How Can My Church Serve Foster Children and Families?

Leah Tripp

While not everyone within a church will be called to be a full-time foster parent, there are other ways that your church can care for foster families and show Christ’s love to children in foster care. In addition to praying fervently for foster children and their families, churches can also serve in the following ways. 

Respite Care Teams

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Respite care providers are trained individuals who can offer babysitting services to full-time foster care parents. Respite care is important to the overall wellness of foster parents and their children, and provides a qualified, consistent support system for families. AGAPE of North Carolina offers training courses for respite parents. If someone in your church or small group is a full-time foster parent, consider supporting them through respite care. 

Mentoring

There are several programs in North Carolina and across the country that recruit mentors for older children and young adults in foster care. Mentors can make connections with foster youth and guide them in a variety of ways, including tutoring, job skills, college readiness, emotional wellness, and many other healthy lifestyle habits. Encourage your church family to serve foster children by signing up for a mentoring program. 

AGAPE of NC is licensing Young Adult Foster Homes that are in need of mentors from local congregations. To learn more about this opportunity, email Mary Arnold at marnold@agapeofnc.org. 

Care Packages

Care packages can be helpful for both foster children and potential foster families. There are a variety of organizations that sponsor care packages for children in care. Programs like Comfort Cases and Project Shoe Box provide care packages and/or suitcases with hygiene items, books, school supplies, and toys to children and youth in foster care. Churches can donate supplies and/or completed care packages to organizations such as these. 

Care packages can also be helpful for foster parents. Foster care placements can often come at short notice, which means new foster parents may be lacking in supplies for the child they just received. Consider having items like diapers, gift cards, and other necessities ready for any foster families in your community or congregation. 

The “Little Things” 

If there’s one thing I’ve heard consistently from my conversations with people involved in foster care, it’s that scheduling and time management can be really difficult. Foster parenting is a time commitment, which can make it easy for smaller tasks to fall to the wayside. If you know someone who is a foster parent, offer to bring them a hot meal, cut their grass, or pick up their groceries. Small acts of kindness go a long way, and there’s no telling how grateful someone will be to have the “little things” taken care of. 



Director's Update Fall 2018: Change for Life

By Kimberly Scott

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This September AGAPE has launched our 3rd Annual CHANGE FOR LIFE giving campaign to run through the end of the year! Once again, we challenge you to save your spare change and prayerfully consider your intentional support for AGAPE of NC.

AGAPE, and the communities we serve, were blessed by the amazing response showered upon us during the campaign last year. When all the CHANGE FOR LIFE donations were counted (during Q1 2018), you had provided over $91,000! Let’s Glorify Him by aiming much higher this year so more children, teens and families may benefit from our Christ-centered outreach!

THANK YOU in advance to the churches who will set aside a special time to collect contributions dedicated to AGAPE during our CHANGE FOR LIFE giving campaign (on top of the monthly, quarterly, and annual financial support you have already committed).

MANY THANKS to all the individuals, too, who will give to AGAPE during this coming giving season – and throughout the year. Your regular support helps sustain the mission we are all called to in James 1:27.

Everyone’s gifts directly impact the growing circle of AGAPE foster & adoptive families opening their hearts and homes to children & teens, birth families reunited through our post-adoption services, and those who seek counsel from our professional and compassionate counseling staff.

If you or your church would like more information about AGAPE and our plans to create CHANGE FOR LIFE, please visit our website: www.agapeofnc.org and find us on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram @AGAPEOFNC.

Why We Do Respite

Your donations support and equip foster families in your community who are opening their loving, Christian homes right now to children in need. Other Christian families assist them in this mission work by occasionally providing respite. Please watch & listen as the Williams family shares why they became Respite Providers.

10 Reasons to Bring Your Family to the 7th Annual Carolina Bible Camp Bluegrass Festival

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#10 = MUSIC - There are seven groups performing this year! The Alison Brown Quartet; Bobby Hicks, Mark Kuykendall and Asheville Bluegrass; Tim White & Troublesome Hollow; Fireside Collective; The Snyder Family Band; The Trailblazers with Ivy Phillips; and Dwight Hawkins with Brody Hunt. The $15.00 advance ticket price is a great value, and kids under 12 are admitted free. Gates open at 10:00 AM. Opening ceremonies begin at 10:45 AM with the A Cafellas singing the Star Spangled Banner.  The music ends at 6:30 PM. 

#9 = FOR KIDS - There is an abundance of free activities for kids at the Kids’ Activities tent sponsored by AGAPE of North Carolina! The festival volunteers, called Servants, supervise children’s creative play with a variety of arts and crafts and recycled materials. A unique coloring page to save the date for next year, old-fashioned sidewalk games like marbles and jacks and free face painting are also included. 

#8 = FOOD - The festival features many delicious food options. Choices include Southern comfort foods made from scratch at the Dining Hall just behind the Front Porch Stage featuring BBQ, ribs and chicken with all the fixin's; the award-winning Gunny Smitty’s Hot Dog food truck; Carolina Shaved Ice; Baked With Love home-baked desserts; the CBC Coffee Café for hot and cold coffee beverages, and the popular CBC Canteen for the genuine camp snack experience. 

#7 = AUCTION - One-of-a-kind items are available through the exciting and easy online auction, or simply show up at the CBC Hexagazebo in person to bid on your items. The Swicegood Group, a leader in real estate and auctions, manages this activity so all goes smoothly. You can bid on a beach trip, an autographed ukulele, lunch with a patriot, an album collection, a banjo, and much much more.

#6 = SHOPPING - You can shop but don’t drop; just stop where you are! The festival’s vendors include a unique assortment of 20 vendors selling apparel, jewelry, home goods, doggie treats, soaps, artwork, and so much more. Don’t try to buy it all at once; take a break and return to your lawn chair for a musical interlude.

#5 = WEATHER - Don’t sweat the weather. The large professional grade tents will keep you shaded and covered. Historically, the weather on this date has been made to order. And, there are plenty of beverages both iced and hot to keep your body temperature feeling “just right.”

#4 = FAMILY FRIENDLY - This festival is the best family-friendly event in North Carolina. With no alcohol and no smoking, tobacco, or vaping permitted, you can feel good about bringing guests of all ages. Registered nurses staff a  First Aid tent; handicapped parking and assistance is available,  and volunteers called “Servants” work hard to make your festival experience an unforgettable one. Registered guide dogs are allowed.

#3 = PICKER'S PLACE - If you like to pick, then you will feel right at home here with a special pavilion for those folks who want to do more than just watch. Pull up a chair next to some of the best musicians in the world; you never know who you'll meet. 

#2 = ANTIQUE CAR SHOW - That's right. We have cars too! These beauties are located next to the canteen behind the main tent. They are so close to the music that you won't miss a note when you decide to go browse.

#1 = OPEN SEATING - CBC has always used first-come, first-serve, festival style seating. Since there are no assigned seats, you are free to come right down front and set up your chair. (No high-backs please!) Fortunately, there are no bad seats at CBC. All of the grounds provide good views of the stage, and the professional sound team makes sure that every note is crystal clear. 

For more details and to purchase tickets, click here: www.cbcbluegrass.com.

Partnership Made in Heaven

by Lisa Brewer

Lisa Brewer serves as Executive Director of Carolina Bible Camp Bluegrass Festival.

For the past two years, AGAPE of NC has sponsored the Kids’ Activities tent at Carolina Bible Camp Bluegrass Festival. The event is the nation’s only bluegrass festival held at a Bible camp promoting Bible study and wholesome recreation. In fact, it might just be the most family-friendly festival around. And that works out well for a partnership between CBC and AGAPE.

More than two thousand guests have visited the festival on the second Saturday of September since AGAPE began sponsoring a children’s area. Multi-generational families with members of all ages have enjoyed the best in bluegrass artists, tasty meals, a classic car show, and a variety of free crafts activities. The AGAPE of NC’s Kids’ Activities tent has featured Bible crafts, recyclables for art projects, a Bible coloring page and free face painting. Each year, a “Save the Date” coloring page has been designed by artist and CBC camper, Melea Womack, of the Charlotte area (she doubles as a face painter).

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“Our involvement with Carolina Bible Camp Bluegrass Festival began because we wanted to increase our own organization's profile,” said AGAPE of NC ExecutiveDirector, Kimberly Scott. “The festival gave us a very appropriate venue in which to do that. What makes this a great place for AGAPE to be is the audience. Guests who attend this event believe in family values. And if they have not experienced strong families before, we can demonstrate what they look like here.”

The annual bluegrass festival is a fundraiser for the Bible camp’s capital development and scholarship funds. No child has ever been turned away from Carolina Bible Camp due to an inability to pay. In fact, every camper’s fee is kept low and supplemented by the fundraiser.

Performing artists are chosen carefully by the festival committee to ensure family-friendly listening. Alcohol and tobacco products are not permitted at the Camp at any time, including during the festival.

Carolina Bible Camp is situated on sixty-eight wooded acres in Mocksville, NC. Cabins are rustic in design with modern accommodations including heat, air-conditioning, and private bathrooms. A dining hall with commercial grade kitchen comfortably seats 250 at one time. Outdoor activities include walking trails, in-ground pool (open during summer camp weeks only), beach volleyball, jungle gym, disc golf and more. The largest outdoor shelter is a popular gathering spot for a cappella singing during camping weeks.  During the bluegrass festival, it becomes a Pickers’ Place for instrumentalists who want to “jam.” More than 100 volunteers work together to create a memorable family festival experience for guests.

In addition to sponsoring the Kids’ Activities tent, Scott and other AGAPE representatives promoted AGAPE at a separate booth at the bluegrass festival.

“This has given us a means to engage with festival guests directly,” Scott explained. “We have had many special conversations about exploring foster family service and supporting AGAPE’s mission in various ways."

“We believe in the healing qualities of music, fun, and fellowship,” Scott said. “Those activities are so important to families, and they are highlighted at Carolina Bible Camp Bluegrass Festival. With Christ as the foundation of the Camp and the foundation of AGAPE, we know we are at the right place to share Christ as the foundation of the family.”

The seventh annual Carolina Bible Camp Bluegrass Festival is scheduled for Saturday, September 8, 2018. Performing artists include Grammy winner Alison Brown; acclaimed Bobby Hicks, Mark Kuykendal & Asheville Bluegrass; returning favorite Tim White & Troublesome Hollow; 2017 MerleFest band competition winners The Trailblazers; 2016 MerleFest band competition winners Fireside Collective; the popular Snyder Family Band; and famed pre-war stringband musician Dwight “Sawman” Hawkins. For more information, please contact Lisa Brewer at spchwoman@ aol.com or visit www.cbcbluegrass.com.