Did you know that there are approximately 13,000 children in Michigan currently in foster care? Many have found safe places to stay. Yet there are many children and youth who still need stable, loving care and relationships with nurturing adults. No matter how much or little time you have to give, you have the power to do something positive that will change a lifetime for a young person in foster care or who is aging out of the system.
As Mother Teresa has claimed, “Very few people can do great things, but each of us can do something with great love.” During the month of May we anticipate the great good that will come from members and friends finding that one something to share with great love. Together, with other congregations, this will make a significant impact to alleviate the suffering of our most invisible, voiceless and vulnerable children. If every congregation would take responsibility for just one child, our foster care crisis can be solved.
Here are some ideas to help promote May as Foster Care Month in your local congregations. See the Faith Communities on Foster Care Coalition articles on www.faithcommunitiescoalition.org for a list of suggested donation drive items, and ways to raise awareness.
Week One of May: Launching May as Foster Care Month: Who are the foster kids in Michigan? How many? Put a face on foster care: Invite a foster youth or foster care worker to share a moment for mission. Include current statistics or stories.
Congregational challenge: Chose a child waiting for a forever family off of the MARE web site to pray for during the month of May (www.mare.org): Check to see who are foster or adoptive parents in your own congregation. Start your own foster/adoptive parents conversation group.
Week Two of May: What act of concrete care can I do to make the life of a foster youth better?
Congregational challenge: Fill Care kits for foster kids. See suggested templates. Attach list to bags distributed after the service—or have a sign up sheet for specific articles.
Week Three of May: What’s involved with being a foster parent/grandparent/tutor/mentor??
Hold an informational gathering on ways of personal involvement from volunteering to supervise foster kids while parents meet, tutoring, foster/adoptive parenting, mentoring, becoming respite foster parents/grandparents. Contact your local service agency to arrange for a speakers and meeting time.
Week Four of May: Dedication and blessing of care kits and those who receive them; Wrap up month of praying for one child by including their names during prayers of the people. Display the collected items and offer a prayer of blessing for the donations and those who will receive them.