You don’t have to be a foster parent to have a significant impact on the life of children in foster care. There are many ways in which our “extended family” of volunteers contribute to helping young people heal after the wounds of abuse and neglect. If you have time and a heart for helping, we want to hear from you. There are three primary ways to help.
Join or start a support team
Most Fostering Hope volunteers serve as “aunts, uncles and grandparents” to local foster families. We recruit from faith communities teams of volunteers – typically 4-8 households – to walk with a single foster family through their ups and downs. These volunteers provide both practical and emotional support to both parents and the kids.
It’s rewarding and impactful work, but it is not a casual commitment. Stability is essential in healing and moving on after trauma, so we seek volunteers who are willing to make long-term commitments and stick it out when things are tough. This sometimes means hearing or witnessing painful things, and being there for years as these kids grow and experience life’s ups and downs.
Types of help include:
- Date nights for the parents
- Providing meals
- Helping with laundry
- Transportation to appointments or school activities
- Helping with homework
- Having coffee with a foster mom when things are tough
If you are part of a faith community that already provides a Fostering Hope support team, you can simply apply to join them. If you are part of a faith community that is not yet involved with us, but should be, we want to hear from you.
Helping Young Adults who “Age out” of foster care
Life for a young adult leaving home is a tough time for anyone, but it is especially difficult for youth who “age out” or emancipate from foster care. They face an uneven playing field compared to their peers, with few if any adult relationships or resources. Without support, they are at significant risk of homelessness, unemployment, or criminality.
Fostering Hope volunteers serve as adult friends to these teens and young adults before and after they leave foster care. Like good family friends, these volunteers provide emotional support, offer help with life skills, and assist with practical challenges such as getting a job.
Volunteers participate in group activities with one another and with young adults as a way to build community. As organic relationships grow out of this community, some volunteers become more involved in helping with daily challenges.
Supporting the mission with special projects
Working with foster families or young adults requires a commitment and emotional investment that not everyone is able to make. That’s OK. If you are interested in serving with us, there are plenty of other ways to get involved throughout the year. These include:
- Hosting an informational meeting
- Helping with special events like our annual fundraiser or family-style picnic
- Assisting young adults when they move into a new apartment, or when we have opportunities to accept donated furniture
- Supporting needs around the office
- Providing as-needed transportation help
If you have a heart for what we do, we want to hear from you.