Simone Biles is an Olympic medalist and largely considered the world’s best gymnast. However, for Biles, the road to celebrity and fame was a long one indeed. Aside from being a celebrity athlete, her success as an Olympic gymnast is even more remarkable considering the obstacles she’s had to overcome as a foster child. Now, Biles uses her platform as an Olympic medalist and celebrity to advocate, both locally and nationally, for children in the foster care system. By drawing upon her own life’s experiences, Biles effectively promotes the amazing potential that foster children have and the importance of proper home placement and care.

Born in Ohio to a drug addicted mother, Simone Biles and her three siblings were placed in the foster care system very early in their lives. They languished there for quite some time as their biological mother struggled, and the system kept them in limbo hoping their mom could get clean.

Biles writes in her book, Courage to Soar, “We never did go back to live with Shanon (Biles’ biological mother), because she kept failing her drug tests. The social worker told her that if she could just pass a few tests in a row, they’d let us move back in with her. But she couldn’t seem to stay sober.”

Simone currently works with the donation-driven program Mattress Firm Foster Kids which has given more than 610,000 items (like clothes and school supplies) to foster kids and their families. Founded in 2015, the organization is affiliated with 115 nonprofit partners across 40 states. The program holds six annual events to collect items and give them directly to foster children and families.

Here is more information from a 2016 article by Tony Cantu.

Gymnast Simone Biles Teams Up With Mattress Firm For Philanthropic Efforts

Mattress Firm partnership will promote foster kids program while reminding public of the importance of sleep, especially among children.

HOUSTON, TX — Mattress Firm has signed a multi-year partnership with three-time World Champion gymnast Simone Biles, officials announced this week.

The athlete was prompted to join forces with the chain of mattress stores to help increase awareness of the retailer’s national Mattress Firm Foster Kids program while promoting the importance of sleep, especially among children.

With its foster kids program, Mattress Firm supports local foster care nonprofit partners in communities nationwide designed to help foster children beat the odds.

“The retailer hosts six donation drives throughout the year to collect funds and essential items like pajamas, clothing, school supplies, shoes and toys, all of which help make the transition into a new home, a new school or a new community a bit easier for foster youth,” officials wrote in a press release.

For her part, Biles said the idea of participating in the program resonated with her personally. During the summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Biles’s personal narrative of overcoming odds in her early youth resonated with a wide audience while serving as inspiration given her singular success at the competition.

“I am honored to be able to help shine a light on the needs of foster children nationwide and support Mattress Firm’s Foster Kids program,” Biles said in a prepared statement. “I know what it is like to spend time in and out of the foster care system, and words cannot begin to express how thankful I am that my parents adopted me. Children are children; they need our love, support and help to understand the benefits of sleep and the role it plays in living an active and healthy life.”

Mattress Firm Foster Kids was created in 2015 in response to requests for support from nonprofit foster care organizations in communities across the country, citing a need for essential items to help foster children and parents adjust to a new home, company officials said.

“The initiative makes a positive impact on the lives of the hundreds of thousands of foster youth nationwide,” officials added. “Donations are collected through the Ticket to Dream Foundation, a 501(c)3 organization, and after each of the six annual donation drives, proceeds stay in the community where donated and are distributed to carefully chosen nonprofit foster care partners.”

A Houston resident, Biles will work closely with Mattress Firm to spread awareness of the Foster Kids initiative, including volunteering her time with Mattress Firm and Ticket to Dream’s Houston nonprofit partners, supporting the six annual donation drives, and sharing her personal foster care experience as an advocate of the Mattress Firm Foster Kids program, company officials said.

“Simone is the perfect fit for Mattress Firm – there is a natural alignment between our Houston roots, a passion for helping foster children and the common belief in the importance of sleep,” said Ken Murphy, president and CEO of Mattress Firm, in a prepared statement. “Simone represents the American Dream. She is a great inspiration and example to all her fans, and we are excited she has decided to join our team.”

Given her world-class gymnast status, Biles is fully aware of the importance sleep platys into athletic performance, Murphy added: “As a world-class athlete, Simone knows the critical role that sleep plays and how poor sleep can affect her performance,” said Murphy. “Our partnership with Simone will also continue to shine a light on the benefits of a good night’s sleep.”

Mattress Firm boasts the “largest geographic footprint” in the United States among multi-brand mattress retailers, with more than 3,500 company-operated and franchised stores across 49 states. Founded in 1986, Houston-based Mattress Firm is the nation’s leading bedding retailer, officials said.

Simone Biles is a fierce competitor and role model for young women all over the world. Simone’s combined total of 19 Olympic and World Championship medals officially makes her the most decorated American gymnast in history.

In addition to her athletic prowess, outstanding character, advocacy for foster children and positive influence on others, Simone is a motivational speaker. In an article by Brennan Williams, Biles is quoted, “It’s hard going into the system with hardly anything. Because even through foster parents may receive a stipend, sometimes it’s not enough to cover all the necessities. I came from a foster home and went on to achieve everything I’ve achieved. I’m just hoping it can inspire other foster kids to never give up and to always pursue your dreams. My message is: ‘There are no limits.’”

Simone Biles speaks passionately about attaining one’s life goals and being the best version of you that is possible every single day. Please click the link below for information on booking Simone Biles for your next event:

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