Country Singer Inspires Youth Villages Employees

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(Memphis) Youth advocates from around the country are in Memphis this week for training and team building.

About 1,500 employees of Youth Villages are taking part in the organization's annual employee conference.

This year, they are getting some help from a country star and former foster kid who is dedicating his life to helping at-risk teens.

Youth Villages serves around 20,000 families each year from 20 states and the District of Columbia.

The organization offers a variety of services, including foster care, adoption, in-home counseling, mentoring, residential and transitional living services.

The keynote speaker of the 'One Team One Dream" employee conference was country singer Jimmy Wayne.

In 2010, Wayne walked halfway across America to raise awareness about young people who age out of the foster care system and end up homeless.

This year, he convinced Tennessee Lawmakers to permanently extend foster care to the age of 21.

He said it's already making a difference in the life of foster kids.

"I just got a letter that said 250 people enrolled into college as a result of this passing. What this does is it allows the kids to transition out of foster care into adulthood. Otherwise,  if they age out they are depending on friends, whoever they can find to help them, and if they don’t have these kind of resources they could end up homeless, dead, in jail," said Wayne.

Wayne visited Youth Villages during his 'Meet Me Halfway Walk' across the country.

Today, he thanked the people in the trenches for helping children.

"They help a lot of kids. 1,700 youths last year that aged out they helped. I was just amazed by what they do. So I’m all about it," said Wayne.

To learn more about Youth Villages, click here and to learn more about Project Meet Me Halfway, click here.

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