Weighing two pounds at birth and testing positive for crack, Davon and Tavon Woods, pictured at right in recent photos, were immediately taken out of the hospital and placed into the foster system. Through their journey within the foster system, being mistreated by their adoptive parents and being let down upon finally meeting their biological parents, the twin brothers felt compelled to do something big to make a change.
The brothers are walking 20 miles in every state to advocate and spread awareness for the children in the broken foster system. With 13 states down and 37 left to go, their journey that started in Statesboro is making a big impact and has gained support from all over the country.
Davon and Tavon have seen firsthand the issues within the foster care system. They were placed in the system straight from the hospital as a result of their biological family being found to be unfit to keep them. At a young age, they were adopted and it seemed as though their hardship had come to an end. What more could a child in this situation dream of? However, the brothers were mistreated by their foster family and used. They never received the love and affection that they desired as children.
Unfortunately, this is the case for several children within the foster system. With the lack of families available to foster children and the ever increasing number of children needing homes, the system does not have much of a choice in the families these children are being placed with. With no other solution, rather than finding a more suitable placement for the children, any issues are typically overlooked in an attempt to place the children with a family as quickly as possible. This can lead to children being placed in homes where they can be mistreated simply because the primary concern is getting them off the streets.
Davon hopes to inspire change to influence more people to focus on the reality of what is really going on in the foster system. He strives to accomplish this goal largely through his social media. On both TikTok and Instagram, he shares stories of foster children who have been abused or mistreated in order to spread awareness and force the public to pay attention to what is happening right here in our country and our community. He has seen an abundance of people reach out to him about how they can become a foster parent. Davon hopes to gain the attention of more and more people to fight against this issue, and in the future he hopes to see laws changed to create a new and better system.
Davon has also found that contrary to his and Tavon’s experience, many people who have been through the system want to get as far away from it as possible rather than working closely with it to make change. He believes these people are essential to truly spreading awareness and making big changes.
“How can we just ignore the fact that innocent kids are being placed in situations that they can’t get themselves out of?” he said.
In order to spread awareness, the brothers wanted to do something that would really grab people’s attention and make them want to hear this message.
“I said to my brother, ‘Tavon, we can do a walk from Statesboro to Jacksonville, Florida,’” Davon said.
The brothers had no idea what they were in for when they began their walk. The walk was 96 miles long and took them 4½ days. They hadn’t trained for the walk, but nevertheless, they persevered and the movement gained a lot of traction. Once they saw the impact and reach that this walk had, they landed on the idea of walking 20 miles in every state and have run with the idea ever since.
Davon quit a well-paying job at a car dealership a year ago and stepped out in faith to pursue something that he was truly passionate about.
“People tell me: ‘Y’all crazy…but, like, in a good way,’” he said.
Some of the states that they have already completed include South Carolina, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland, Virginia and even Hawaii. Within the next few weeks they will be flying out west to Sacramento, California to begin their walk there. The brothers share that they have supporters in just about every state, and also scattered among other countries. They hope to expand beyond the United States once all 50 states are complete.
They also are in the process of starting a nonprofit called Foster Kids Matter in order to aid kids in the transition out of the foster care system. He shared that a lot of the kids that age out of the foster care system end up in jail or strung out on drugs because of the lack of support they receive in the transition process. They are working on converting a plot of land to a building and community area that teens can stay during this process of transitioning out of the system.
With a goal set to finish the walk in May, the Woods brothers know that much more awareness and support is needed to make long-lasting changes to the foster care system. You can support their journey and mission by supporting their GoFundMe and following the duo on TikTok and Instagram.