The article below is about one of our favorite country artists. We’ve seen Jimmy Wayne on stage; we enjoy his music, we watched him begin and complete his Walk Halfway Across America; and we’ve read his best-selling book. We send a big thank you out to Marushka Media for allowing us to reprint the article below. We know all of our readers will enjoy it. Please visit Marushka Media Facebook page, and remember to “Like” it while you are there. You can also follow them on Twitter @marushkamedia.
Aug. 1, 2010, six years ago this week, Jimmy Wayne finished his 1,700-mile Meet Me Halfway walk in Phoenix, AZ, on a broken
right foot. The North Carolina native took the first steps of that seven-month walk from the parking lot of Monroe Harding in Nashville on January 1, 2010, with the sole goal of raising awareness for at-risk foster children and homeless youth.
“I grew up in foster care and I know first hand how important it is that kids in the system have access to even minimum resources,” says Jimmy. “I was taken in by Bea and Russell Costner when I was 16 but so many kids out there don’t have access to the help and love that I did.”
“One of the most important things each state can do to help foster kids right now is to extend and implement foster care benefits to the age of 21. The facts point to why it’s so important,”
- 1 of 4 young men become incarcerated within the first two years after aging out of foster care at 18.
- It costs a minimum of $30,000 per year to house an inmate.
- The tuition for a two-year program at a community college is $3,000.
- 50 percent of the young women who age out of foster care at 18 become pregnant within the first year.
(Source: National Federation of Families: www.ffcmh.org)
“By extending foster care to age 21, we give foster youth the opportunity to attend a community college and transition into adulthood, becoming productive citizens and saving taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars,”
When Jimmy started his walk, he had celebrated six Top 20 singles, released his second full-length album, ‘Do You Believe Me Now’ (2008/Valory Music), and had just finished a tour with Brad Paisley (2009) that put him on stages that included Madison Square Garden.
“I’d just come home from the road. I remember it was December 3rd and I was standing at the thermostat stirring my coffee. I leaned over and nudged the thermostat a couple of degrees. When I heard the sound of the furnace kick on, an overwhelming feeling of guilt consumed me. It reminded me of a promise I’d made when I was 14 years old and in the group home: ‘when I make it, I’m not going to forget where I’ve come from.’ I made a promise that I’d come back and help my foster brothers and sisters, but I hadn’t done anything yet — at least not on a grand scale. So on January 1st, 2010 I started walking halfway across America.”
It took seven months to walk from Nashville to Phoenix, and over that time he honored every performance commitment his booking agency confirmed for him. He also met a few challenges along the way that included breaking his foot just days before he crossed the finish line and finding out, by email, that he’d been dropped from his record label. None of that stopped him though because, as he says, “it was always about the kids.”
After the walk, he immediately started campaigning to get a bill passed that would extend foster care to age 21 in the state of Tennessee, just like he’d done in California during his walk.
Jimmy’s next step was authoring his inspiring memoir, Walk to Beautiful: The Power of Love and a Homeless Kid Who Found the Way, with 17-time New York Times bestselling author, Ken Abraham. The book — Jimmy’s second — released in October of 2014 and was quickly followed by the passing of a bill in North Carolina to extend the age of foster care to 21.
“There’s still so much to do,” he says, as he continues to raise awareness for abused and neglected children through performing, writing and speaking. Jimmy is currently working on his third book to be announced in coming months.
Jimmy Wayne Bio:
Jimmy Wayne is a former foster kid turned award-winning country music artist whose songs and story highlight his mission to raise awareness for kids in foster care. Jimmy’s hits include “Stay Gone,” “Paper Angels,” “Do You Believe Me Now” — which earned BMI’s prestigious Million-Air Award for receiving one million radio spins in America — and “I Love You This Much.” In 2009, Jimmy toured with Brad Paisley and recorded “Sara Smile” with rock ‘n roll Hall of Fame duo Daryl Hall and John Oates.
In 2010, Jimmy walked halfway across America (from Nashville to Phoenix) to raise awareness for kids aging out of the foster-care system. In 2011, Jimmy released the novel Paper Angels which became a made-for-TV movie of the same title. In 2012, Jimmy helped get legislative bills passed extending the age of foster care to 21 in both California and Tennessee, and in 2015, he did the same in his home state of North Carolina.
In 2014, he released Walk to Beautiful, a three-time memoir. In June of this year, it crossed the 100,000 print sales milestone.
A supporter of Jimmy’s tireless work is Coca-Cola. When the global brand heard about its role in Jimmy’s story, it commissioned 7,000 displays in grocery stores around America featuring Walk to Beautiful along with its classic Christmas Coca-Cola bottles. This was the first promotion of its kind in Coca-Cola history. In addition, Jimmy’s song “I Love You This Much” is also currently part of Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke and a Song” campaign that features lyrics on bottles and cans of Coca-Cola nationwide.
Jimmy lives in Nashville and continues to raise awareness for abused and neglected children through performing, writing, speaking and by establishing Project Meet Me Halfway, a resource to those wanting to volunteer as mentors, become foster parents. His ultimate goal is to build transitional homes for youth who age out of foster care without a place to go.
Again, we thank Marushka Media for sharing the article with us, so we could share it with all of you. In addition to Jimmy’s website, visit his Facebook page, and be sure to “Like” it while you are there. Have a look at the great things he posts on Instagram, too. And, you can follow him on Twitter @JimmyWayne. If you aren’t already following Country’s Chattet on Twitter, we’d love to have you. You will find us @countryschatter.http://www.countryschatter.com/2016/08/jimmy-wayne-completed-walk-halfway-across-america-six-years-ago-today/BookNewscoca cola,Daryl Hall and John Oates,Jimmy Wayne,Marushka Media,Monroe Harding,New York Times Bestselling,paper angels,Valory Music,Walk to Beautiful