Despite a less-than-perfect start to life, Lutheran Children and Family Services former foster child Susan Love has blossomed into an empowering teacher, passionate speaker and celebrated children’s author. Ms. Love is now committed to giving back to the global foster care community that embraced her with open arms.
Ms. Love was born in Philadelphia in 1969. She was rescued from a fire at age five and placed in foster care for the remainder of her youth. She describes her childhood as devastating, but there always a small sparkle in the youngster’s life. She credits a LCFS social worker named Donna Waitz, now known as Donna Cohn, with helping her on a path to success.
“She gave me hope and encouragement,” Ms. Love said. “And that was all I really needed to keep pushing on. She treated me with so much respect and gave me a higher vision of my situation. I knew I could do something exceptional in life if I could find a way to believe in myself the way she did.”
“My relationship with Susan Love today is a reminder of the power of human relationships and the enduring nature of our experiences,” said Donna Cohn. “She has taken her experiences and has grown from them, continuing what was positive, as with her education, and choosing not to repeat the mistakes and failings of those she observed.”
Ms. Love found comfort in music and played the violin from elementary school through high school. She was also a gymnast and by her late teens she mastered the sport of water skiing. She graduated among the top of her class from William Tennant High School in Warminster.
In 1992, Ms. Love was accepted into Cedar Crest College in Allentown, where she studied education, psychology, art and philosophy. Upon completing her degree, Ms. Love became an intern juvenile probation officer and was also employed with Human Services as a developmental specialist and later served as a supervisor for the afterschool childcare program at the YMCA in Allentown. Ms Love earned a Master’s Degree in education from Arcadia University and was subsequently hired by the School District of Philadelphia where she worked as an elementary and middle school teacher for 15 years.
Although Ms. Love has enjoyed a varied and successful career, she says she received the most gratification from teaching, which prompted her to write an animated children’s eBook, Ms. Love’s Mystical Island Adventure. She says she was inspired by island stories her students wrote that included their teacher as one of the characters. Ms. Love is proof that a child in foster care is capable of success. Synopsis of ‘Ms. Love’s Mystical Island Adventure’:
Sabrina, Arthur, Miguel, and Lucy arrive on Ms. Love’s Mystical Island bursting with excitement. The young explorers have been chosen to witness the flowering of a rare and magical orchid, which blooms once every century with an explosion of light and energy—mysteriously repairing Earth’s ozone layer. But Ms. Love greets the children with devastating news: The scientists hoping to study the orchid’s secret power are not coming, and a massive hurricane is headed their way. If the destructive storm strikes the island while the fragile orchid is in bloom, this extraordinary plant will be wiped out forever. There is only one hope—the Magic Power Flower—a flower-shaped crystal that once magically protected the island from danger. Although Sunflower, Ms. Love’s mother, possesses the flower’s centerpiece, the other hidden pieces must be found—and found quickly—if the island and its precious orchid are to be saved. As the hurricane rapidly approaches, the children and Ms. Love race against time to complete seemingly impossible tasks: decode the ancestor’s map, discover and unravel the clues to find the missing pieces, and safely return this supernatural power source to Sunflower—unless Ms. Love’s jealous, power-hungry Rivals find and steal the sacred flower first.
“Being in foster care is painful for any child and my survival adventure story will allow them to share quality time with their foster parents and integrate better than they ever expected,” explains Love. “I have been in their situation and my personality and compassion oozes throughout the book in a way that will resonate with any child in placement.”
For more information about the uplifting ‘Ms. Love’s Mystical Island Adventure’, visit: http://mslovesmysticalisland.com.
Lutheran Children and Family Service is a non-profit social service organization that offers a broad scope of community-based services to a diverse clientele of children, families and seniors throughout Eastern and Central Pennsylvania. LCFS’ programs include foster care, adoption, family preservation/reunification, Best-out-of-school-time (BOOST) and high school WorkReady, the West Philadelphia Senior Community Center, refugee resettlement and employment services, immigration legal services and refugee mental health programming. By collaborating with a wide network of individuals and agency supporters, LCFS has become the largest refugee resettlement provider in Pennsylvania with office locations in Philadelphia, Lancaster and Allentown. LCFS is a division of Liberty Lutheran; a multi-service organization based in Ambler, PA. For more information, www.lcfsinpa.org