Photo on Left: President George H. W. Bush, Neil Bush and Jimmy Wayne
Photo on Right: Jimmy Wayne receives Points Of Light Award from Neil Bush
Jimmy Wayne Receives 'Points of Light' Award During Private Ceremony Yesterday
Former Foster Kid Turned Recording Artist and Author Seeks to Help Other Kids In Need
September 20, 2016 — In a private ceremony in Kennebunkport, Maine yesterday, country artist and
New York Times bestselling author, Jimmy Wayne, was honored with the prestigious Points of Light Award for his tireless work raising awareness for youth in Foster care.
Jimmy said, "No one should receive an award for helping kids; it's what we're all supposed to do and not expect anything in return. But what do you do with an award that’s been given to you? Use it to raise awareness for more foster youth."
Prior to receiving this tremendous honor —presented to him by Neil Bush— Jimmy met with President George H. W. Bush, the founder of Points of Light, at the Bush family home at Walker’s Point in Kennebunkport.
Jimmy told the President about his personal "points of light" — Bea and Russell Costner, the elderly couple who took him in at age 16 and changed his life by giving him a home and a chance to finish high school, go to college and pursue and catch his dream as a recording artist. He then delivered a soul stirring version of “How Great Thou Art,” as the President sang along.
"It was an honor for me to meet the President of the United States, and to do that in his living room made it even more special," says Jimmy. "The shoreline leading to his driveway and his home were indeed beautiful, but what impressed me most was how humble he was."
Points of Light posted a feature on Jimmy's journey and life’s work, shared here: Points of Light.
Jimmy is on the road through the rest of the year keynote speaking and performing while writing his third book.
Jimmy Wayne is a former foster kid turned award-winning country music artist whose songs and story highlight his mission to raise awareness for kids in foster care. Jimmy’s hits include “Stay Gone,” “Paper Angels,” “Do You Believe Me Now” — which earned BMI’s prestigious Million-Air Award for receiving one million radio spins in America — and “I Love You This Much.” In 2009, Jimmy toured with Brad Paisley and recorded “Sara Smile” with rock ‘n roll Hall of Fame duo Daryl Hall and John Oates.
In 2010, Jimmy walked halfway across America (from Nashville to Phoenix) to raise awareness for kids aging out of the foster-care system. In 2011, Jimmy released the novel Paper Angels which became a made-for-tv movie of the same title. In 2012, Jimmy helped get legislative bills passed extending the age of foster care to 21 in both California and Tennessee, and in 2015, he did the same in his home state of North Carolina. In 2014, he released Walk to Beautiful, a three-time New York Times Bestselling memoir. In June of this year, it crossed the 100,000 print sales milestone.
A supporter of Jimmy’s tireless work is Coca-Cola. When the global brand heard about its role in Jimmy’s story, it commissioned 7,000 displays in grocery stores around America featuring Walk to Beautiful along with its classic Christmas Coca-Cola bottles. This was the first promotion of its kind in Coca-Cola history. In addition, Jimmy’s song “I Love You This Much” is also currently part of Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke and a Song” campaign that features lyrics on bottles and cans of Coca-Cola nationwide.
Jimmy lives in Nashville and continues to raise awareness for abused and neglected children through performing, writing, speaking and by establishing Project Meet Me Halfway, a resource to those wanting to volunteer as mentors, become foster parents. His ultimate goal is to build transitional homes for youth who age out of foster care without a place to go.
It was summer of 1989, the same year the Berlin Wall fell. My wall wasn't about to come down anytime soon. I was a long-haired, homeless kid scouring the neighborhood looking for odd jobs so I could earn money to buy food.
I spied an open door to a woodshop where an old man stood at a bandsaw. I approached him and asked if he had any work I could do.
"Ask the boss," he said, nodding his head toward a white-haired lady in the back of the woodshop manhandling a radial arm saw. The old lady turned off the saw and walked toward me.
"Do you cut grass?" she asked. "Come back at five."
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Jimmy Wayne is a former foster kid turned country music singer/songwriter whose songs and story highlight his mission to bring awareness to kids who age out of the foster system and become homeless. With hits such as "Stay Gone," "I Love You This Much," and "Paper Angels," he released "Do You Believe Me Now," his biggest hit to date, for which he earned the prestigious “MillionAIR Award” for receiving one million radio spins in America. In 2009, Jimmy toured with Brad Paisley and recorded "Sara Smile" with rock 'n roll Hall of Fame duo Daryl Hall and John Oates.