Happy Holiday Season to Our Amazing AWFC Families!
Each year seems to fly by and we get to the holiday season before we know it! Labor Day to Christmas is sometimes just a blur. We have luncheons, school parties, recitals, football games, etc, etc. But, during this very busy holiday season, I want to just take a breath, take a moment, and reflect on the remarkable family of AWFC. The family of our staff members, the family that you join when you’re licensed, and most importantly, the family you create each time that a child walks through your door should be honored. The special relationship that we have with you and that you pass along to the children that are placed with you cannot be taken for granted. I am blessed to hear stories throughout the year of your advocacy, your love, your perseverance, your commitment to your family members. These children are not yours biologically and they may only pass through your doors for a short time but no one would know that because you treat them like they are your children. When they enter your home, they become a Smith, a Hernandez, a …. You teach them what it is to have a family. You teach them what it means to be able to rely on someone. You teach them unconditional love. For many of the children we serve, they have never known the meaning of family and what you model may be the only perception they ever have. Children who age out of the system can point to a family years before that taught them life lessons and impacted them in sometimes just a few months. So, during the hustle and bustle of the holidays, take time to reflect on what you are creating in your home, take time to realize the handprints that you are putting on young lives; take time to appreciate yourself and all you are giving to this world. Please know that we appreciate every single one of you and that you are the heart and soul of AWFC.
Goodbye Summer … Hello Fall Summer began with a BANG as we honored our foster parents with Appreciation Events!
A World for Children undoubtedly has the most fabulous foster parents in Texas. With over 450 foster families spread across the State served by 14 offices, we are so proud to stand up and shout about the quality of families who serve our children. ( see Page 6 regarding the “celebrations” ) Graduation: For the fourth year in a row, 100% of AWFC seniors graduated from high school! We attribute that to good collaboration with schools, impressing the importance of school and graduation by foster parents, staff and Launch Camp. So proud of our GRADUATES ! FIESTA TEXAS AND AWFC FUN Once again AWFC staff and families from across the State invaded Fiesta Texas. Over 1600 staff and families, all wearing blue shirts, gathered in June to enjoy the day. Smiles, giggles and squeals of delight filled the park: all the sounds of happy kids as they enjoyed a taste of what childhood should be! AWFC Launch Camp A few weeks after Fiesta Texas, AWFC staff fully geared up for FIESTA in Giddings, Texas! Going forward with full “fiesta” energy, approximately 100 staff and teens arrived for the four day camp focused on preparing for life after care. ( see page 7 for more details ) Back to School Celebrations Blending “fun” with subtle reminders of the importance of education, AWFC staff created a variety of events as reminders of the importance of success in upcoming school. ( See page 9 for more details )
Elves calling … time to mark your calendars !
December 1: Dallas/Burleson 5pm-7pm Calvary Baptist Church 401 W,. Church, Grand Prairie, TX December 2: Tyler 2pm-5pm Cross Brand Cowboy Church 11915 FM 2015, Tyler, TX December 4: Houston 6pm - 8pm St John the Divine 2450 River Oaks Blvd, Houston TX December 5: Corpus Christi 630pm - 9pm Northshore Country Club 801 Broadway Blvd., Portland TX
December 6: McAllen Brownsville 630pm - 9pm Regency Hall 207 E Ferguson Ave, Pharr TX
November 27: Amarillo 6pm - 8pm South Georgia Baptist Church 5209 Georgia Street, Amarillo TX November 28: El Paso 6pm - 8pm Gumball 11540 Pellicano Drive, El Paso TX November 30: Brownwood 6pm - 8pm Aldersgate Enrichment Center 5001 US 84 , Early TX December 1: Wichita Falls 1145am – 2pm Wichita Falls Elks Lodge 4205 Seymour Hey, Wichita Falls TX
December 8: San Antonio/Victoria 11am - 2pm Catholic Life Building Conference Room 1635 NE Interstate 410 Loop San Antonio, TX December 9: Round Rock 3pm - 5pm Georgetown Community Center 445 E. Morrow Drive, Georgetown TX
Education for children in care often is the difference between breaking the cycle of abuse and continuing the cycle for another generation. AWFC works hard to break the cycle by focusing on the importance of education:
Back to school “celebration” - Because AWFC believes in the importance of education, we like to “celebrate” the beginning of school. Often that celebration includes a pool party.
Back to school supplies - Each school aged child in our care receives a new backpack and new school supplies. They are provided by donors and AWFC. It is important that our children/teens have the “tools” to success as well as self- esteem of having what other children have. Our donors are so helpful and important in realizing this goal!
