As a young person, I discovered a calling to help others by experiencing short-term mission trips. Visiting the Philippines in high school and Mexico in college gave me a window to the world outside my community. I woke up to the needs of the world and asked God to send me.
Were those needs present in the world before I woke up to them? Certainly. But it took me getting close to the need in order to develop a heart of compassion.
As my friend Jay Bonner says, “Proximity creates compassion.”
That’s how it works with foster care, too. Many Americans have never given foster care a second thought, much less personally known a child in foster care.
For The Children changes that!
Every year, over 10,000 volunteers serve children in foster care directly through our Royal Family KIDS Camps and Mentoring. Each of these volunteers may start with a vague idea that children need help, but they leave with personal relationships. Their idea of “a foster child” transforms into a person: Mia. Chase. DJ. Bella.
My dream for volunteers is to see an awakening of all generations— teenagers, college students, soccer moms, business leaders, grandparents—discovering their calling to care for children.
And guess what? That dream is already well on its way.
When I attended camp with FTC Fullerton this summer, I met volunteers whose dreams for the future have been shaped by our Royal Family KIDS programs. One couple has started the process to become foster parents. Another couple told me that they plan to foster and adopt as soon as they’re ready to become parents. Several young women and one young man said they plan to become social workers.
Across the country, over 100 of our volunteers each year decide to become foster parents because of their experience volunteering in our programs.
Other volunteers find their calling in coming back year after year to be part of camp and mentoring programs. I met countless men and women who have been involved for over 20 years. One elderly gentleman met with the children from each cabin to tell them, “God had a plan for my life. He planned for me to be right here with you, and He has a plan for your life too.”
These volunteers are making a real, life-changing difference in the lives of children who have experienced relational trauma. It’s exciting to see communities come around their most vulnerable children, one volunteer at a time.