the park or local soft play, friends or home to play. Then after collecting the other 2 from school its play, homework, dinner, bath and bed. Then its feet up for me and a catch to catch up with the soaps.
What do you feel is your biggest achievement?
My biggest achievement by far is having my children despite being diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) when I was 18.
What’s in your handbag?
Hmmm what’s in my handbag?? To be honest I don’t have one. I’m more of a tomboy! I carry a changing bag when out with my kids if that counts.
What is your main ambition in life?
My ambition in life is to be the best person I can be and be true to myself. My dream however is to take my kids to Disneyland Orlando.
I see myself back in work in customer services or even with a charity helping others doing what I do best. My kids will all be in school and I want to give them a positive role model.
Finally, happiness is….
For me happiness isn’t about money or possessions it’s about having all the right and special people in your life around you and keeping the negative ones out.
What advice would you give to someone starting out as a fundraiser/volunteer for a charity?
I would advise anyone thinking of becoming a fundraiser or volunteer to just do it. It is so rewarding and the support you get is amazing.
Feel free to contact me about anything on firstname.lastname@example.org, or find me on Facebook (search Selena Foster CLAPA).
CLAPA west midlands branch Clapawestmids@yahoo.com.