May is National Foster Care Month, a time to raise awareness about the issues facing youth in foster care and the need for all children to have a safe, stable home. It’s also a time to celebrate the many caring individuals across the country, including foster parents, social workers, teachers and others who share a mission of ensuring that every child has a nurturing home environment and a bright future.
This month, The MENTOR Network and its partners recognize foster parents and Host Home providers, who we call Mentors, for all they do to support children in need.
“Welcoming a child into one’s home requires limitless compassion, determination and the desire to help a child who has had difficult life experiences heal and thrive,” said Patti Maguire, Vice President, Operations, Hastings Group, for The MENTOR Network. “This month, we honor those individuals who open their homes and hearts to give children a stable, loving home and help them envision a positive future. We also honor the caring staff who have dedicated their careers to supporting children in foster care. Without their commitment, the work we do would not be possible.”
Programs across The Network are honoring foster parents and host home providers with special events and appreciation activities. Here are a few of the exciting events happening throughout the month:
Alabama MENTOR will host many foster parent appreciation events across the state, from potluck dinners to picnics to barbecue and traditional Southern fried chicken. The events will feature awards, games and giveaways for the children.
Alabama MENTOR staff have also used Foster Care Month to reach out to the community about the needs of children in foster care. Staff sent letters to the editor of local newspapers, set up library exhibits and made presentations at churches to promote the month and honor foster parents for the nurturing support they provide children in their care. Recruiters provided a cooling station at the Norma Livingston 5k and Fun Run for ovarian cancer in Homewood on May 9, an opportunity to share about the need for foster parents. In addition, the Attala program will have a booth at Relay for Life on May 16.
On May 1, Ohio MENTOR’s Dayton Therapeutic Foster Care program celebrated Foster Care Month with two special foster parent skill development sessions provided by an engaging trauma-informed service expert. During both sessions, foster parents were treated to home-cooked food, raffle drawings and giveaways to let them know personally how much Ohio MENTOR appreciates all they do for the children they serve.
On May 6, Massachusetts MENTOR held its annual Commitment to Caring Awards, honoring foster parents, staff and individuals served who have shown an extraordinary spirit of caring, going above and beyond to improve quality of life for others in their community.
On May 16, Pennsylvania MENTOR will host an appreciation event, treating foster parents and families in the Harrisburg/Central Pennsylvania area to a ride on the Pride of the Susquehanna, an authentic stern-driven paddle wheel riverboat. This amazing trip down the river will be followed by a picnic lunch. A day at a baseball field for foster parents and families is also being planned for later in the month, along with other festivities.
Pennsylvania MENTOR’s Foster Care Month celebration continues into June, with a foster parent appreciation brunch with a gift basket raffle in Pittston on June 5.
On May 30, Indiana MENTOR will host a foster parent appreciation picnic in Highland, Indiana, where they will recognize their Foster Parent of the Year, an award given out annually. Indiana MENTOR will also give the Forever Family award to those who have adopted children they have fostered during the past year. The event will feature lunch as well as fun and games.