50 People To Know: Michelle Allen On The Joy Of Foster Parenting

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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – Michelle Allen, of the Bronx, believes she was born to be a mother.

“I can think back as a young teenager, my parents saying, ‘Michelle is going to be such a good caretaker,” she tells Sean Adams.

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For a period, she had to raise her two young granddaughters.

“Just to see what they were going through being separated from their mother – devastating,” she says.

Eventually, the girls were reunited with their mother.

Allen, a retired executive secretary, made a decision.

“When I decided to continue, I thought about helping older girls – teenage girls,” she says.

She became a foster parent with the Social Services organization Leake & Watts. She opened her heart and her home.

“Immediately after coming into my home, we began cooking together. I have all sorts of games, I have a fitness center in my home, I have a garden,” she says.

The troubled teens come from broken homes and fractured families. Allen is tender and loving.

“Introducing each and every one of them to my family, friends and church members as my daughter,” she says.

She offers support, comfort, safety and encouragement.

“Believe in yourself. Anything that you want to do, you can accomplish it,” she says.

Allen uses her business world to help secure employment.

“Get your education, come right back here to us. We have a job placement for you,” she says.

New York City has honored Allen for her devotion to the foster care system. She is humbled.

“Just seeing these girls grow and mature – that’s my wealth, that’s my wealth,” she says. “That makes me feel rich.”

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