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Family rides canal from Albany to Buffalo to promote foster parenting

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 26 May 2015 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – The Capuano family, which is riding the entire Erie Canal to promote foster parenting, passed through Orleans County on Monday. They are pictured in Albion.

Renee and John Capuano and their two oldest children – Paul and Priscilla – want to encourage families to give foster parenting a try.

“Even if a child spends one night in your home and they are safe, you’ve made a difference in their life,” Mrs. Capuano said.

Paul Capuano, 16, came up with the idea of riding the canal length, hoping to inspire more people to try adoption and foster care. His family has recently adopted five children they were fostering: Edgar, 5; Vinny, 5; Nico, 6; Emilio, 6; and Franny, 8.

Paul has been pedaling a cargo bike with room for the four youngest to ride together. His sister Priscilla, 14, is riding a tandem bike with room for a sibling.

Priscilla leads the pack coming into Albion on Monday followed by her brother Paul and mother Renee.

There are 2,000 children in need of foster homes throughout the state, including 35 in Orleans County.

“We need foster homes desperately,” said Holli Nenni, deputy commissioner of Department of Social Services in Orleans County.

She met with the Capuanos in Albion on Monday. The family kept going to Lockport on Monday and today will complete the trip to Buffalo.

They are wearing bright orange shirts that urge people to try foster care.

“If we can do it, so can you,” reads the shirts.

Mrs. Capuano said the family considered adopting a child from another country before they pursued becoming foster parents.

“It seemed monumental but the county works with you,” Mrs. Capuano said.

Her oldest children have been welcoming to the adopted kids.

“Our message is give it a try,” Mr. Capuano said.

For more on the foster care program in Orleans County, call DSS at (585) 589-7000.

Paul Capuano crosses the Main Street lift bridge with four of his young siblings in tow on a cargo bike.