Sometimes I feel we are becoming numb to the horrible statistics we hear and read about every day regarding children. Children in foster care don’t know the statistics, but they sure know that lonely, confused feeling of not belonging to a loving family. Today, in the state of Michigan there are over 13,000 children in foster care. Some have found safe places to stay. Yet, many children still need stable, loving care and relationships with nurturing adults.
It is up to us to decide to pick up the phone or sit in on a Zoom meeting to start the process of learning and educating ourselves with the various ways we can all contribute to kids who just want someone to share a conversation or activity. On a bulletin highlighting May as National Foster Care Month a great quote of Mother Teresa teaches, “Very few people can do great things, but each of us can do something with great love.” If we can find that one contribution to share with love, we know that act could make a significant impact on alleviating the suffering of voiceless and vulnerable children.
One of the special gifts I receive from highlighting and introducing new charities and wonderful people to the 3rd Act community is having full, thought-provoking conversations with new acquaintances like my new best friend Rev. Dr. Kate Thoresen, coordinator of the statewide Faith Communities Coalition on Foster Care and parish associate for foster and adoptive families’ partnerships at First Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, Michigan.
I had the privilege of having another great conversation with Rev. Thoresen last week and learned about all the great work happening all over the state in a collaborative effort with the Faith Communities Coalition on Foster Care (FCC). It is wonderful to hear about how this grassroots collaboration is making a difference connecting congregations of all faiths and service organizations on behalf of foster children. The coalition acts as a catalyst to educate and motivate faith communities to engage in at least one project or program that will support foster children in Michigan.
I got a real kick out of Rev. Kate’s enthusiasm as she tabulated many of the various contributions from numerous congregations across the state. When you have your head down working hard to make things happen every week, sometimes you forget how much good is being accomplished from kind folks finding their way to contribute to this worthy cause. The list of 2020 contributions is impressive and illustrates that congregations do want to help and have stepped up in a big way. Outfitted bunk beds, grants to high school graduates, gift cards, Christmas gifts, new duffle bags filled with personal care items, hand-made fleece blankets, and backpacks filled with school supplies are just a few of the wonderful donations on Kate’s spreadsheet. Because of fantastic contributions from various congregations, FCC expanded into three large rooms at First Presbyterian Church in Birmingham to provide a temporary Foster Closet where individual childcare workers and organizations can come and select what is currently needed.
Coming into 2021, the group continues its momentum with numerous donations of clothing, bedding, food items, and baby care kits. Unique donations like 105 elementary-age new Easter outfits from Macy’s had to bring a smile to a lot of youngsters. Making a real difference, one of their donors helped to purchase tires for a youngster leaving the program and has now provided for two months of car insurance so the young man can drive to work and school.
Loyal readers may remember a great donation of 80 baby care kits from Christy’s Legacy of Hope to Rev. Kate by another new best friend, Karen DePriest, who is doing a remarkable job helping children in foster care. Also, a special thank you goes to the congregations of Kirk in the Hills, Faith Community Presbyterian Church-Novi, and First Presbyterian Church, Birmingham. Apologies to all the congregations that participated that I did not mention but you can be sure the children helped and serviced by 31 different agencies and organizations feel the love and support from your efforts.
It is a great testament that so many faith-based congregations have felt the urge to get involved in foster care across the state. However, there remains a huge need to help children in various foster care situations. I admit I am a visual person and sometimes a visual aide helps me personalize my intentions.
Please take a look at this great visual pyramid to spur you to think about ways to get involved.
Individuals and Congregations are making a big difference!
Whether you have a minute, an hour, or a day, you can impact many lives in foster care.
We are a catalyst to educate and motivate faith communities to engage in at least one project or program that will support foster children in Michigan.
You're invited to the
FCC Zoom Meeting!
Importantly, because we are entering May with a lot of enthusiasm for more activity out of the home, I think it is a good time to put foster care at the top of our favorite outreach activities to get involved in various capacities. Please join me for an informational FCC Zoom meeting next Monday, May 10, from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm to learn more about new programs helping children at the Vista Maria Campus. Check out the agenda and details of the call below.
Faith Communities Coalition
Western Wayne and Oakland County
Agenda May 10, 2021 6:30 P.M.
6:30: Welcome, updates, announcements:
Peggy Fisher-Kmieciak, Sheila Henderson
• Update on Social Security benefits for aged out foster children
Opening prayer: Betty Nick
• Special Congratulations
6:40 Agencies sharing their programs, needs and requests:
F.C.C.’s Update and Introduction of Speaker: Sheila Henderson
7:00-7:40: Presentation: Jessica Marcetti and Jeri Lyn Lasich
Are sharing their focus at Vista Maria, a place for girls, youth and their families.
They will speak about the human trafficking programs, residential programs, volunteer
opportunities and current donation needs.
7:45: Self introductions of attendees, church or organization they represent and
updates of events: Val Kushman
This summer’s Special Request Backpacks and School Supplies Sheila Henderson
Supply list below
Closing Prayer: Susan Farooq
Next Meeting is Monday, October 11, 2021
Sheila Henderson 248 756 4721 (email@example.com)
Peggy Fisher-Kmieciak 313 550 8116 firstname.lastname@example.org
Jessica Marcetti JMarcetti@vistamaria.org
Jeri Lyn Lasich email@example.com.
In summary, I want to thank Rev. Kate for spending time with me last week. I hope we can generate some new interest in the Faith Communities Coalition and all its efforts to support foster care. If you want to chat with Rev. Kate about ways to get involved, please contact her via email; firstname.lastname@example.org
Have a great weekend,
Roger N. Steed