Reasons & Ways to Get Involved

by Kim Scott

Over the past five years, North Carolina has seen a rise in the number of children entering the foster care system. An increase in opioid abuse and childhood poverty are two main factors contributing to the state’s surge of children in need of stable foster homes. These staggering numbers require that we respond in action. God’s call for us to defend and care for these children. We can no longer passively acknowledge the problem. We are called to actively become a part of the solution.

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As we begin to look for different areas to get involved and new places to serve, let’s continue to be mindful of God’s call to help those in need. In Psalms 82:3-4 God reminds us, “Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” And in James 1:27 we read that, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

If you, or someone you know, feels burdened for children in North Carolina who need safe homes and forever families, please prayerfully consider becoming involved in foster care and adoption. Involvement comes in many forms. For some, it will mean becoming a licensed foster parent or deciding it is finally the right time for your family to pursue adoption. For others, it may mean giving your time as a volunteer or donating funds to support the growth of AGAPE’s impact. Your prayers asking God to bring AGAPE strong Christian families who are willing to provide homes to children cannot be underestimated. If you are interested in getting involved, please visit the *contact us* page.

AGAPE Change for Life: The Condon Family

by Kevin Kolbe on Vimeo

Meet the Condon's in this month's video and see what we mean when we say "Love Makes a Family"! 

"Change for Life" changes a child's life with every donation. Our annual giving funds support the placement of foster and adoptive children across the state, the ongoing care and training of our foster and adoptive families, and our efforts to raise awareness of the services AGAPE of NC provides to children and families in North Carolina. Love Makes a Family!

AGAPE of NC is a 501-c3 organization. Your gift is tax deductible. You can find more information about giving to AGAPE of NC on our website at agapeofnc.org/donate. If you have questions about your gift, please call 919.673.7816 or email korander@agapeofnc.org.

What Makes AGAPE Unique?

by Lydia Huth

What sets AGAPE apart from America’s wide selection of adoption and foster care services? For many people, it comes down to AGAPE’s sense of community and Christian foundation.

AGAPE strives to support every family so that they are fully equipped to care for their adoptive or foster children. “We work diligently to provide as much support to our families as possible,” executive director Kimberly Scott said. “Our goal is to ensure they have the energy and resources that they need to care for these children as a labor of love, without taking away from their family, their finances, their way of life. All of us, families included, have the opportunity to serve and be a part of children’s journeys, and that really enriches lives.”

This caring community can truly be essential for your family. “There’s a lot of good stuff in situations like these, but there’s stressful stuff too,” Nicole Spickard, an AGAPE staff member and the daughter of AGAPE’s founding executive director, explained. “You have to laugh and love to get through the tough parts of it. AGAPE’s a family—it has to be.”

Amy Parker, a foster mother through AGAPE, says that the faith-based foundation helps her family feel secure as they teach their foster son Christian values. “As soon as we’re done with books, Matthew* is like, ‘Okay, prayers!’ and he says the sweetest little prayers. That’s important to us, and it’s nice knowing that we won’t get any pushback from any county about it. They know and understand that AGAPE is an openly Christian organization.”

If you are called to adoption or foster care, AGAPE is excited to welcome you into our community! Feel free to reach out to us with any questions you may have about “Why AGAPE?”

*Name changed

Kristin Chenoweth On ‘LION’ And Adoption

by Kristin Chenoweth

Emmy and Tony Award-winning actress and singer

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Kristin shares her thoughts and personal story on adoption and the movie "Lion" in this article.  Speaking from the heart she brings a perspective that is honest and refreshing. "It’s hardly a secret that I was adopted as a baby and quite frankly, there’s absolutely no reason it should be. As I’ve grown, I’ve watched the conversation and perceptions about adopted kids and families shift, but nothing has quite captured the truth, both the good and the ugly, of adoption like the film “LION.”"  We recommend this film for adults, please note it has adult themes and is rated PG-13! 

AGAPE’s Counseling Services Are Here for You

by Lydia Huth

If you are facing a challenge in your life, AGAPE’s counselors are here to help you! Our services are not limited to foster care and adoption, as our counselors see cases of depression, anxiety, and marriage issues, as well as behavioral and oppositional cases.

When you see one of our counselors, you will find your session is grounded on a comforting and uplifting spiritual foundation. Instead of focusing on temporary behavioral changes, executive director Kimberly Scott describes that AGAPE counselors highlight “use of the Holy Spirit to encourage and maintain change.” Our goal is for you to find lasting peace in Christ.

Concerned about fitting counseling into your schedule? AGAPE is happy to work with your needs. Our counselors offer flexible scheduling and can meet with you in your community, at your home or in the AGAPE office.

Are you ready to take a step towards a better you? We are currently accepting new patients. Find out more about our services HERE, or contact us to set up an appointment by phone at 919-673-7816.

SELF-CARE SUPPORTS HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS

by Megan Holmes 

Megan Holmes is a foster care alumna and recent graduate of NC Central University, where she earned a BSW degree with a minor in Spanish.

In this article, Megan explores the benefits of self-care for the care taker and those they care for.  Megan says "Self-care can take many forms. For one person it may be writing. For another, it could be music or reading a book in the park. What matters is that people take the time to do something they enjoy or helps improve their focus, productivity, and relationships." Take a few minutes to read this article, you won't be disappointed.  

Source: http://fosteringperspectives.org/?p=1214

SOCIAL CONNECTIONS HELP YOUTH IN FOSTER CARE THRIVE

by Fostering Perspectives and Special thanks to the Center for the Study of Social Policy’s Francie Zimmerman for her contributions to this article.

What does it mean to help a youth with social connections?  And what could be your role as the friend of a foster family? Just how do social connections make a difference? All these questions and more are answered in a practical way in this article by Fostering Perspectives.  

Source: http://fosteringperspectives.org/?p=1241

Staff Profile: Meet Kaye Orander

by Lydia Huth

Administrative assistant Kaye Orander has known about AGAPE of N.C. since she was in college. However, it was after thirty years working as a corporate law paralegal that she grew interested in working for a nonprofit and found her way to AGAPE’s door. “AGAPE,” Orander said, was “right there in my church—right on my doorstep.” While there were no staff positions available at that time, volunteers were needed, and so she stepped up.

When Orander was asked to move from volunteering into her current staff position, it was daunting. “I said, ‘I will try,’” Orander recalled. “It has definitely gotten me out of my comfort zone and stretched me.”

In her day to day work, Orander performs a wide variety of administrative duties. She works with the technical side of donations, through populating the growing donor management database and tracking financial contributions. However, you will also find her alongside volunteers, taking part in sending thank-you notes to AGAPE’s supporters, collecting and delivering backpacks with overnight essentials for foster kids, and helping churches plan how to celebrate the foster families in their midst.

Interacting with the donors and volunteers, Orander says, is one of her favorite parts of working with AGAPE. “Working with AGAPE’s supporters has been a joy. I get to see and encourage their enthusiasm, and I get to listen to their stories,” she said. “I’ve been told about unplanned pregnancies, counseling, and how that’s impacted people and their families. I believe some people just need to share their stories, and I feel privileged and honored to hear them.”

HOW RESOURCE PARENTS CAN HELP STRUGGLING STUDENTS

by Kelly Sullivan

Kelly Sullivan, PhD, is a Licensed Psychologist, Director of Mental Health Services at the Center for Child & Family Health, and an Assistant Professor at Duke University Medical Center.

"School is the work of childhood" says Kelly in this article by Fostering Perspectives and doing this work well can be a real challenge if the child is in foster care. Many foster parents know all too well the ups and downs of homework with a child that has difficulty.  Kelly says "Try not to view these behaviors negatively. Think of them not as attention-seeking but as attachment-seeking." This article is full of good advice for any parent. 

Source: http://fosteringperspectives.org/?p=1251

What It’s Like to Grow Up in a Foster Family

by Lydia Huth

Foster care was always a part of Nicole Spickard’s life. She herself had been fostered to adoption as an infant, and when she was nine, her family resumed fostering children.

“We were a very hands-on family,” she recalled. “As kids, we helped out. My mom made these little tickets, and for every diaper you changed, you’d get one. Once you got so many tickets, you could go see a movie or go shopping.”

Despite growing up in the mid-eighties, foster care wasn’t unusual for Spickard. “My best friend growing up was in a foster family through AGAPE, too,” she said. “She and I always had different kids in our families. It wasn’t unusual to be surrounded by all colors of skin at the dinner table.”

Other people in her community weren’t as accustomed to seeing foster families, however. Spickard remembered several instances where she and her brother faced disapproving looks from community members, especially while looking after foster children of another race. “One time, we were in an elevator, and I was holding one of the kids we had then,” Spickard said. “I remember everyone else in the elevator just turned and stared. My brother didn’t like things like that—my momma says he’s got this righteous indignation about it. Sometimes, he’d talk right back at the people staring.”

“Growing up in a foster family was a good learning experience for my brother and me,” Spickard said. Looking back, she said that it helped her make better decisions, and it helped both her and her brother have more compassion for how families can get into situations leading to foster care. “It’s not all abuse, and not everyone realizes that,” she noted.

As much as Spickard loved growing up in a foster family, she believes that fostering is for certain families in certain seasons of life. “I don’t know if I would be a foster mom right now,” she said. “I have two beautiful little girls with beautiful hearts, and I don’t want that to go away. I’d be concerned about certain situations that can come up—I never thought I’d be that mom, but I am!”

Fortunately, there are ways that all families can introduce their children to the lessons learned by foster families. “We do have one family at our church with foster kids, and those kids are in my daughter's class,” Spickard said. “They know that the parents are taking care of these kids for a while.” In any season of life, children can see their parents and their church family caring for children in the community.

Pageant Winner Turned Advocate

By: Ashley Dior Jefferson, Foster Focus Magazine

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Shelby Jenkins is a beautiful example of success because a couple chose to love.  The story on Shelby, Miss Texas US International, by Foster Focus Magazine is a must read.  Shelby reflects on her struggle with the word "wanted" as many children who are adopted or in foster care do, saying “As I reflect on my story I struggle with the term Wanted- such a strange word to capture the value of a life and so vast the sum of roads to demonstrate the act of wanting. To be clear I was always wanted.” Click the link to read more and for even more on Shelby check out the You Tube Video below.  

HOW WE REACT AND CARRY OURSELVES MATTERS!

by Jeanne Preisler

Jeanne Preisler, a Program Consultant with the NC Division of Social Services, is leading an effort to help our child-serving system become more trauma-informed. http://fosteringperspectives.org/?p=1205

This article by Jeanne at Fostering Perspectives focuses on our body language and what a child might be "hearing" through our actions and reactions.  Jeanne says "Just keep in mind three words: safe, capable, and lovable. If you can help a young person feel safe, capable, and lovable during your interactions, you can improve their social and emotional well-being. And you will probably make them smile more, too! And, as we know, that can make all the difference."  Read the whole article here

Source: http://fosteringperspectives.org/?p=1205

Carolina Bible Camp Bluegrass Festival Announces Area Ticket Locations

Come home to Carolina Bible Camp.

MOCKSVILLE, NC –  Organizers for the 6th Annual Carolina Bible Camp Bluegrass Festival announced statewide locations for purchasing tickets to the September 9 event featuring musical artists Blue Highway, Dom Flemons, Song of the Mountains emcee Tim White and Troublesome Hollow, Fireside Collective, and the Loose Strings Band.

The family-friendly festival is a tobacco free, alcohol-free event. Tickets are $15.00 in advance, $20.00 at the gate. Children under 12 are admitted free with a paying adult. 

Carolina Bible Camp Bluegrass Festival is sponsored by Brewer Brewer and Sorel, PLLC, Carolina Hearing Clinic, and the Eye Care Centers of Hickory, Salisbury and Statesville. Media Partners include the Winston-Salem Journal and WBRF-FM. Supporting partners are DavidSon Home Crafters and Sage Garden Care Center. 

Tickets for Carolina Bible Camp Bluegrass Festival 2017 are on sale now at cbcbluegrass.com but may also be purchased at the following locations without incurring any service fee:

  • In Catawba County
  • Eye Care Center of Hickory, 1060 Lenoir Rhyne Blvd SE, Hickory, NC 28602; Monday-Friday, 8:00 – 5:30.

 

  • In Davie County
  • Carolina Bible Camp, 1988 Jericho Church Road, Mocksville, 

         NC, 27028; call (336) 492-7802 for hours.

  • Davie Chamber of Commerce, 135 S Salisbury St, Mocksville, NC 27028; Monday-Friday, 9:00 – 5:00. 
  • Sage Garden Care Center, 977 Yadkinville Rd, Mocksville, NC 27028; call (336) 734-9476 for hours. 
  • Century 21 Triad Realty, 854 Valley Rd, Mocksville, NC 27028; call (336) 751-4444 for hours.

 

  • In Forsyth County
  • Carolina Hearing Doctors (two locations)
  • Clemmons – 3780 Clemmons Road, Clemmons, NC, 27012; Monday-Thursday 8:00 – 5:00. Friday 8:00-12:00.
  • Winston-Salem – 3742 Vest Mill Road; Monday-Thursday 8:00 – 5:00. Friday 8:00-12:00.

 

  • In Iredell County
  • Eye Care Center of Statesville, 843 N Center St, Statesville, NC 28625; Monday-Friday, 8:00 – 5:30.

 

  • In Rowan County
  • Eye Care Center of Salisbury, 2120 Statesville Blvd, Salisbury, NC 28147; Monday-Friday, 8:00 – 5:00.

 

  • In Wake County 
  • Brooks Avenue Church of Christ, 700 Brooks Avenue, Raleigh, NC; Monday – Friday 9:00 – 4:00. Call 919-821-2400 for more information.

 

  • In Wilkes County
  • Brewer Brewer & Sorel Attorneys at Law, 204 East Main Street, Wilkesboro, NC28697; Monday through Friday, 8:30 - 5:30.

 

Festival Details

  • Arts & Crafts - A wide range of vendors includes unique jewelry, artisans, a silent auction featuring specialty items, and more. 
  • Pickers’ Place - Musicians will want to bring their instruments to take advantage of the Pickers’ Place jam tent.
  • Classic Car Show – The Piedmont Chapter of the Model A Ford Restorers’ Club’s classic car exhibit is included in the price of admission.
  • Children’s Play - the festival includes the best in outdoor play equipment. Free arts and crafts activities, and old-fashioned sidewalk games for kids of all ages. 
  • Food – BBQ lunch with “all the fixin’s” is served on the grounds for an additional $12.00 per plate; hamburger plates available for $5.00.
  • Hours, Location - the Mocksville, NC festival gates open at 10:00 a.m. and close at 6:30 p.m. Parking is free. Handicapped parking and assistance is available for guests with special needs. No alcohol, no coolers, no pets, please. Bring your own chair.

Contact Information

Carolina Bible Camp is located at 1988 Jericho Church Road in Mocksville, NC, 27028. For more information, please contact CBC Bluegrass Festival Executive Director Lisa Brewer at (336) 262-6325 or visit the website at www.cbcbluegrass.com.  

 

Our Featured Artists for 2017

Voted the “Favorite Bluegrass Artist of All Time” by the readers of Bluegrass Today, Blue Highway has earned 26 collective IBMA Awards, 6 SPBMGA Awards, one Dove Award, and numerous Grammy nominations. They are currently nominated for a 2017 Grammy Award in the category for Best Bluegrass Album for their chart-busting disc, “Original Traditional.” Blue Highway members include Jason Burleson (banjo, vocals), Shawn Lane (mandolin, fiddle, vocals), Gaven Largent (dobro, vocals), Tim Stafford (guitar, vocals), and Wayne Taylor (bass, vocals). Blue Highway will perform on the CBC Front Porch Stage from 4:45 pm until 6:15 p.m. They will close the day with other artists on stage performing “Will the Circle Be Unbroken?”

Arizona native Dom Flemons may be best known as a founding member of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, with whom he earned a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Folk Album. Flemons is an author and poet who developed a deep interest in reviving, preserving, and performing old-time music. “I might be playing music that’s 100 years old,” he said, “but that doesn’t mean my ears are only listening to music that’s 100 years old.” Dom Flemons will intrigue, instruct, and delight you with his banjo and more on the CBC Front Porch Stage from 3:00 p.m. until 4:30 p.m.

Everyone’s favorite bluegrass buddy, Tim White, is returning to the CBC Bluegrass Festival for his third year in a row. The talented host of the PBS syndicated television show Song of the Mountains will perform with brothers Donny and Garry Ollis. Tim is also known for his syndicated radio program, The Tim White Bluegrass Show, which recently aired a documentary he produced on Carolina Bible Camp. Tim White and Troublesome Hollow will tickle your ears and your funny bones on the CBC Front Porch Stage from 11:00 a.m. until 12 noon. 

Fireside Collective, the winner of the 2016 MerleFest Band Competition, is quickly gaining a reputation as a must-see progressive acoustic ensemble. Formed in 2014, this group of folk music enthusiast blend elements of traditional bluegrass and American roots music with modern acoustic arrangements. Their energetic show transitions smoothly between danceable bluegrass numbers and passionate folk ballads, with a surprise Paul Simon number thrown in for good measure. With Jesse Iaquinto on mandolin, Tommy Maher on dobro, Joe Cicero on acoustic guitar, and Carason White on upright bass, Fireside Collective brings a truly delightful exploration of roots music to the CBC Front Porch Stage from 1:45 p.m. until 2:45 p.m. 

The Loose Strings Band isn’t! This all-girl band from Galax, Virginia has tight arrangements and well-blended harmonies. Featured twice on the PBS program Song of the Mountains, they have completed no fewer than five albums. Known for their original compositions as well as top-notch covers of other artists’ work, the Loose Strings includes Ashley Nale (banjo), Channing Russell Combs (guitar), Grace Wilson Davis (bass), Lindsey Nale (mandolin), and Mary Claire Hooper (fiddle). Catch them on the CBC Front Porch Stage from 12:30 p.m. until 1:30 p.m. 

 Contact:

Lisa De Maio Brewer

Festival Director

SPCHWOMAN@aol.com

(cell) 336.262.6325

 

AGAPE Prepares to Open the Salem House for 18-21 Year Old Foster Boys

by Lydia Huth

One of the most pressing questions in foster care is what happens to children who age out of the system. Now, with the Salem House, AGAPE will be answering this question by giving young men a chance to fully prepare themselves for independent life.

Thanks to North Carolina’s Foster Care 18-21 program, foster children can now remain in the system for three additional years, so long as they are in school, working, or medically incapable of meeting the other two stipulations. (Exact requirements for the program can be found HERE.) While AGAPE had already been pursuing ways to help children aging out of the program, the state’s new legislation smoothed the process.

In August, AGAPE will open the Salem House in Winston-Salem. The house will serve young men, providing them with essential resources for success like job training, mentorship, and living skills.

“The goal is to help them become self-sufficient,” executive director Kimberly Scott explained. “Ideally, they’ll stay in the program for as long as they possibly can and, by the time they leave, have enough money for a used car and a down payment on an apartment. We’d also like for them to have savings for at least two to three months, in case they ever find themselves without work.”

Residents will also be provided with outside guidance and support as they prepare for independent life. “We will have staff counselors that will be there on a weekly basis,” Scott said. “We’ll also have professionals coming in weekly to give seminars on budgeting, grocery shopping, resumes... you name it, anything needed for success.”

Young men in foster care will be referred to the home in the same way that they would be referred to a foster family, and there will be criteria for the boys living in the home. “We want a good match of guys in there together—guys that will compliment each other,” Scott said. These boys will need to follow the rules required by the state, such as having a job or taking classes, but AGAPE will also provide guidelines.

If you’re interested in helping AGAPE with the Salem House, don’t hesitate to reach out! “We’ll have lots of opportunities for people to mentor these young men and support the house’s mission,” Scott said. “If anybody’s interested and has a gift or a talent to share, if they let us know, I’m sure that I could find a way of using it!” To get in touch with AGAPE, you can contact Kaye Orander, our administrative assistant, at 919.673.7816, or reach out to AGAPE by email or through the contact form on the website.

