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Colts Welcome Foster Kids For Graduation Party

Intro: On Monday night, the pavilion at the Indiana Farm Football Center was turned into a graduation party for foster kids around the city of Indianapolis.


INDIANAPOLIS – They had every reason to fail. And yet, with the cards stacked against them in life, each facing gigantic obstacles tossed in their way, they overcame. They succeeded. And on Monday night, they celebrated.

At the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center, a place where no one accomplishes anything alone, a graduation was held for six foster children. The students got to pick the food, design the invitation, and invite 25 people to their own personal party, complete with cake, goodies, and gifts.

Doris Tolliver of the Indiana Department of Child Services says they couldn't do it without partners like CSI Cargo Services, Fostering Connections, and the Colts. "It's one of those things that many people take for granted, that you just have a celebration when your child graduates from high school, or the kids take for granted. But to be able to have a moment like this for our youth is really special."  

These are students who graduated from high school and are going on to college. Students who didn't just survive adversity, they found a way to thrive. Students like Legend Johnson, who graduated from Crawfordsville High School and is headed to Manchester University in the fall.

"It is incredibly overwhelming and I'm so grateful to be a part of it," she said. Just to see…all the people that have been there for me outside of here also be here for me in a celebratory way. It eases the tension and anxiety of transitioning to college."

Josh Bleill knows about anxiety. A Marine who lost both of his legs in Iraq, Bleill now travels the country as community spokesperson for the Colts. His message to the graduates, life won't always be fair. But if you keep your faith and go after what you want, anything can happen.

"It was still an opportunity for me to prove something," Bleill said. "Not to anybody else, but to prove that I still had a passion inside me. A passion inside me to do what I wanted in this world. That this world was still open to anything I want. Just because things were difficult, just because my legs were gone, I still had a drive."

Surrounded by banners of champions and with the Lombardi Trophy gleaming in the corner, it was a memorable and inspiring evening for all, but especially for those honored.

"I grew up with the Colts, and so to be here, it's really appropriate," said Johnson. "It's a coming of age thing."

A coming of age for young people who have already learned one of life's most important lessons – that adversity doesn't last forever. But what you learn from it does. 

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