Beverly McClain received the Extraordinary Citizen Award from the Justice Coalition at the Champions for Justice Award Dinner held on November 6, 2014. She started Families of Slain Children, Inc. (FOSCI), a non-profit organization, eight years ago after her son was murdered. She has become vital in her community by offering assistance to families impacted by tragedy and homicide.
Ms. McClain’s story is a familiar one to many families. On June 23, 2005, Beverly McClain, a proud mother of four children received the most devastating news any mother could get. Homicide detectives visited Ms. McClain to inform her that her son, Andre Lynn Johnson’s body had been discovered in the Ribault River in Jacksonville, Florida. Ms. McClain felt stuck not knowing which way to turn. She not only lost her son, but she also lost her best friend. She cried out for comfort and closure, but the pain of heartbreak was greater. Ms. McClain realized she could no longer weep in despair, but rise in strength not only herself but for the other families who had lost loved ones through tragedy.
A friend suggested that she start an organization to help other mothers. Despite Ms. McClain’s doubts she began to reach out to other families experiencing the same type of loss. To her surprise, their were not many organizations in Jacksonville, FL that these families could turn to. Many of these families were experiencing the same lost and needed her as much as she needed them. Through their pain and suffering the organization of Families of Slain Children, Inc. was born.
Located in north Jacksonville, FL, Ms. McClain and her staff continue to work diligently in the community assisting grieving families in need of outreach support, referral, and social services such as grief counseling.
She continues to be a beacon of light to families of slain children which shows through her relentless advocacy and generosity. Each year during the National Victims Rights Week, Mrs. McClain presents the families who are still seeking answers about their lost loved ones with a Homicide and Cold Case Forum where they have the opportunity to express their concerns to detectives from Jacksonville’s Office of the Sheriff.
Mrs. McClain’s vision is for FOSCI is to be an advocate empowering children and families that have lost loved ones to homicide by employing strategic initiatives for long term growth, community development and educational reinvestment.
In the October 2014 Justice Coalition’s Victims’ Advocate newspaper, Beverly McClain was named Justice Coalition’s Extraordinary Citizen for being a power force for murder victims and citizens in need in Jacksonville, Florida.
Click the following link to read the article about Ms. McClain as published in the Justice Coalitions Victims’ Advocate newspaper: