Supporting Families in Crisis

Supporting Families in Crisis

Have you ever desired to help out families in crisis in your community but didn’t really know how to do that? Or you liked the idea of serving, but thought you might not have the time?

Well, Safe Families might be just the opportunity that you have been looking for!

It was about 5 years ago when visiting Kyle and Hope over Thanksgiving that they mentioned they were considering becoming foster parents.

I really knew nothing about fostering – it was never in my “sphere of consciousness”, but because of Kyle and Hope, I became much more aware of “all things fostering”.

So last year when something came up in my Facebook news feed called “Safe Families” – I clicked on the link and found out about a really incredible organization, right here in our community.

Unbeknownst to me at the time, Kyle and Hope had been trying to get Safe Families approved in Colorado for over a year. So when I called them and told them about this great resource I had found, they already knew all about it!

The basic premise of Safe Families for Children was born out of the need to keep children safe, keep families intact, and reduce the need for foster care.

You might be thinking if Kyle and Hope were interested in fostering, how did Safe Families enter into the picture? Well Kyle and Hope did end up becoming very involved with foster care and were foster parents for 4 different children. While working within the foster care system they realized the tremendous needs within that system. And because of what they saw, Hope started her own non-profit called Foster Together, which is similar to providing the support system within the traditional foster care system that Safe Families provides to their families.  But they also knew that one of the best ways to help the foster care system was to keep more kids from entering it!

One of their very good friend’s parents were one of the original host families back when Safe Families was just getting started. That friend, Michelle, had recently moved to Colorado and told Kyle and Hope about the organization. So Kyle and Hope went and checked it out…and they were determined to get Safe Families in Colorado. With the help of hardworking law makers Kim Ransom and Jonathan Singer, and a determined lobbyist, Benjamin Waters, they did just that.  After Kyle’s tragic passing earlier this year, Colorado Governor Jared Polis, signed the Kyle Forti Act into law. You can watch the video here.

So, since my husband and I knew we wanted our family to be involved serving our local communitity here in Indiana in some capacity, Safe Families provided us a way to serve that worked within our own family dynamic and their organization. A win for everyone!

Safe Families for Children, founded in 2003, is collaboration among area churches, Christian Families and individuals, and community agencies designed to help families in crisis by giving them a network of support.  Volunteer host families, recruited through local churches, provide parents a loving home where they can safely place their children while they get back on their feet. Family coaches come alongside parents during the hosting, giving them support and mentorship.

Through its dedicated volunteers, SFFC help prevent abuse, deflect children from the foster care system, stabilize families and share the light and hope of Christ with vulnerable families in our community.

There are so many different ways you can help! Whether you have just a little time and can drop off a meal once in awhile, or maybe provide or drop off some needed supplies, or perhaps you have the ability to host some kiddos, or love the idea of being a mentor and a family coach – there is a place for you to serve at Safe Families!

Make A Difference!

I would really encourage anyone who may be reading this to attend the upcoming training. You will be able to see just how you can make a difference in helping those families in our area that are in crisis.

Would you like to help, but can’t make the training?

Safe Families is also an organization that you can trust to be good stewards with your tax-deductible donations – providing everything from diapers to car seats!  Right now is a perfect time to donate, as your gift will be matched, up to $1000, until the end of 2019! Click HERE for all the details to give your help today!

Do you ever shop at Kroger?

Here’s another way you can help – at no cost to you! Safe Families has been made a recipient of the Kroger Community Rewards program!  You can now select Safe Families Fort Wayne Area to receive funds every time you scan your Kroger Plus Card. Even after selecting a Community Rewards recipient, Kroger Plus members receive the same amount of points for groceries and fuel. Click HERE for everything you need to know to get started on helping those around you – while you shop!

My son, Kyle, was always encouraging people to just “show up” and do something – anything – to make a difference in the lives of  those around you who are in need.

Safe Families is an opportunity where we can all do just that!

Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

Memory Eternal, Kyle.

You can find more information about the local Safe Families chapter here.

Helping Local Refugees

Helping Local Refugees

I first met Ann Heign, the executive director at International House, several years ago when my daughter’s much awaited mission trip to Africa was postponed. She was so disappointed, as she loves working with kids and had such a heart to go to Africa.

A daughter of one of my friends had mentioned that she had volunteered at Ihouse where she worked with refugee children. She gave me Ann’s name and number, and my daughter, Rebekah, and I met with her a few days later. As we sat in the Ihouse living room, Ann said to Rebekah, “I can bring Africa to you right here in Fort Wayne.”

By the following week, Rebekah started volunteering her time on a weekly basis providing childcare for the kids while their mothers were involved in any one of the life skills programs that Ihouse offers.

International House is a non-profit, non-denominational Christian organization committed to sharing the love and light of Jesus Christ with refugees and other internationals living in the Fort Wayne area.

At the same time, International House respects the right of each individual to decide his own religious preference and provides services without regard to religious preference.

Kids Club

Citizenship Class

Homework Help

Women’s Club

I also spent time volunteering at Ihouse helping some of the refugee women learn to read English. My younger two daughters, Promise and Autumn, would accompany me on those days and would help with childcare.  They loved hanging out with the kids! My daughter, Kristen, was able to help out using her organizational skills with whatever projects Ann would have for her.

Volunteering does help those in our community, but I have also found that it impacts those of us who are doing the serving, as well. It has given both my children and myself a much broader perspective of the needs around us. It builds compassion and empathy in your kids as it brings awareness to the trials that others are facing in their community. This often leads to a greater sense of gratitude in their own lives.

There are so many ways you can use whatever gifts and talents you have to serve this ministry! If you are interested in helping, or would like more information, contact Ann Heign here.

#Forti-fy

Volunteer to Help Fort Wayne Pregnant Moms & Dads

Volunteer to Help Fort Wayne Pregnant Moms & Dads

Volunteering has always been an important aspect of our family and while we had children in the home, our volunteering focused on areas where we could serve together or activities in which the children were involved. Five years ago our youngest child graduated and with that milestone for her (and me, since I was the primary homeschool teacher), my opportunities for volunteering changed. 

There are so many needs in our community, The Hope Center is one of  two ministries where I landed. While I am utilizing my nursing degree at The Hope Center, the organization has ample opportunities for anyone who is willing to devote some time and love.  

All you need to start helping at A Hope Center right now is … 

  • an open heart
  • a desire to help others
  • a love for mothers and fathers of unborn children
  • a desire to educate those faced with an unexpected pregnancy about their options – accurately, compassionately, and non-judgmentally

 The first step to being a volunteer is to visit A Hope Cener. You may schedule a tour by contacting 260.422.3544. There are many different ways to volunteer:

In-Office Volunteer Opportunities

  • Bonus room worker – Sort incoming donations and cater to our client shoppers who have earned baby and maternity items by participating in Earn While You Learn (EWYL).
  • Clerical worker at Hobson Rd – Help keep the office running smoothly with filing, mailing, tabulating, publication folding and cutting, data entering, ordering, and other office duties. 
  • Classroom educator – Our Earn While You Learn program provides educational opportunities using both individual and group settings. Use your specific expertise to empower clients by teaching a group education class.
  • Earn While You Learn Facilitator – EWYL Facilitators act solely as mentors/teachers to clients who have chosen to carry their pregnancy to term. They use pre-established curriculum and other resources to help clients improve their lives and improve the lives of their families.
  • Peer advocate – Female advocates have opportunities to provide peer counseling to women seeking pregnancy and STD testing and other services. Male advocates provide peer counseling to the male partners of women seeking our services. Both have the privilege to act as a mentor and teacher to long-term clients who wish to grow in knowledge, maturity, and wisdom. Advocates receive extensive training to fulfill this role. 
  • Nurse – A Hope Center is a limited medical facility. It is important to have nurses available on all shifts to provide nurse-administered pregnancy and STD testing. Nurses may also train as advocates in order to conduct all aspects of the pregnancy test visit with a client.

