By Melanie Wilson
When I became a foster parent I had no idea about organizations out there that help foster children. I’ve learned a lot since then and want to share some of these organizations and how you can help!
This week’s organization is called Unite A Foster Care Ministry. This organization is a nonprofit based out of Benton. The group wants to improve the experiences of children in foster care through partnerships with churches and local businesses.
Unite looks to identify the biggest challenges facing foster children and implement programs to address these issues. Unite uses advocacy and programs to help foster children. Their goal is to help foster children with normalcy. It doesn’t seem possible because everything has changed but Unite looks to provide experiences for foster children like going to the zoo, taking dance/gym/karate classes, and other small things that all children should be able to experience.
Unite has two main components: The One Program Luke 15:4 and Fosterships.
The One Program is focused on junior and seniors in high school that are about to age out of the system. These are foster homes that work to help the children as they age out. Unfortunately most children that age out have been to several different homes so the goal for these placements during their junior and senior of high school is to work towards meaningful relationships and to help them succeed after graduation.
Fosterships are basically scholarships for foster children. Unite works with donors to provide the funds for this and work with local businesses to help provide extracurriculars. The state provides $200 annually to foster children for extracurriculars but that is just a small amount considering how much most extracurriculars cost plus supplies needed. So Unite helps with the cost.
Another thing Unite does is partner with family activity businesses to provide experiences for foster families. Zoos, museums, bowling alleys, AirU, and so many other places in the Shreveport area provide passes for foster families.
Unite has been active in the Shreveport/Bossier area for awhile. I am so excited that a local business has worked hard with Unite the past few months and that Unite is now active in Natchitoches!
Unite has partnered with Dazzle Dance Center, Natchitoches Flipping Athletics, and Light City Martial Arts to provide fosterships for area foster children. There are five fosterships a month for each extracurricular.
So how can you help?
First you can pray. Pray for foster children, their biological families, their foster families, caseworkers, and those that are working hard to help foster children with normalcy.
Second you can volunteer. Unite has events and daily operations that you can help out with.
Third you can donate. Your donations go to help provide fosterships and help with events the organization puts on.
This organization is amazing and you, your business, your church, or your civic group can help make a #fosterfriendlyla right here in our community.
DID YOU KNOW? It doesn’t take much to help foster children! Donate or volunteer with one of the many organizations that help. Or simply pray!