- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 22, 2024

There’s plenty to complain about when it comes to Hollywood and the ever-impish antics of the entertainment complex. From debaucherous content to bombastic personalities and the negative impact movies and TV can have on children, the list of grievances is never-ending.

Yet, at the same time, we’re increasingly getting glimpses of goodness — moments that break past the glitz and glamor to expose celebrities’ humanity, compassion and kindness. From fascinating faith conversions to worthy charitable giving, some celebrities truly stand out.

The latest example is Oscar winner Christian Bale. The former “Batman Begins” actor is proving it’s entirely possible to play a superhero both on-screen and off.

Mr. Bale, 50, recently announced an innovative new project to build a “village” — a collection of homes and a community center aimed, among other things, at helping keep siblings together once they’ve entered the foster care system. 

It’s a project addressing an issue that often falls off our collective radar, but one that can be particularly dramatic and traumatizing to children trapped in the infamous “system.” 

With limited availability for foster care housing, some siblings are split up after being removed from a home or losing access to their biological families, leaving them in a tragic emotional state. 

But Mr. Bale’s project aims to change that dynamic, with the actor recently breaking ground on an effort that will include 12 homes, two studio apartments and a massive community center. It’s an endeavor to bring hope amid a sea of darkness for tens of thousands of California children.

Along with others, he co-founded Together California, a nonprofit that aims to “lay the foundation for rebuilding trust, confidence and hope for each child” entrusted to its care. 

Mr. Bale told the Hollywood Reporter the first-of-its-kind project is “totally transformative” and “completely needed.” With a cost of $22 million, he expects the complex to be finished by 2025.

“Imagine the absolute pain and the trauma of losing your parents or being torn from your parents, and then losing your brothers and sisters on top of that, that’s no way to treat kids,” the actor told the outlet. “And so, we will be the hub for that. I hope that this village will be the first of many, and I hope that people, Californians and Angelenos, know to come join us in opening our eyes to what’s happening right under our noses.

“These are our children, and we must help our children.”

In addition to issuing that powerful clarion call, the actor told the outlet his dream of creating the village — located in Palmdale, California, and spread over nearly 5 acres — dates back 16 years, with the 2005 birth of his own daughter launching him on his path.

Mr. Bale said he began to wonder what it would be like if he and his wife were no longer around. What would happen to his child? As he pondered the unthinkable, he also started to learn about the dire state of affairs for foster children in the Los Angeles area.

“I was stunned and mad to learn that we have more foster kids here than anywhere else in the country,” Mr. Bale told The Hollywood Reporter. “My wife and I decided that we were going to do everything we could in our power to change that.”

And he’s putting his money — and efforts — where his mouth is to improve foster kids’ lives. 

Mr. Bale’s heart for these children comes at a time when the need is monumental. The statistics don’t lie. More than 25,000 kids are in the foster care system in Los Angeles County, with kids being placed in the system nearly 100 times every day. 

Nationwide, the problem is almost unimaginable, with nearly 400,000 children stuck in foster care and the number of adoptions decreasing in recent years. The needs these children have due to the challenges of abandonment and other related issues are profound.

Without the proper care and preparation, these children often struggle later on in life. Mr. Bale’s village will provide a plethora of services, with kids being cared for by “full-time Together California foster parents who will coordinate services for each child.”

The village will even provide temporary housing for parents working to reunite their families as well as transitional housing for children who are about to age out of the foster care system. Beyond that, there will be a garden, sports area and recreational space to help kids learn and grow.

Mr. Bale seems hopeful his heroic efforts will be so successful that other similar villages emerge. He even pledged to support them if and when they do. 

The actor’s tireless commitment to this cause isn’t only inspiring; it’s convicting. Children around the nation are in desperate need, and many of us too often forget or ignore their plight. It’s powerful to see a Hollywood performer looking past himself to not only see these needs, but to boldly and fervently act to help change kids’ life trajectories. 

Mr. Bale is proof superheroes truly do exist. 

Billy Hallowell is a digital TV host and interviewer for Faithwire and CBN News and the co-host of CBN’s “Quick Start Podcast.” Mr. Hallowell is the author of four books.

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