Two boys, ages 10 and 12, were struggling. Their mother had an addiction, and abusive people were in their home.
To escape, and sometimes to find something to eat, they wandered their Portland, Oregon, neighborhood and found an empty shed to stay the night. It was 1996, and the shed belonged to a young newlywed couple Celeste and Jeff Bodner.
When child protective services removed the boys from their mother, the brothers identified the Bodners as the most reliable adults in their lives. Celeste and Jeff were asked to become foster parents.
Celeste immediately found it odd that while the boys received almost no information about foster care, she and Jeff were supported with training, resources, and connected to a network of experienced foster parents.
The boys’ lives were in upheaval. When one of the boys suffered from anger and depression and struggled with traditional therapy, Celeste looked for a peer support network for him. She couldn’t find one.
And FosterClub was Born.
Meet Celeste Bodner, Founder
Celeste founded FosterClub in 2000 as an exercise in social entrepreneurship, after recognizing that the two boys who had entered their home would benefit from a peer network and youth-friendly information about the foster care system they were experiencing. Bodner leveraged communication strategies and new technologies to engage and activate the underrepresented population of young people in foster care. Prior to FosterClub, Celeste had 13 years of senior level marketing and communications experience with clients including Nike, Pottery Barn and the Transportation Security Administration. Celeste and her family reside in Seaside, Oregon.
Celeste acknowledges her own family privilege and the role it played in her ability to start, maintain, and grow FosterClub. Meagan Tuhy Wendt, Celeste's younger sister, was a founding Board member and has significantly contributed to building the framework and promoting growth of FosterClub. Jeff Bodner, Celeste's husband, has been a perpetual volunteer and supporter of the organization, particularly when it's come to construction projects and moving heavy things. Celeste's mom, known by many past AllStar interns as "Mama D", was the illustrator for FosterCub (a children's coloring book about foster care) and has providing lodging, excellent meals, and transportation for Lived Experience Leaders over the years. Celeste's extended family has provided plenty of free advice, financial support, and encouragement since the start.
2010 - current
2006 - 2010
About the Pinwheel
FosterClub adopted the pinwheel as its emblem in 2006. The pinwheel was selected because it connotes playfulness, joy, and childhood. It serves as an optimistic reminder that every young person deserves a great childhood.
FosterClub was pleased to see that our friends at Prevent Child Abuse America appreciated the symbolism and introduced the pinwheel in 2008 as the national symbol for their aligned cause.
Why yellow? The color was an intentional choice, as it represents optimism and resilience. In building a brand identity, FosterClub was determined from the start to represent young people in foster care — not with tears and sad kid images — but with joy and hopefulness. Yellow also signals that there are sunny days ahead.
The photo at right was taken during the 2007 AllStar Internship and features one of our interns at the time, Crystal Lipek, who was age 19 at the time and spent 8 years in Wisconsin's foster care system. In 2011, Crystal joined FosterClub's Board of Directors.
- FosterClub incorporates and gains 501(c)3 status from the Internal Revenue Service.
- The first FosterClub.com is built at Celeste's kitchen table as an experiment.
In memory of Gary Baszler
In a sad turn of events, Gary, one of the boys that the Bodner's took in, passed away at age 31.
Gary, fondly nicknamed Gee-Gee, had a big heart, generous smile, and loved stories and long conversations. Gary and his brother entered the Bodner family through foster care, eventually becoming an important part of welcoming new siblings Seth, Lucy, and Chris.
Gary graduated from Seaside High School and attended Clatsop Community College. He loved good jokes and making people laugh. Gary liked to learn how cars and electronics work. As a kid, he built model cars and, despite challenges, Gary got his driver’s license and saved up enough money for his own car. Into adulthood, Gary had dreams of becoming a truck driver.
The trauma and difficulty that Gary experienced as a child followed him into adulthood, as he struggled with mental health and addiction. While Gary struggled to make his way through life, he added so much to the lives of family and friends. When Gary was found, victim of an apparent accidental overdose, found among his possession were two model cars.