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Walking for Youth, Southwest Airlines Salutes Jimmy Wayne and Project Meet Me Halfway

Ana
Employee
Employee

January 1, 2010.   Do you remember where you were?   Maybe making those infamous resolutions, cooking black eyed peas, or watching football with the family!    Whatever you were doing that day, you most likely enjoyed the first day of the new year from a warm home somewhere across the country. Sadly, while most of us celebrated and looked ahead to all that the new year had to offer, thousands of homeless teens were just trying to figure out where they would sleep that night.  Country Singer, Jimmy Wayne, knows both sides of the story.

Although he has enjoyed a successful music career including his first number one song “Do You Believe Me Now?”, Jimmy spent his early years as a homeless teen living on the streets of North Carolina.  As he reflected on his troubled teen years, in late 2009 Jimmy was inspired to set out on a mission that would rise above all his musical accomplishments.   With the goal to raise awareness of homeless children and teens, especially those who age out of the foster care system, Jimmy kicked off Project Meet Me Halfway on January 1, 2010.  From the parking lot of Nashville-based Monroe Harding Children’s Home, Jimmy took his first step on his journey to walk halfway across America to spread the word of this mission that he knows all too well.

With every step, Jimmy couldn’t help but think about what his life would be like now if he had “aged out” of foster care back in 1990.  "Aging out" refers to what happens when youth reach a certain age (age 18 in most states) and are no longer eligible for support from the foster care system. Without foster care funding, many youth lose their place to live, health care coverage, connections to supportive adults, and are ill-prepared to support themselves in the adult world. Many youth end up like Jimmy — homeless on the streets.   Fortunately for Jimmy, after being shuttled to a series of foster homes, he met Russell and Beatrice Carter.  It was then, at age 16, that Jimmy’s life began to change.   He finally had what every child deserves, a family.   It was that connection to family and stability that changed Jimmy’s life.

On August 1, 2010, exactly seven months and 1700 miles later, Jimmy took his final step when he arrived at Phoenix-based HomeBase Youth Services, another organization that serves the needs of foster children who have aged out of the foster care system and find themselves homeless.   Along his journey, Jimmy inspired countless people who learned of his mission.  From people who have earned certification to be foster parents, to families who now serve dinners at their local shelter, to new supporters who donated money along the way: they are all making a difference in the lives of homeless teens. 

 

Jimmy, you are an amazing person!    What a wonderful gift you have given by raising awareness of this serious issue that is so close to your heart.   Southwest Airlines was proud to be able to support Project Meet Me Half Way by flying you (and your new dog, Ruby) halfway back across America to your home in Nashville.   Thank you deeply for everything you are doing to improve the lives of homeless teens across this country.

Of Southwest's help, Jimmy writes:  Thank you for the support. The free ticket was certainly a surprise. The walk from Nashville to Phoenix was a once in a lifetime experience but a memory that will last forever. I'm thankful you and Southwest airlines is a part of that amazing journey. I've been a loyal fan of Southwest airlines but now I'm an advocate.  

We are your fans, Jimmy!  To learn more about Project Meet Me Halfway, visit www.projectmmh.org.

12 Comments
Curtis_J_Green_
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YOU are THE MAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So proud that you made it and Why!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Mindy1
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I love this story! An absolutely amazing journey and kudos to SWA for helping out in such a big way. Way to go!
Connie_Lee
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Beautiful article!!! Thank you so very much Southwest Airlines for your support for Jimmy Wayne and his Project Meet Me Halfway Walk & Campaign for homeless Foster youth! I am so impressed by your spirit of caring that in honor of Jimmy Wayne and MMH, I intend to fly Southwest Airlines whenever I have the opportunity. Thanks again!!!
Sheryl1
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Thank you Southwest Airlines for recognizing Jimmy and his great cause! Thank you also for flying him home free after the walk ended!! We love you Jimmy and Southwest Airlines!
Anonymous2828
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THANK U SO MUCH FOR THE SUPPORT TO JIMMY WAYNES PROJECT MEET ME HALF WAY U ALSO GAVE HIM HIS TICKET TO GO BACK HOME THAT IS AMAING
Anonymous4557
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Southwest - Thanks for the article and supporting Jimmy Wayne - I just booked my next flight on Southwest!
starweaver
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Thank you for Supporting Jimmy as he accomplished something much bigger than himself. All of us who supported him along the way will not forget this. I fly southwest regularly anyway but I'll do so much prouder for all the help you gave him!
Cheryl_Gillman
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There are no words to explain my admiration for Jimmy Wayne and his mission to raise awareness for homeless and "At Risk" youth in our country. He opened my eyes to this horrendous issue. I hadn't a clue as to the level of devastation that these kids endure, and I'm embarrassed to say how ignorant I was when it came to "aging out" and the lack of resources for the youth when they are emancipated. My heart aches for these kids ... how dare we let this happen to the very people who are the future of our country. As adults, we have truly failed these children; we should take care of them at all costs, regardless of who or where they came from. It's time for everyone to step up to the plate and help to do something to dissolve this issue. Thank you Jimmy Wayne, for kicking us in the butt and making us realize the magnitude of this ugly problem. I adore your passion, determination and drive ... you are our hero ... the youth's hero ... YOU are our Angel. Walk on my friend, and we will follow ... Cheryl Gillman, Apache Junction, AZ
Cheryl_Gillman
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Thank you Southwest, for posting this amazing article in support of Jimmy Wayne and Project Meet Me Halfway ...
Cathy_Anne
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Wow! Thank you big business for taking notice of Jimmy Wayne's journey, supporting him, and sharing his mission with your consumers. It's just this kind act and public forum that will help people become aware of the problem Jimmy is trying to bring into the open. Thank you again. P.s. typo...it was Bea and Russell Costner.;)
Devvi
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Wow! Thank you southwest! Thank you for flying Jimmy and Ruby and Jimmy's beloved guitar across the united States safely, Jimmy Wayne has opened my eyes to the fostercare system also , I too had no idea of what magnatude these poor teens are being neglected. I too was so moved, by his words have become a better person for it! Jimmy Wayne is a True American Hero! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for supporting Jimmy Wayne and his Meet Me Halfway project.
Sunshine1
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Thank you Southwest Airlines for this wonderful article and for taking such good care of Jimmy and Ruby as they made their journey back home! I have followed Jimmy's music career and his passion to bring awareness to the less fortunate child/youth of our nation since 3/2003. He has not changed except for the fact that he is more determined than ever. I admire his persistence in this effort. He is an awesome inspiration!