 

'They truly have unbreakable spirits' article from the Christian Chronicle

The parents of 'Kid President' Robby Novak and his sister, Lexi, share their journey of faith and foster adoption.

It's a life the couple would never trade, Laurie Novak said — a life God planned for them.  “If we can do it, anyone can,” she said. “God’s dreams are bigger than our dreams. We never could have imagined how much adoption would change our lives and how much we would be blessed by it.” Take a few minutes to read this wonderful story of faith and foster adoption. 

Source: http://www.christianchronicle.org/article/...

What Does It Take to Fill Your Cup? (Some Thoughts on Self Care)

by A Fostered Life

In this video, Christine shares some of the ways she takes care of herself so that she can care for others. Christine says "In the interest of full disclosure, it has taken me the better part of three years to figure out what I needed to do in order to be at my best for my family and the children who join us temporarily! It's easy to get overwhelmed on this journey."

Interested in respite care, but don’t know where to start?

by Lydia Huth

If you’re interested in respite care, AGAPE of N.C. is developing the perfect program for you. This short training program is a brief overview of the training required for foster parents, so respite care providers will be well equipped to look after the children in their care.

A respite care provider is a qualified, trained individual who steps in temporarily for full-time caregivers, such as foster parents. These providers can offer babysitting services to foster families for anywhere from two hours to seventy-two hours. If you’re interested in learning more about respite care, see our previous article HERE.

AGAPE’s program will provide highlights from the foster parent training, as well as insights into what foster children may have experienced. Kimberly Scott, AGAPE’s executive director, explained, “Our training will help respite care providers learn where the kids are coming from so that they can meet the needs of each unique child.”

The training will take about three hours and include time for trainees to ask any questions that they may have. The goal is for AGAPE’s respite care providers to feel comfortable and equipped. AGAPE plans to have at least two training sessions in the fall.

If you’d like to learn more, you can contact Kaye Orander, our administrative assistant, at 919.673.7816, or reach out to AGAPE by email or through the contact form on the website. We are excited to work with you!

What should my foster child call me?

by A Fostered Life

In this video Christie discusses how she has had a few people ask this question. She also had a conversation recently with a woman who grew up in, and aged out of, foster care, and she talked about this as well. Here are some of her thoughts on what you should expect in terms of what your kids might call you.

Staff Profile: Meet Jerry Sprague

By Lydia Huth

When Jerry Sprague, AGAPE’s Social Service Supervisor, was in college, he didn’t see counseling in his future. He intended to become a veterinarian but ended up studying forestry. Degree in hand, Sprague spent thirty years researching forestry genetics on North Carolina State University’s faculty. It was after he became a Christian that he found himself pulled towards counseling.

“I became more interested in relationships after I found Christ,” Sprague explained. “Though, for a while, I was a little scared of social sciences… they could be anti-Christian.” Despite his uncertainty, Sprague did follow the call. He took one class a year at N.C. State—one of his benefits as a faculty member—and eventually completed the credits for his masters in counseling. Not long afterward, his minister called him and let him know that AGAPE was looking for counselors. That began Sprague’s twenty-five years at AGAPE of N.C.

As for his move into social work, it was less difficult than the jump from forestry to social science. “You basically use the same skills in social work and counseling,” Sprague said. “You use active listening, you use reflection techniques. A lot of basic counseling skills transition over to social work—listening and communication skills especially.”

Now, as the Social Service Supervisor, Sprague oversees one of the regions that AGAPE services. He supervises AGAPE’s social workers for that region, but will also have families that he interacts with directly. When working with the families, Sprague will be involved with training them for foster care and meeting with them regularly, as well as performing a quarterly review. “It’s a lot of paperwork,” Sprague explains. “A lot of attention to detail.”

Sometimes when working within his region, Sprague practically becomes a part of the family. For example, there was one family that fostered to adoption through AGAPE, taking in two infants and a child who had previously suffered severe abuse. Even now as the children grow up, Sprague still keeps in touch with them. “The kids still call me Uncle Jerry,” he said with a smile.