I could probably say this for every season every year, but Advent has really flown by this year! Advent is the shortest of the seasons observed by the church, just four Sundays. Because of quirks in the interaction between the church calendar and the secular one, Advent doesn’t always even last a full four weeks—such as this year when the Fourth Sunday of Advent happens to fall on December 24th and is, thus, also Christmas Eve!

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For more than 10 years, Saint Francis Ministries’ “Christmas for Kids” campaign has delivered the spirit of the season to children in foster care. That’s because, as one of our most beloved programs, “Christmas for Kids” provides children in foster care with their own Christmas present under the tree.

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Saint Francis Ministries has partnered with Scheels® Wichita to give several youth in foster care a special Christmas this year. Dubbed “Shop with a Cop,” Scheels will present 10 teens with a $500 gift card, which they can then use to shop this Sunday before the store opens. Each teen will also be teamed with a law enforcement officer during their shopping spree.

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Gratitude. It’s a game-changer. Christian theologian Meister Eckhart said, "If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is ‘Thank you’, that will be enough.” Gratitude simply makes life better – for children, for families, for organizations.

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Thanksgiving reminds us of the reasons for gratitude in our lives, especially the family and friends that brighten our days and remind us that we are loved. Yet for many children in foster care, the holidays – especially Christmas – means separation from those they love most. That’s why Saint Francis’ “Christmas for Kids” program is so important.

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One of the reasons that Saint Francis Ministries has remained a leader in the field of child and family welfare for more than 78 years is the expertise and skill our people bring to the table. Across the field, Saint Francis staff are regularly recognized for their research, innovation, advocacy, and contributions to advancing the care of children and families.

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November is National Adoption Month, and nationwide about 114,000 children and youth wait to be adopted. For us, it presents an opportunity to raise awareness of adoption issues, acknowledge the need for adoptive families for teens in the U.S. foster care system, and emphasize the importance of youth engagement. All these are represented through this year’s theme – “Empowering Youth: Finding Points of Connection.”

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