When Emmy-award winning talk show host Steve Harvey invited his television audience to help select the 2015 Mom of the Year, top honors went to Jaci Hasemeyer, who lives in Riverside County. Hasemeyer walked away with $10,000 and a four night-vacation in Curacao.
Jaci and her husband, Eric, have helped more than 50 children get adopted over the years and have themselves adopted 10 children. The Hasemeyers already had three biological children in 1996 when they applied to become Riverside County foster parents through the Department of Public Social Services (DPSS).
“Our philosophy has always been that if a child is not returned to a family or moved elsewhere by the court, then our home would be their final stop, their ‘forever home,’” said Hasemeyer, who plans to give part of her award money to a summer camp for foster children.
DPSS Assistant Director Jennie L. Pettet said “it is an honor to work with dedicated foster parents who understand the importance of attachment and a sense of belongingness to our children. The Hasemeyer family and their dedication to our children represents the best in our community.”
The family has also organized the Walk Your Talk Walk, a fundraising event to increase awareness about foster children. In the first year the walk raised $1,500, but more recently has garnered support from churches throughout Southern California, pushing the effort to nearly $100,000.
“Our kids have added so much to our family, and the simplest message is that everyone can make a difference in the life of a child,” Hasemeyer said.
Three other moms who had been nominated for the top honor were awarded a surprise gift of $5,000 each on the show.
You can watch the selection online at http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=YUTq4ThcpWE&feature=youtu.be