New clothes for the first days of school - AWFC feels the importance of our children having a new outfit(s) for the beginning days of school and provides each one with $100 to ensure each child feels special with new clothes. Our foster families provide all the basics as well as school clothes for the year. Looking “good” in a child’s mind helps with self esteem.
LAUNCH Camp - AWFC teens begin their journey to Launch Camp each summer. Some of our teens go as many as 4 years - others go the number of years they are in our care. One of the many objectives of Launch camp is to put a practical spin on the importance of education. As teens get closer to emancipation, they are more susceptible to the value of education as is stressed in Launch Camp.
For fourth year running, all A World for Children seniors graduated from high school! With a national average of 40% of foster care students graduating from high school, AWFC is proud of all our seniors. AWFC feels this is a direct result of the above mentioned support from the foster parents, staff and agency. Go 2018 Seniors —you can become anything you want!
Fiesta-ing for 4 Days! Launch Camp 2018
Shines with all the EXTRAS
A World for Children has always been focused on providing the best care possible for it’s children and families for 21 years. Our children …. Fiesta Texas - Many of our children have never been out of their county, spent the night in a hotel with a swimming pool or gone to a theme park. AWFC takes all our families and children to FIESTA TEXAS on the 4th Saturday of June. We provide help with gas, hotels and a fabulous picnic on the grounds of Fiesta Texas. Each year we purchase 1300 to 1800 tickets to the park, AWFC t-shirts for everyone, parking passes, lunch and game souvenirs. The smiles and giggles from the kids makes one’s heart grow huge and eyes tear up. One little boy came up to staff and said, “this is the best day of my whole life!” This event costs AWFC approximately $80,000 and is worth every penny. Seeing the sea of blue t-shirts reminds each child they are not the only one in care and what a great subject to write about on their first day back to school! Launch Camp - Instilling the importance of education and preparation for independent living are crucial for teens to overcome failure and reach out for success in their future. With this in mind, AWFC has created a Launch Program with the highlight being the 4 day Launch Camp. Taking all our 14-18+ teens to camp each year has really made an impact; for the past 4 years 100% of our seniors have graduated from high school. This is a big deal as the national average of foster teens graduating is only 40%. With a variety of topics and activities, Launch Camp creates a environment of respect, positivity, self esteem and acceptance. This venture costs from $80,000 to $100,000. Education: A Necessity - Each fall our children are sent back to school with a big send off…. A party begins the hoopla with a celebration encouraging success. Additionally, each school aged child receives $100 to purchase a special first day of school outfit; we believe self esteem is important! Each child also receives a new backpack filled with brand new school supplies from donations by the agency. Beginning school on equal ground as the other children makes a big difference. Unfortunately there is a price tag of approximately $80,000 attached…. Again worth every penny! Jump Start - Many of our children come to us in the middle of the night and are often wrapped in a blanket with nothing… NOTHING! Because they often come with siblings, their immediate needs can be overwhelming to a family. AWFC gives each family $150 per child to buy the immediate necessities—pjs, underwear, school clothes, shoes, car seats, diapers, etc. just to get them started. Placing approximately 1500 children a year at $150 per child, AWFC’s outlay is $225,000. A hefty sum but an important one to help our families get a good “jump start” on providing the best care to our children.
Christmas parties and gifts - “ What a wonderful time of the year !” For many people this is true, but not for many foster children. For the most part, they have faced dismal Christmases in the past with no Santa Claus, no gifts, no tree, no Christmas feast. Although we cannot change the past, we can impact the present! AWFC sponsors parties for all of our children in the 14 areas we serve—elaborate parties complete with gifts from their wish lists, a banquet of food, entertainment, decorations, and a $50 gift card for them to purchase gifts for others or for themselves. What an event! Just the gift cards are over $40,000 with an additional $100,000 for parties and gifts. Our donors are a wesome in supporting the gift drive! These “extras” for our children cost AWFC, with help from our donors, approximately $600,000. Variations of this amount have been spent every year of our 21 year existence. The amount has varied and grown based on the number of children we serve during the year. When we say “kids first” we mean it with staff time and energy, with our limited funds and with the help of the communities. Praise God for the A World for Children family who are truly dedicated to the mission! For Our Families... Mileage and Expense Reimbursement - $0.45 a mile for certain required trips as well as expenses for required overnight trips. Respite - A quarterly respite allowance is provided for parents to take a break for the weekend or for a date night. Christmas Gifts - Each foster parent is given a $50 check and a gift from AWFC. Bio and adopted children living at home are given a Christmas gift from their wish list.
