People are called to provide services to others for different reasons—personal life experiences, setting an example for their kids or being called by their faith. No matter the reason, helping others is a great way to influence positive changes in your community and add purpose to your life. In Kansas, more than 7,400 youth are in foster care and more than 300 are currently awaiting adoption. These children and teens represent one of the most vulnerable population groups in the state.
If you feel your faith has called you to support people in your community who are experiencing hardships, there are many ways you and your religious congregation can help. Whether you’re impacting one person or a hundred people, the difference made is important. Here are five ways you and your congregation can help strengthen Kansas children and families in need and ensure their wellbeing.
1) Educate your congregation.
Ask to talk to your congregation about the need for more people to help children and teens in foster care and at-risk youth and families experiencing life challenges. If you aren’t comfortable with public speaking, a member of our team is always happy to visit congregations around the community to share information.
2) Provide evening or weekend care for families.
Everyone needs a break sometimes! Ask members of your church to volunteer to provide evening or weekend care for families in need. Many parents work hard to provide for the children and adults they care for and spending extra money on a paid babysitter isn’t always an option. If people in your congregation are considering becoming foster families, providing temporary care can help them decide if that’s the right path for them.
3) Host training sessions and informational meetings open to the community.
Ask your congregation if you can utilize its facilities to host informational meetings about foster parenting, mentoring at-risk youth and more. We can also send someone from KVC to come to your informational meeting to speak to your group and answer any questions. Many times, people want to be involved in helping others but don’t know what their options are. Hosting informational sessions about all the ways people can get involved is educational and brings the community together.
4) Organize donation drives and group volunteering activities.
KVC and many other organizations throughout Kansas are always accepting donations to help families in need. At KVC, we use donations in a variety of ways, such as providing basic needs for youth in foster care and hosting free training for foster parents. Encourage your community to “Marie Kondo” their homes for lightly used items they no longer need, such as clothes, blankets, toys, games and strollers. Whether your items are for babies, teens or adults, there’s always a need in your community.
Create a sign-up sheet for various community activities and encourage your members to volunteer together. This not only benefits the organization they’re volunteering for but also creates more sense of community and closeness within your congregation.
5) Encourage members to become caregivers.
There’s an immediate need for more foster parents in Kansas, especially to provide homes for teens and sibling sets. Ask members of your church if they have ever considered becoming a caregiver to someone in need. Help them understand the rewards that come with changing another person’s life, and that they’re never alone in the process. KVC provides 24/7 support to our caregivers and is always here to answer questions and provide help along the way.
Want to Get Your Church Involved?
Fostering Joy is a family advocate ministry that assists families and churches who have a heart for caring for children in need. They equip congregations with the tools to sponsor foster families, provide them with community support and educate the public on child welfare. One of Fostering Joy’s goals is to give churches a framework to support children in need in the long term through organizing volunteer events, mentoring, increasing access to financial resources and engaging the community to support current foster families. If you’d like to get your church involved in helping children and families in need, visit www.fosteringjoy.net to learn more or contact Justin Obendorfer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 913-449-4922.
About KVC Kansas
We are a private, nonprofit organization that serves 30,000 Kansas children and adults each year. We provide family preservation services, foster care case management, family reunification services, foster family recruitment and support, adoption, aftercare, outpatient therapy and more.