It’s been said that “timing is everything.” Consider how often a chance encounter has altered the direction of a life – or lives? Kim Johnson never saw it coming, yet five years ago she embarked on a journey that has provided hope and empowerment to dozens of youths in foster care - while healing herself along the way.
Joseph’s younger sister, Vanessa, passed away four days after giving birth in December 2018. At her death, her two daughters from a previous relationship went to live with their birth father’s family. Four days after her mother passed, Alexis turned 10 years old. The girls entered foster care in January 2018, and in April, they came to live with Joseph and Tonya as a kinship placement. None of their lives would be the same – and yet, they were all the better for it.
Headed for an appointment across town with two little children in the back seat, the last thing Carolyn needed was car trouble. Yet, that’s what she got. Ever since she volunteered to provide kinship care to her 3- and 4-year-old relatives, she’d relied on that car to transport them to doctor appointments, visitations, and case management meetings. Now she had no vehicle. And though she works full-time, the repair costs were way beyond her means. She relayed her predicament to her Saint Francis case worker, who submitted a needs request to CarePortal, and within hours a local church stepped up to pay for Carolyn’s car repairs.
The COVID-19 pandemic created an unprecedented shift in how Saint Francis Ministries approaches the services we provide for children and families. Impacts from the pandemic unfolded over several months in the communities where Saint Francis works, and the organization expects to see long-term challenges. With an initial focus on supporting staff and clients in staying safe and healthy, Saint Francis has begun to develop new ways of serving children and families.
Military families posted far from home often must rely on each other for support. This is especially true for those who serve children in need, along with serving their country. Nicole Berry knows this firsthand. She considers her Army friends and neighbors as much of a family as any connected genetically. The same goes for her spiritual family at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church.
At first, Silas Pederson believed the task too big. The idea that he and Micah, fresh from college and newly married, could capably care for a blind and deaf child facing a mountain of medical issues seemed ludicrous. The prospect of disruption and trials frightened and overwhelmed him. So, he did what he typically does when the path is uncertain - he prayed.
Lydia Lund prayed for eight years that her husband, Tyler, would share in her desire for them to become foster parents. Thanks to a career in social work, she knew firsthand the effect a good foster parent can have on the life of a child. Although not completely opposed to the idea, Tyler just wasn’t sure if it was a good option for them. He and Lydia had recently started their own family and already had two little girls, ages five and two. Then one day, following a conversation with friends who are foster parents, something clicked with Tyler. Three weeks later the Salina couple were in a foster parent training course. “I knew that once he decided, we would go all in,” said Lydia.