There is one proverb that Ms. Jennifer wholeheartedly believes in: “It takes a village.” It takes a village to raise a child, and it takes a village to uplift a community. And Jennifer Foster is committed to being one of the motherly figures in her “village”- the neighborhood of Avondale.
Ms. Jennifer grew up in downtown Cincinnati before moving to Winton Terrace when she was 13. Much of her commitment to serving as a motherly figure is influenced by her own mother, who adopted seven children when Ms. Jennifer was growing up.
“We have a lot of young people who don’t have anyone,” she noted with a clear sense of passion in her voice, “We have to step up and be that motherly figure for them.”
A former full contact football player, construction and carpentry worker, Ms. Jennifer still works hard, just in a different way. Now she works as a community health champion, Doula, volunteer with Healthy Moms and Babies and the Urban League, Avondale Community Council Board Member…just to name a few.
In addition to her numerous roles in the community, we are fortunate enough to have Ms. Jennifer as a Cohear Bridgebuilder, helping us connect decision makers to the right everyday experts, and as a member of the Metro Bus Advisory Board.
“Cohear’s mission is well overdue,” said Ms. Jennifer. “To get the main decision maker to the table to hear what people actually want is powerful. They’re not assuming…they are hearing real stories and concerns.”
It’s hard to imagine Avondale without Ms. Jennifer, but she wasn’t always as involved as she is now.
She decided to dedicate more time to making Avondale a better place for everyone, especially mothers and children, after she was a victim of a shooting as an innocent bystander.
“I decided I need to do more about it than just saying something about it. I didn’t want to leave. I decided to stay right here in Avondale so I could change things.”
And there is no doubt that Ms. Jennifer has been a force for change. From supporting mothers by providing them with books and diapers for their babies to partnering with ArtWorks to highlight Avondale’s history in their newest mural painting, Ms. Jennifer is making waves in her community.
“In short, you can say I’m a community activist now,” she said. “My role is to show women that we are a family in Avondale.”
As a lifelong bus rider, she has also enjoyed her time on the Bus Rider Advisory Board and is excited to hear of the many changes that are already being implemented to benefit others who also rely on the bus. “Being a bus rider for so long and telling [the CEO] about my experience has been such a blessing.”
She encourages everyone to attend a Cohear conversation if they have the chance: “If you’re not in the meeting before the meeting, you’re missing out,” she said with characteristic wisdom.
The Cohear community is infinitely richer because of Ms. Jennifer’s dedication for the people around her. Our neighborhoods, city, and world would look a lot brighter if we have a million more people with Ms. Jennifer’s passion for others, and we are grateful to know her and to celebrate her work in Avondale and across Cincinnati.
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