This week we approach the year mark of our “two weeks to flatten curve” and the unofficial beginning of the COVID19 pandemic in the United States. If we’ve learned one thing during the last year it’s this – community matters. And we could not be more thankful for our Fostering Communities family.
For those who don’t know, Fostering Communities is an initiative made possible by a generous $816,000 grant by the Duke Endowment, designed to educate, advocate, and collaborate with local churches, individuals, and community partners to impact the lives of all children and families that Crossnore serves.
Everyone has a place.
Twelve months after COVID hit, many people are reflecting on what they have accomplished, learned, and/or failed over this last year. Hopefully, as you reflect on your own experiences, you are able to see the bright spots in all the grey. Hopefully 2020 taught you one important lesson, community is essential and that everyone has a place in it to be successful.
Even though COVID19 changed many of the plans and expectations held for our 2020 Fostering Communities schedule, it did not cancel them. Despite the regulations and closures that surrounded most of 2020, the initiative was extremely successful reaching more than 2500 foster parents, church members, pastors and community partners through ten in-person and 45 virtual events throughout the year!
Reaching beyond boundaries.
Many of the planned events for the year were quickly transitioned to a virtual platform allowing Fostering Communities to reach beyond the barriers of county lines. During these events, often co-sponsored by community partners, churches, or in collaboration with other foster care agencies, events were filled with people from all over NC reaching across most Western NC counties, into the Piedmont, and Charlotte area.
During this unusual season, Fostering Communities still managed to double the number of churches who desired to become involved in the Fostering Communities Initiative and increase the depth of the relationships with our partner churches. These partnerships not only allowed the opportunity to continue leading virtually foster care classes but deepened their roots of support for the foster families struggling through the effects of COVID19 on vulnerable children in foster care.
Broadening our scope.
As Crossnore entered 2021, Fostering Communities shifted from Foster Care to the External Relations team. This strategic move allows Crossnore to broaden the scope of our Fostering Communities umbrella. We will continue to actively create a community of support around our foster families as they serve vulnerable children, but will also expand our community to cover all of the services Crossnore provides including Homebuilders and Youth Independent Living.
As Fostering Communities grows, we want to help you, your church or your organization find your fit in the community. Over the last year, churches have hosted foster care recruitment events, individuals have donated gifts and needs, and organizations have trained staff to be more understanding of trauma.
Find your place.
Reflecting on 2020, many people found ways to serve their community that fit right into their everyday lives. Whether it was cheering and shouting words of encouragement to health care workers as they started their shift, preparing meals for the many who were out of work, or sewing masks for others, people found their place.
How can you help Crossnore as we work to educate, advocate, and collaborate to impact the lives of the children and families around us? How can you become part of our Fostering Communities family?
Can you help Educate by:
- Hosting a Trauma 101 training for your area
- Leading a foster parent support group training
- Supporting DSS workers and others at risk of vicarious trauma
- Providing apprenticeship or internship opportunities for youth aging out of foster care
Can you help Advocate by:
- Becoming a host space for a Foster Care Class for new foster parents
- Telling others about foster care needs
- Supporting or hosting community events for foster parents
- Hosting a Parents Night Out for our foster parents
- Helping spread awareness about the need for foster parents for teens and large sibling groups
Can you collaborate with us by:
- Giving back with your profession (local photographers donating sessions for newly adopted families, teachers tutoring virtually)
- Donating time and work in the garden
- Building bunk beds for new foster families
- Bringing in Crossnore to speak at your church or club
If you are interested in finding your fit in the Fostering Community please contact:
- Angela Bollo (Hendersonville)
- Kim King (Winston-Salem)
- Elizabeth O’Hagan or Jim Hart (Avery)