Child Advocacy, a Lifelong Personal Mission

Posted on November 1st, 2019

Board Spotlight, Tom Sprague

When Child Advocates Board Member Tom Sprague was 11 years old, his mom and dad made a decision that would forever change his life – they became foster parents. With just a younger sister at the time, Tom wasn’t sure what to make of this drastic change to his seemingly typical family, but he quickly embraced the new normal as Rosie and Jimmy joined his home at the ages of one and a half and three years old.

Over the years, Tom recalls witnessing what many children in the child welfare system go through as Jimmy and Rosie would leave his home often to go on supervised visits with their biological parents.

“My parents always wanted what was best for Jimmy and Rosie,” says Tom. “As difficult as it was, they understood it was important for them to have a connection with their biological parents, even if in the end they wouldn’t be reunified.”

Over the course of nearly a decade, Tom’s foster siblings remained in the Sprague home before they were officially adopted. For Tom, growing up with foster siblings shaped him from a young age.

“Having foster siblings helped me change my presumptions about people,” Tom says. “Each person’s experiences could be profoundly different than yours.”

Eventually, the life experience pointed him on his path to becoming a Child Advocates board member, which happened in July of 2019 when former board member, and Tom’s supervisor, Moises Lopez approached him about the opportunity.

“When Moises told me about Child Advocates and the work that was being done at this organization, I knew I had to get involved,” says Tom. “I had served on boards of nonprofits that did great work, but I am particularly passionate about child welfare so I was certain it would be a perfect fit and opportunity for me to make an impact.”

Over the last three months, Tom has been doing just that by getting involved whenever and however he can. As a board member, his responsibilities include organizational decision making, advocacy and fundraising. But for Tom, the role is so much more, especially now as a father of young children.

“When I hold my baby, I can’t help but to think that there has to be more we can do for the most vulnerable children in our community, and I want to be part of that solution.”

Tom is a business relationship manager at PNC bank and lives in Franklin, Indiana with his wife Erin and their children, River (3) and Matilda (1). He is a graduate of the IU Kelly School of Business at IUPUI and is working toward earning his MBA from Western Governors University. Tom and his family love to be outdoors. You can find them hiking, biking, camping and traveling whenever they have the chance.