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Chicago community organization serves as real-life example of healing power of foster care

Chicago community organization serves as real-life example of healing power of foster care
Chicago community organization serves as real-life example of healing power of foster care 03:04

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A West Side community organization was born from the unimaginable struggle of a teen, and later in life the dying wish of his daughter.

"My father was a drug addict. All he did was do drugs!" said Robert Robinson, vice president of the Fuel Movement Community Center.

Robinson said he had no hope growing up.

"My mother was physically and mentally handicapped. She was a sex offender. She molested a lot of kids, so she couldn't be around me," he said.

By the age of 13, Robinson had lived in 30 different foster homes.

"It was sometimes where I was abused in a foster home, and I busted a window to escape, because they locked me in a room," he said.

He was homeless and filled with despair.

"I'd been molested by my father's stepson, and he stopped talking to me," Robinson said. "I tried to kill myself 10 times."

When he was 13 years-old, Robinson's life would change. Pastor Darrell Glover had just completed a course to be a foster parent, when he learned about Robinson.

"During that time, they told me there was no hope for this young man and I looked at the agency and I said, 'There's hope, we won't label him. There's hope,'" Glover said.

What was it he saw in Robinson?

"I saw a young man that had been hurt, a young man that had been labeled, but yet through it all I saw a heart; a young man that had a heart. A young man that wanted to be loved and cared for," Glover said.

"When I met my father, it brought me into a different way of thinking, whereas I can be something. It won't be just, I'm nothing because of where I'm from or my background because I didn't believe in anything," Robinson said.

Through this father-and-son bond, Fuel Movement Community Center in North Lawndale was born.

Glover, of Prayer Changes Things Ministries, started the non-profit with the goal of empowering families in his community and beyond to be role models for their children, and to teach them the importance of being a foster parent.

Glover has community events to create unity in North Lawndale, and to talk about the importance of foster care. He does this through movie nights and community cleanup events, and his Lunch on Us events.

Meantime, Robinson also became the father of twin girls.

The creation of this non-profit in North Lawndale also fulfilled a promise to Robinson's 15-year-old daughter, Angel. She had a rare form of cancer. She died on Aug. 24, and on her deathbed she had one final wish.

"Never give up," Angel said in message recorded just hours before she took her last breath. "Because, no matter what they say, no matter what they do, you are capable of anything."

"My daughter wanted people not to stop fighting and give up.  I want the same thing. I want her message to be: continue to push, and know no matter what you're going through, things can change for you," Robinson said.

Robinson and Glover said Angel's message will be their mission, by empowering families through Fuel Movement Community Center for years to come.

What's next for the organization? They're giving away new California king mattresses to anyone in need on Saturday, Nov. 25, at their office at 4244 W. Cermak Rd. at noon.  The organization is also starting a fundraiser to buy two passenger vans to take seniors and young people on field trips.

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