Appreciation of Foster Parents - Each area provides a celebration of families during National Foster Parent month. This includes a gift from the agency.
Training - In addition to the regular monthly training made available to families in each area, mini training conferences are provided in many areas. Additionally, dues and registration fees are paid for parents to attend the Texas Foster Family Association conferences. Jump Start Monies - $150 per new placement is given to assist the foster parent with the expenses of providing the immediate needs of children coming into care. Often the children come into care with virtually nothing so this is a crucial assistance.
24/7 On-Call Assistance - A staff member is on call 24/7 in each area. Additionally a clinically trained staff is also available.
Staff Support - Staff visit in each foster home a minimum of twice a month, despite being required to only visit once a month. Additionally, case managers can be contacted by phone or will come to the home as needed. Clinical staff is available for consultation. Management team and Administrative team are available by phone or by appointment.
Reimbursement and expenses - These funds are deposited twice a month.
All foster parents receive reimbursement—the additions stated are provided to AWFC foster parents to assist in their journey to give exceptional care to our foster children. Currently AWFC has 500+ families serving 800+ foster children across the state of Texas.
Through our 21 years of service to foster children in Texas, AWFC has served over 15,000 children with the assistance of 2200 foster parents. Truly God has blessed our efforts in car- ing for His children. A BIG “THANK YOU” TO OUR FABULOUS FOSTER PARENTS.
Our very own caseworker, Alexis Caldwell , is now Mrs. Stratton Boone! Not only was it a beautiful wedding and she a beautiful bride but it was also nice to attend this wedding with all of our office and realize that I don’t work for AWFC but I am a part of the AWFC family. “ I am so proud to call A World For Children my Family! ” - Samantha Taggart
SPOTLIGHTING A Corpus Christi Family
By Gilbert Garcia, Clinical Director
Ms. Angelica Salcido adopted JulianJames (JJ) on May 9, 2018. He was placed in her home two years prior in May 2016. Like most of our placements this was a regular foster care placement. JJ was 5 weeks old when he arrived in the Salcido home. Ms. Angie was nurturing and affectionate with Julian and they quickly formed an attachment. After almost a year, in April 2017, parental rights were terminated. Ms. Angie always wanted to adopt him and always said “my JJ.” She remembers holding him to feed him and feeling that he was hers. There was an obstacle and because Julian was one year old, he would not be receiving his benefits once he was adopted. Ms. Angie did not think this was fair to JJ and she waited for time to pass while running the risk that they’d move Julian to a different home. The angels answered Ms. Salcido’s prayers and shortly after Julian turned two he was adopted by Ms. Angie. Julian and Ms. Angie have a very strong attachment and their love for each other can be observed by anyone that sees them. Ms. Angie is hoping to adopt another child who will also be a brother or sister to Julian James.
Halloween AWFC Style !
Angels Do Walk Among Us
Doug and Tammy Kegarise from our Tyler-kana office, or the “Upper East Side” as Ashleigh likes to call it, have been with A World for Children 20 years as of August 17 th of this year. The family has served 55 children and adopted 7 during their tenure as foster parents. The Kegarise’s are one of our most versatile and devoted families serving children from Basic to Specialized as well as children with medical concerns and behavioral issues that other families might not attempt. They are supported by extended family members including adopted children that as adults now work as foster home staff. Their son, Brandon, continues to work with them in a supportive role by mentoring his siblings to the point of finding them jobs, cars, etc. He and his wife both work in the home as support staff. Tammy’s sister and brother-in-law adopted a foster child they met in the Kegarise home. Their niece, Danielle, became a case worker for the state due to the influence this home had on her life. The entire family has come together along with their church and community to create a safe harbor for children they hope to become a shelter in honor of Danielle. The Kegarise home has been a stepping stone for adults in extended foster care to reach a point of independence so that they can be more successful adults. The couple even purchased the house across the street to rent rooms to ex-foster children that need a little support and assistance through the ups and downs of adult life. This couple has a heart for children from tough places that they feel God has called them to love and protect from the minute they enter their homes. Every child feels that they are Mom and Dad no matter how briefly they lived there. The number of children that return for holidays, advice, or just to say “thank you” is beyond measure and the joy they receive from something as simple as watching one of their kiddos volunteer to change a tire is what our world is all about.
Out of tragedy, comes hope...
Danielle, a CPS worker, along with her Aunt Tammy Kegarise, an AWFC foster parent, had a heart for children and a vision to begin an emergency children's shelter in East Texas. Although Danielle’s untimely death prevented her from completing this work, the acute need remains. Danielle spent many nights sleeping in a CPS office caring for children who had not yet found a home. Danielle and Tammy wanted to change this practice; a critical issue that is unknown to most people. Danielle was a safe haven for many children and now her dream is coming true due to the hard work of Danielle’s mom Fayed Wardlaw, Tammy Kegarise and many other folks in the community of Gladewater, Texas. Danielle’s Home of Hope will be a temporary home for children needing care and a loving place to stay. Jesus Loves the Little Children Outreach Ministry has joined with Danielle’s Home of Hope to fulfill their vision of a children’s emergency shelter. A home next door to Tammy has been purchased and transformed into Danielle’s Home of Hope and will operate as a shelter serving 6 children. The home was basically gutted and transformed into a beautiful shelter with a true home environment. The Gladewater community and surrounding areas has embraced the project and has donated the funding for the transformation of the facility and outfitted the shelter with all the basic supplies. Ashleigh Wilkes, executive director of AWFC, along with Paul and Sharon Willis, founders of AWFC, recently visited the Shelter. They were all in agreement on congratulating this group for creating a fabulous facility and moving forward with Danielle’s vision for East Texas foster children.
Danielle’s Hope inspires more success!
Another beautiful story centers around Nathan Doplin. He is a former foster child who came to the Kegarise family at the age of 8. The predictions for Nathan were bleak—it was suggested he needed the help of an RTC or he would end up in jail by the age of 18. After leaving care, Nathan has returned to help the Kegarise family work on the shelter. In addition to the many hours Nathan has donated to the shelter he has also made donations to the effort. According to Tammy, Nathan has currently been working at McDonalds for the past year. On a recent outing with the Kegarises, Nathan asked Tammy to stop the car so he could change the tire of an elderly couple. He is currently saving for his own car. Currently his ambition is to be an electrician as a result of his work on the shelter.
Tammy stated, “We are very proud of the young man Nathan is becoming!”
WARNING : Long and tearful post ahead!! Before Eric and I were married we knew the chance of us being able to have our own babies was very slim. We knew, however, that God was bigger than any problem we had. Just a month or so before our wedding our church was in revival with Bro. Todd Sloggett. During one of the altar services I heard the voice of God, telling me, "you will have a baby." After we were married I was telling Eric one night what God had told me. He then told me, "I never told you this, but that night God told me the same thing!" We began to excitedly look forward to when we would be gifted our precious baby. In May of last year, we had a miscarriage. It was the hardest thing I've ever had to go through and so "unfair" because God had promised me! (I thought) There are no words to describe the pain and sense of loss for a little one we never knew. Through the coming months we felt God leading us into foster care. The months rolled by and placements came and went. On what would have been the due date of my baby, I was sitting in the room of a very angry, very sad and very upset little boy. It did not help of course that I, too, had all of those feelings and more. The nights were long and tiring, and every night seemed like a huge mountain to climb. After all the fighting, screaming and throwing was over; and he was too exhausted to fight anymore, that little boy crawled into my lap and whispered, "I love you mommy." That was the instant I heard God's voice again. "Here's your baby.” From that moment on I never doubted, even though it was hard.
Months rolled by and he asked us to adopt him.
He chose his own name "Matthew Robert". Both are family names with significant meanings that he chose all by himself without any prompting. The name "Matthew" means "Gift of God" and I could not have chosen a more fitting name given our path to him.
This week we had our final court.
Today we were given permission to tell the world and we are ecstatic to announce :
We are adopting!!!
The Brownwood Team once again got together with Jana Jackson of Jana’s Shirt Shop on Facebook to sell our “In a World where you can be ANYTHING Be... KIND” shirts in hopes of raising Child Abuse Awareness. We sold over 180 shirts and made $1800. Thank you to all who supported us and helped us to make this fundraiser a success! Brownwood Foster Parents Go The Extra Mi le … Benny and Joan Gibson became a part of our World a mere one year and nine months ago but have already made such an indelible mark on the lives of so many! After adopting three grandchildren they still had it on their hearts to foster even more children! Their hard work and dedication to children earned them Foster Parents of the Year award this past May. The Gibsons, however, aren’t ones to rest on their laurels! With Christmas coming, Joan knew our World would be gearing up for all the festivities to come including securing sponsors for children’s gifts. So she took to social media and blasted out a heartfelt message about the Gibson family’s foster care journey and their dedication to continue serving children in need. She ended the missive with a plea to her friends and family to sponsor ten children for Christmas. At $50 per child that’s a whopping $500! But Joan was determined to make it happen and within an hour, she had more than half of her goal achieved! We are humbled by her drive to help support our mission; and by the giving hearts of her loved ones willing to step up to help!
