I first experienced the programs of For The Children as a foster mom, when the children in my home went to Royal Family KIDS Camp. It all seemed too good to be true… but it was absolutely true! The children were really being gifted a full week of summer camp. The volunteers would be trained to work with kids who had experienced trauma. And, the children would learn about a God who was brimming with love for them.
My children came home with stories of hiking, sleeping in cabins, singing songs and roasting s’mores. They showed me memory books with photos and notes from their counselors. And they settled back into our home with an ease that showed they had been cared for well.
After sending my children to camp, I became a loyal fan of For The Children. And earlier this year, I was entrusted with the immense privilege of serving the organization as the new President.
How We Help
For The Children equips churches in 44 states and in 12 countries to provide our signature programs—Royal Family KIDS Camp and Mentoring—to children ages 6-12 who have experienced relational trauma. Specifically, we serve children affected by foster care. This year, our chapters have served over 6,400 children!
We know that, without intervention, young adults who have grown up in foster care are at much higher risk than their peers to experience homelessness, incarceration, teen pregnancy and human trafficking. But we also know that the best predictor of overcoming these obstacles is something that we can provide proactively through camps and mentoring: a relationship with a safe, caring adult.
Living the Dream
My dream for this organization is that children’s lives would be changed.
First, we seek to grow the number of children we are able to serve. I dream that every child in foster care would have an opportunity to participate in For The Children programs.
Today, For The Children is blessed to work with over 200 chapters who provide mentoring and/or camp experiences to children in their local areas. Still, there are places across the United States where children have no access to our programs. Six states are waiting: Kentucky, Mississippi, Delaware, Maine, Rhode Island and Vermont. In many states where we do have chapters, the need is much greater than our partners can manage. We are praying for new church partners to join us in city centers like St. Louis, Atlanta, New York City and Houston.
Life change happens when children have family. (Psalm 68:6) That’s why “family” is part of the Royal Family KIDS program name. Many children in our programs have said that they experienced a sense of family through camp or mentoring. We rejoice when kids discover that adults can be safe. Many children participate in our programs year-round throughout their childhood, experiencing deep and trusting relationships that carry them into adulthood.
I also believe that children in foster care can experience their greatest degree of healing in the families they live with. Finding foster and adoptive families for school-aged children can be difficult, which is why so many of them live in group homes or with short-term families.
But every year, thousands of volunteers in our programs discover how precious these children are! So, it’s no wonder that after experiencing camp or mentoring, over 100 volunteers per year begin the process to foster or adopt children. I dream of continuing to grow the number of families formed through our programs, being part of the solution to find homes for every child who needs a family.
This season, will you keep dreaming with us?