Kia Carter is passionate about community.
As a social worker with AGAPE of North Carolina for a little over 2 years, Carter has seen just how important relationships, community, and connection are within foster families, but also within the agency itself.
Carter’s steadfast belief in the life-giving quality of community has led her to implement several initiatives, new to AGAPE this year, to nurture growth and connection among foster families.
One of these initiatives combines education and technology, as Carter is attempting to create an online study book for foster parents who are in the process of receiving their continuing education hours. Carter’s career as a social worker has shown her just how helpful support programs like this can be for busy families.
“I know it can be hard to get the 10 hours that they need every year to continue their licensing, so I want to try and make it as convenient as I can with information that I know will be helpful for all of our foster parents.”
Carter also speaks to the importance of AGAPE’s quarterly connection gatherings as a means for foster families to support one another. These meetings allow foster parents within the agency to meet one another and share advice and encouragement. Carter explains that these meetings allow foster parents to support one another through challenges, and celebrate together in victories.
In addition to providing community for current foster families, these gatherings also give Carter hope for the future in terms of implementing a mentoring program for new foster parents. She explains that while she, as a social worker, can offer practical advice and experience, she realizes the value in hearing from someone who has truly been where you are.
“When you have someone who has gone before you and done what you are in the process of doing it is nice to have someone to talk to that gets it.”
While the concept of a mentoring program is still in the works, Carter explains that any program that creates community has its root in the gospel, and therefore, is worth creating and cultivating within an organization like AGAPE, which Carter says functions as a family in itself. AGAPE functions like a tight-knit family, and therefore seeks to create communities for those involved with its services.
Carter ends by sharing her ultimate motivation for her upcoming initiatives: her faith.
“Community is life-giving—and essential to following Christ. Scripture says that’s because we’re better together than we are alone.”