Sharing this sweet story… One of our little girls has been wanting to go home so badly. Recently she found out she will be going home soon. She did a happy dance and then stopped abruptly and said she didn’t want to miss our Christmas party! She asked that if she went home before the party if I could take her as a guest! Luckily she should be going home after the party and that has made her very happy. That’s how much these kids enjoy the efforts of our staff’s hard work! Love and appreciate each one of our staff for making Christmas so MAGICAL!
What’s happening in the City by the Sea?
Area Director began in December
• Two new Case Managers Sarah Villanueva and Savanna Cassidy • 6 Adoptions thus far- Expecting total of 12 adoptions in 2018!
Cofer Family x2 Ruble Family x2 Lerma Family x2
10 new families thus far in 2018!
• Celebrated employee birthdays all year long!
• Tonya Martinez (CM) had a baby boy !
Our Case Manager Tonya Martinez delivered her first ever healthy 8 lb 10oz baby boy. Mom, dad and baby are doing amazing! Let’s send some positive blessings her way ❤
• Started monthly foster parent support groups in January!
• Children Advocacy Center Community event - AWFC was asked to participate in the first annual Pinwheels event in Corpus Christi put on by the Children’s Advocacy Center. • Christmas in July Recruitment Event - Mall event where we were able to recruit and give exposure to our agency
• CASA Ringing of the Bells Ceremony - Community event
• AWFC has been on the news twice this year to help promote awareness on fostering
• Participated in radio advertisement during the month of September to help support the campaign on “No Texting and Driving”
Easter Fundraising - 3/1/18 We were able to fundraise for 70 children in care. All children received an Easter Basket!
Zumba Master Class - 6/16/18 Zumba Class held to fundraise for Six Flag and Launch Camp
• 2 Hooks Concession Stand Games - 8/26/18 and 9/6/18 Worked the Concession stand at the Hooks Baseball games to raise funds for children’s events
• Kendra Scott - 4/27/18 and 11/2/18 Fundraised while at Kendra Scott for future Children’s events Grub Burger - 5/3/18 Fundraised while at Grub Burger Restaurant for future children’s events • Chipotle Restaurant Fundraiser- 4/20/18 Fundraised while at Chipotle Restaurant for future Children’s events •
Silver Start Jump Start Drive - 6/4/18 Local Store held a jump start drive for supplies
• Hooks Ticket Fundraiser - 8/2018 Partnered with the Hooks Baseball Team to sell tickets as a way to fundraise for future events • Dia De Los Muertos Festival - 10/27/18 AWFC was a vendor for Turkey Legs to help fundraise for future children’s events
• Foster Parent Appreciation - Held in May at the Corpus Christi State Aquarium. Honored all 2017 Foster parents with Trophies and Goodies. • Fiesta Texas - All our families from AWFC attended and had the best time. I was able to snapshot every single family while at the event.
• Launch Camp - AD/TD both attended and had the time of their lives having a group of kids.
• Back To School Supplies Drive - 20 businesses around the coastal bend community set up boxes created by AWFC staff and held school supply drive.
• Back to School Pool Party - All our families attended a pool party to celebrate back to school. It was held at the Northshore Country Club Pool (donated) in Portland Texas. • Thanksgiving Luncheon - Upcoming event planned for November • Winter Wonderland Christmas Party - Will be at Northshore Country Club Ballroom (Donated Location)
Corpus is BUSY!
Lerma Adoption Foster Parent Support Group
North Texas Burleson, Dallas, Tyler
What’s Happening in Dallas/Burleson/Tyler?
We have a Radio Show !!
Go to JoCo Community Radio on Facebook on Thursdays from 10:00- 11:00 to hear our fabulous Community Development Director Patti Rooks talking all things foster care!
We Moved !!
Our Dallas office is growing! We have new families and new support staff. To accommodate, we have moved to an office that better suits our needs and the needs of our families! We’re now located in the Turley Law Office Building at 6440 N Central Expressway in Dallas!
One our little boys in care drew this as a Christmas card. Out of the mouth of babes! Truly this child saw our mission in those who care for him, So precious! ”
2018—soon we will say goodbye to this year and wel- come 2019. As welcome a new year, it is always good to reflect on the past year.
AWFC did a lot of “fiesta—ing” this year. Our Launch Camp theme was “FIESTA” and we did party as well as create rela- tionships and learn some “life information.
AWFC also hosted a day at Fiesta in San Antonio. With over 1400 blue AWFC t-shirts in the park, we were like a tidal wave flowing everywhere in the park.