Other Ways to Volunteer

  • Professional consultant – As we grow, the need for professional support services becomes more important for both short and long-term ministry needs. All professional fields are welcome to apply!
  • Financial contributor – A Hope Center is funded entirely by local individuals, churches, and foundations so that clients may receive valuable care without financial cost. Lives are changed and lives are saved as a result of grass-roots investors looking for the most meaningful of returns. Will you be A Hope Center friend? 
  • Walker or underwriter at Strides of Hope – Walk or sponsor a walker at the annual “Strides of Hope” walkathon in August/September. Businesses and individuals may also help support the fundraising event with underwriting funds.
  • Guest, table host, table sponsor, or underwriter at the annual fundraising banquet – Held in April, the annual banquet brings A Hope Center supporters together to hear a great speaker and learn about ministry needs and accomplishments. The event is free, but guests are asked to partner financially with the ministry. 
  • Bargain hunter – Bargain hunters love to shop garage sales and clearance sales for baby and maternity items. Make your donation in purchased material goods!
  • In-kind giver – Many partners in ministry remember the center when cleaning out their drawers and closets. Like-new baby items and maternity clothes bless our clients in need. Just drop your items off at 3630 Hobson Rd, 3701 South Calhoun Street, or 4705 Illinois Rd locations during office hours.
  • Church liaison – A church liaison serves as A Hope Center’s communication facilitator within their church family. Liaisons receive church mailings for distribution to their congregations and are asked to follow up with church leadership to promote events and activities. 
  • Prayer team member – As a member of the prayer team you will be given prayer requests for clients (no identifying information distributed for purposes of confidentiality), volunteers, staff, board members, and ministry events.
  • Fundraising coordinator – Throw a baby shower for the Center to collect maternity and baby items for the Bonus Room client store. You could also collect spare change from your church or small group with a Baby Bottle Campaign. All the information and bottles you need will be provided by the center.

Questions? Call us at 260.422.3544. You can find more information on their website here. 

Volunteer to Help The Underserved

Volunteer to Help The Underserved

Volunteering has always been an important aspect of our family and while we had children in the home, our volunteering focused on areas where we could serve together or activities in which the children were involved. Five years ago our youngest child graduated and with that milestone for her (and me, since I was the primary homeschool teacher), my opportunities for volunteering changed. 

There are so many needs in our community; Matthew 25 is one of two organizations where I landed. While I am utilizing my nursing degree at this locations, the program has ample opportunities for anyone who is willling to devote some time and love.

By the gospel, Matthew 25 Health And Dental Clinic fills a critical need in our community, providing free medical, dental, and vision services to uninsured, low-income residents of Northeast Indiana and Northwest Ohio. There are many opportunities to volunteer at Matthew 25. Whether you are a healthcare professional or a lay person wanting to help those who are in need of healthcare, there is a place for you. 

  • Physicians
  • Nurse Practioner
  • Immediate Care
  • Physician Assistant
  • Nurses
  • Medical Assistant
  • Medical Scheduler
  • Nurse Health Educator
  • Certified Diabetic Educator
  • Nutritionist
  • Physical therapist
  • Student nurse
  • Dentists
  • Dental hygienists
  • Dental Assistants
  • Front desk
  • Intake Assistant
  • Translator
  • Host/Hostess
  • Clerical
  • Data Entry
  • Operator
  • Social Work Assistant
  • Medicine Room
  • Inventory
  • Pill Processors
  • Patient Assistance Medicine Intake
  • Patient Assistance Pharmaceutical Processor
  • Fundraising events
  • Mailings
  • Custodial and maintenance

If interested, see http://www.matthew25online.org/volunteers.

Do you have a volunteer oppportunity you would like to share? Please let us know here!