In The Studio with Calamity Jane is a show highlighting the incredible women of Las Vegas!
This episode features Gaby Foster, from Jalen's Gift Foundation.
After the loss of her son Jalen who was born too soon, and finding very little support from the community, she decided to create that support system to help other mothers who suffer the loss of a child during pregnancy, or within the first year of life.
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Hello, welcome to another episode of In The Studio With Calamity Jane. My name is Jodi, also known as Calamity Jane.
Our purpose with this series is to highlight amazing women in our community, and give them the spotlight for a moment.
Joining me today is Gaby Foster, from Jalen's Gift Foundation. Welcome to the show Gaby.
[Gaby]: Thank you, thank you for having me today.
Tell us a little bit about Jalen's Gift Foundation.
Jalen's Gift Foundation is a non-profit organization based in Las Vegas, Nevada. They host families after the loss of a baby and this can be during an early miscarriage up to the first year of loss. And we pretty much provide services such as financial assistance towards burial cost.
We also go into the hospitals and provide photography to capture the first and last moments of a babies life. We also provide the hospitals little care packages so when the Mom walks into the hospital, they have memories, little memory box of keepsakes.
We also provide the grief support aspect so they know that they're not alone.
How did you come to start Jalen's Gift?
I started the foundation after the loss of my son Jalen, he was our third child, and our first boy. And no parent ever has a plan B, no one ever tells you what do you do after you lose a baby. And no one ever expects to lose a baby.
So one day we walked into the hospital pregnant, and walked out empty-handed. And we were so surprised to find out the lack of resources in the community.
So my husband and I decided to become that number and that place the families can come and go. I literally Googled how to start a non-profit organization and we just wanted to provide a safe place for Moms to come after the loss of a baby.
[Jodi]: That's beautiful and it's such important work that you're doing.
[Gaby]: (sniffles) Sorry.
[Jodi]: That's okay. Do you want to take a minute?
[Gaby]: No, its just that it's good talking about him. Sometimes I forget. Like, I forget that, I lost a baby. Because I'm always so focused on helping so many other families that I forget that, that I was there. So, thank you.
What do you feel makes you successful?
What makes me successful with the foundation is the drive and the compassion of helping others because I have been there, I have been that Mom, that has been helpless, and to know that another family can feel that way is what drives me.
And when we get that thank you, when we get that sincere thank you and that hug when they tell us "thank you for being there, thank you for that memory box, thank you for helping us with that urn, thank you for the support",
Just a sincere thank you lets us know that we are making a difference.
What one piece of advice would you give to somebody who is watching this that may want to start an organization based on something that they are passionate about?
My advice is for them to just do it. It's scary but if you have that burning desire, just go ahead and do it. For me, I literally Googled how to start a non-profit organization.
Now I know that there's many businesses out there that can help you, and can help you with that guidance and that paperwork. Because a non-profit is a business. There's a lot that has to go, with paperwork wise, so I recommend that you just do it.
Follow your heart. Follow your passion and just go for it.
And now, the famous questionnaire that was asked for 26 years by the great Bernard Pivot and made famous on In The Actors Studio:
What is your favorite word?
Compassion. Compassion is what drives me, compassion is what creates love for me, so my favorite word to hear is "compassion".
[Jodi]: I love that.
What is your least favorite word?
Bitch. That is definitely one word that I do not like to hear. It's really demeaning to women and its just mean. So I don't like that word at all.
What turns you on creatively, emotionally, or spiritually?
Helping others. I live for making a difference in someone's life. So, it fulfills me emotionally and spiritually and it does allow me to be creative as well, because it allows me to find different ways to help people.
Not everyone is receptive the same way. So some people react differently, so I have learned to find creative ways to reach everyone in their own unique way.
[Jodi]: That's a real talent by the way.
[Gaby]: Oh, thank you! I'm talented.
[Jodi]: You are!
What turns you off?
When people don't want to help themselves. Sometimes you just wonder about the ones that complain and complain and complain but if you don't want to make a change, and if you don't start that change, nothing is going to happen. So it turns me off that you're just stuck there. If you're willing to get help, people will help you.
What is your favorite curse word?
Oh, I love to say "fuck". I mean, just whoever made up that word is amazing, because its a great way to get everything out, just "fuck!" It's my favorite word.
What sound or noise do you love?
I love the sound of water. It is just relaxing, it makes me feel like I'm with nature. So just the sound of water and rain, I love it.
What sound or noise do you hate?
The sound of someone scraping their nails against that chalkboard and just "eerrrk" all the way down. Yeah, it like gives me chills down my spine.
What profession, other than your own, would you like to attempt?
Well, I am a very driven person. So I have become a speech therapist and now I'm working towards becoming a clinical social worker.
So I think, in my future, I would like to maybe be a doctor. I would love to be like a brain surgeon or something, that's something that I would love to do. I'm so infatuated with the brain. So I think like a brain surgeon. Who knows?
[Jodi]: It sounds like you could do pretty much anything.
[Gaby]: You know if you put your mind to it, you can.
What profession would you not like to do, like ever?
I would not like to be a pooper scooper. It's just I don't have the patience for it. It seems like it's tedious, but I mean, if someone has to do it, which I respect the profession, but it was not just for me, I can't just walk around and do it. So I could never be a pooper scooper.
If Heaven exists what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
I can just visualize that moment, but I would love for God to say, "Here's your son".
You know when you lose a child, you have that hope that you will be able to be connected again and reconnected and see each other. And I can't wait for that moment, when God is like, "Here is your son". And I can just run up to him and hug him and kiss him. So I look forward to that day. I really do.
[Jodi]: What age do you envision Jalen being when that happens?
[Gaby]: For some reason, like two or three. I want him in like a toddler stage. But I don't know. I don't know, I want him to be able to run to me. Because you know, he died as a baby. So I can just see him call me, "Mom", and just hug him.
There's a song that's called "Hug him Once for Me", and it's a Mom singing to God telling God to "Please hug my baby, put him on your lap and tell him that we love you, that we love him too". And that's one of my husband's favorite songs and we always tell God to just "Hug him once for me, and just tell him that we love him". So just for him to be able to just run to me and hug me and call me "Mom".
[Jodi] That's beautiful.
[Gaby]: It's what we look forward to. It's part of the healing.
[Jodi]: Thank you for being with us today, Gaby.
[Gaby]: Thank you for having me. It was a pleasure and honor being here today.
[Jodi]: Thank you for watching. Join us for the next edition of In the Studio with Calamity Jane, where we put another amazing woman from Las Vegas in the spotlight.
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Jodi from Calamity Jane Photography Studio is a proud volunteer for Jalen's Gift Foundation. I provide remembrance photography for those parents who would like to capture the first and last moments of their baby's life.
Jalen's Gift Foundation contact information:
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