Each AWFC area honored their foster parents with a luncheon. Never can we overdo brag- ging on our foster families. They are incredible people who do an awesome job of picking up the pieces of a child whose life has been shattered. God has a special place for theses amaz- ing folks.
Education is so important for our children—it is necessary to break the chains of abuse as well as move forward in a life filled with joy, hap- piness and family, Back to School activities celebrated returning to school across the state.
Training is so important for our families to prepare them to work to normalize our traumatized children. We have monthly training AND we have special conferences in many of our regions.
Birthdays are special— many of our children have never celebrated their birth. Our families do it “UP RIGHT” with parties com- pleted with birthday cakes, presents and friends. Our children are big eyed and so excited to be the true cen- ter of attention for these events.
These are just a smattering of all the “experiences our children enjoy while living in OUR WORLD!
Painting With a Twist in Texarkana collaborated on a fundraiser for A World for Children during child abuse prevention and awareness month. The party had over 30 participants and Painting With a Twist donated 50% of the proceeds to A World for Children. We served snacks and gave away door prizes. Local boutique Abbey Gayle’s donated a pair of Kendra Scott earrings for the door prizes and Dallas foster parents Larry and Julio donated Dillards cosmetic products. Not only was it successful as a fundraiser, but also created additional community awareness!
Celebrating a very special Foster Family
Our Precious Friends – Mary and Ben, For the past 8 years our World has been blessed with the devoted efforts of your mission in life – serving God’s very special children. You are both so unique – no problem is too big, no challenge is overwhelming, and no child is beyond your heart. You have served God’s “special” children with no hesitation – these children often need 24/7 care and you have always jumped in with both feet. Truly there are angels that dwell among us and your wings have grown quite large as you have served over 100 children in your over 30 years of providing foster care in the Texarkana area. On a more personal note, Mary – your bubbly personality and sincere, caring spirit captured my heart at our first encounter. Ben – your overalls say it all – you are rock solid, without airs and complications; a man of your word; and a heart that quickly melts when a child is in need of anything. This generation is fixated on super heroes like Spiderman, Batman, etc. We are fixated on super heroes like the Patty’s. You bring light in the eyes of children who have little hope, you spend time in the midnight hours holding and rocking children who have nightmares regarding the trauma which has been inflicted on them. You take time to dress and groom these children with love for each individual soul. As I watch you with your children – your voice, your smile, your caring touch brings delight in the form of a smile, a giggle, or just a continued stare in your direction. As you retire, please know no one will ever fill your shoes – you ’re truly one of a kind. The stars that shine on our World will be a little less bright as you transition. But we also know it is time for you to rest and focus on these precious golden years ahead. You have given your life to serving God’s kids. Now God will hold your hand as He walks you up your mountain of accomplishment and dances with you on the summit. When the time comes you can rest on the knowledge that Jesus will be at the pearly gates waiting to welcome you with the coveted words – “well done my good and faithful servants”. Know we love you and your handprints will remain a fixture in our World. Paul and Sharon Willis
El Paso “ Fire ” Burns Bright with Foster Parent Appreciation
Foster Parents are Angels sent from Heaven to step in where biological parents have slipped by in the lives of their children. Every year, A World for Children honors Foster Parents with a luncheon especially for them, honoring the hard and dedicated work they do with the children placed in their home. This year, as they arrived to the restaurant, they were provided with a ticket for a special raffle held during lunch. The door prizes were beautiful! Pictured are some of the foster parents receiving their gifts presented by Oscar Milan.
AWFC also provided each foster parent with a unique gift especially made for them. This year, they were presented with a crystal plate engraved with their last name and a beautiful phrase. This was just our way of letting them know how much we love them, appreciate them and pray for them for their hard work in working with our children.
$5000 Award Grant to AWFC-El Paso Office from IICF The Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation (IICF) is dedicated to assisting people in
times of need. As such, the industry is uniquely suited to be a
philanthropic leader, adapting its skill-set to charitable endeavors. The IICF helps communities and enriches lives by combining the collective strengths of the industry to provide grants, volunteer service, and leadership. Since its inception, IICF has contributed over $25.3 million in local community grants, over 218,000 hours of volunteer service, and the leadership of over 25,000 industry volunteers for programs dealing with education, children at risk, health and safety, disaster preparedness, and the environment. It’s always an honor of IICF to give grant checks to organizations that provide services in the area of Children, Women’s Causes, Education and Veterans. Every year, IICF Southeast Associate Board members nominate various non-profit organizations. Those that are leading the way to enrich the lives of others. The board then votes on the nominees and presents them the grant funds during their annual outing. This year, A World For Children was nominated by Annabel M. Williams, MBA. IICF was honored to award grant funds to A World For Children , Our Friends Place and DFW Canines for Veterans. The grant fund to A World For Children was received by Ms. Ashleigh on behalf of the El Paso Office, at the annual fun-filled day of corn hole tournament, games, food and fun.
The wonderful employees of Rivera Orthodontics who are so graciously helping out our El Paso team for Christmas. As they have done in the past, two locations are hosting Christmas gifting trees to help make Christmas special for our kids. We are truly thankful for all of their support!
On a sunny Houston afternoon an 8 year old autistic boy (lets call him Mikey) was accepted into the home of Robert and Paulina Steele. The Steele’s have been fostering with AWFC for over 17 years and to date have served 27 children. Throughout the course of these many years they have learned not to sweat the small stuff and how to achieve a desired goal-no matter how simplistic it may seem. That’s what foster parents do, right? The day after placement I called Ms. Steele to see how their evening went transitioning Mickey into their home. She reported “well, he gets along well with the other kids, has a good appetite, and is a little anxious around the dog. Oh and by the way……he fought me when I was trying to get him into the bathroom to take a bath so I gave him a bath in the pool. Washed his hair and everything.” Without missing a beat Ms. Steele went on talking about other things. Days in the lives of foster parents are unique to say the least!
As AWFC Houston gears up for Christmas we are calling on our community to adopt a child’s wish list or help with a monetary donation. Santa has begun reviewing wish lists and had a few items that left him puzzled. These were: *Something purplee and sparklie *$1000 bucks *A book about potatoes *My 2 front teeth *A robot to do my homework Although Santa strives to get each child what they ask for, these might not make the cut… We promise—nothing so complicated!! Sometimes “redirection” is in order. PLEASE MAKE SURE A WISH OF EACH OF OUR CHILDREN COMES TRUE! Each year the community amazes us with their support. Hopefully this year will not disappoint. Please contact Barbara at our Houston office 713-622-5353 to help with our “elf task” of filling a Christmas wish for one of our special children!
Houston Staff, in their Astro attire are preparing to hit “the ball” out of the park as they begin preparation for the BEST ever Christmas for our kids in care.
AWFC in the Valley is always a “hive” of activity. This summer has been no exception. Keeping our kiddos busy with learning, knowledge and processing all the expectations is great preparation for the upcoming years as they become adults. In addition to a summer filled with Fiesta Texas, Launch Camp, Back to School Picnic and many other activities , the Valley staff really went the e x t r a m i l e as demonstrated below...
Being in foster care can be a stressful experience for children and adolescents. The situation that leads up to the child being removed from the home can be stressful but the actual removal from the home can be just as stressful. After the removal, the child is brought into an unfamiliar environment and introduced to a family that up until several hours before, were not known to them. Although the foster home is likely a better living situation from where they were prior, it is not familiar to them. It can be a big adjustment.
After placement in foster care, the child is bombarded with questions from case workers, case managers, and medical professional as well as mental health professional. Usually the child is introduced to a new school and friends. In addition to new home and friends, the child is faced with court and what will happen to them in the future. As we all know, uncertainty causes a great deal of stress. Even as adults, we have difficulties managing the unknown. Our foster children are faced with the unknown everyday. Given all of the stressors in our children’s lives, the Brownsville and McAllen offices decided to provide some education on stress and the management of stress on June 15, 2018. It was an opportunity for the participants to learn about some of the stressors in their lives and to understand that if they are feeling anxiety. This is a normal reaction to their current circumstances. They were also taught some different ways to manage some of the stress in their lives. It would not be an awesome program without food and snacks. The participants were provided snacks
during the presentation. Pizza and ice cream with different toppings were served at the end of the day. Not only were the teenagers able to learn about stress and management of stress, they also had a chance to meet other teenagers who are in similar situations. It was a fun and productive day!
Many of us went through high school and college and at some point had a science class. Depending on the teacher, it was either a fun or
really boring and difficult. Fortunately, McAllen is home to a scientist who not only knows just about everything there is to know about science but also knows how to make learning science fun! On July 26, 2018, AWFC hosted a science presentation. The participants ranged from ages 5 to 12. A total of 25 children attended. The presenter, Mr. Medrano arrived for the presentation with two hand selected assistants who are currently college students. Right away it was apparent that this would be a hand on presentation. Each of our children was given goggles and apron for protection. The children and staff all participated in the different experiments. We were able to make things cold out of two chemicals that separate, had no smell at all and were room temperature. We also learned how to extract copper out of a liquid and at the same time seem to create heat out of nowhere. How cool is that? Mr. Medrano also made a torch out of a 5 gallon water container.
Towards the end of the presentation, Mr. Medrano had all of us step way back and he put a protective shield between us and beaker. He had a beaker of water and dropped some type of chemical into the water. There was an awesome explosion that amazed us all. No damage was done to the property. Later one of his assistants said that there was a small hole in the ceiling in the classroom that was caused by a really cool experiment when they were students of Mr. Medrano. A pumpkin stem left a lasting mark in Mr. Medrano’s classroom. Maybe a Halloween presentation for the agency???? After the presentation, each of our kids were given a goodie bag and certificate for their participation. It was an awesome day but to add to this day, all of the kids and staff went to Peter Piper Pizza to enjoy the games and pizza! It is still being debated on who had more fun, the staff or kids! A big Thank you goes out to Mr. Medrano and his assistants.
Most of us drive and own at least one car. We may know the process of buying a car and the importance of good credit when we walk into the car dealership. When working with teenagers, many express an interest in a high performance car that they want right out of high school or even before. With this in mind, the Brownsville and McAllen offices decided to take our teenagers to a local car dealership to learn about not only buying a car but also careers available in the car business. The date selected was June 29, 2018. We started the day meeting at Boswell/Elliff Ford in San Benito (Go Greyhounds!). The staff there was awesome. Mario started out showing us different cars ranging from starter cars to the high performance Mustang. After showing us the cars he talked about the A Question Posed to Valley AWFC Youth… “So you want to buy a car?”
dreaded financing of the vehicles. The importance of credit and how this can determine the monthly payments and final cost of the vehicle were discussed. They also discussed how our teenagers can start establishing credit for the future. After looking at the awesome cars and discussing the financing and credit, they took us to the maintenance department. Dan described what they do and some of the expected costs of repairing the vehicle. Careers and a general idea of salaries they can expect were also discussed. We appreciated that they emphasized education and additional training once they had a job in this field. The more certificates they get, the more money they are paid. From the maintenance department, we went to the body shop. Armando in the body shop took a fender and hammered some dents into it. After doing a Thor on the fender, he was talking about what he did and at the same time he was repairing the dent. Armando had a story. He grew up in Guatemala and from a very young age was living by himself on the streets. Through determination and hard work he was able to eventually make it to the United States and was eventually employed by Boswell/Elliff Ford in San
Benito. He has worked there many years and certainly knows his profession. By the time he finished the talk, he had completed the repair to the point that the fender just needed a paint job. Our teenagers were impressed by his skill and more importantly, his story. After the presentation at the car dealership, the staff and teens went to Peter Piper Pizza where we all enjoyed the buffet and drinks! It was really nice of Boswell/Elliff to show our teenagers what they do at the car dealership. Several days later I stopped by to thank them and also drop off a school supply box for donations. While at camp I received a call from them asking to stop by and pick up the items because there were so many. Boswell/Eliff personally donated so many school supplies. It is awesome having community members happily contributing to our children.
What’s Happening at AWFC in Wichita Falls In the month of June, AWFC of Wichita Falls had 11 adoptions ! It was amazing! We had children adopted from ages 1 to 15; sibling groups were adopted as well as individuals. “It was so much fun and such a blessing to watch these kids get their forever families,” stated Samantha Taggart, AWFC Area Director.
Fiesta Texas took place in June and was, as always, fun! We loved getting to meet and see the number of amazing kids and families throughout the state of Texas!
Launch Camp was so much fun this year. Between the mud games, Sky Swing, face painting etc we’re not sure who had the most fun: kids or staff! We want to give a huge thanks to the WF Elks Lodge for their donation to Launch Camp! We appreciate everything they do to help our kids. AWFC – WF was able to open up a Clothes Closet for foster parents! The First Assembly of God Church donated a room to use for the closet. Thanks to Shannon Turnbo and her
mother, Karen Gustafson, for all their hard work in gathering up donations as well as putting everything up on racks and shelves to make it easy for the foster parents to find.
The San Antonio/Victoria Staff know how to Celebrate
Victoria FP Appreciation
San Antonio FP Appreciation
Case Manager Appreciation
AWFC San Antonio would like to brag and thank Bella Rose Pageantry for their generous donation of $4663.00. In July of 2017 Bella Rose Pageantry selected us as their non profit for the year. Bella Rose Pageantry strives to make the community better for children. The pageant year begins in July and ends the following June. Throughout the year the Queens compete in 9 pageants in which the last two are State and National pageants. These Queens come from all over the state of Texas. They range from newborns all the way to the 20 plus category. The Bella Rose Queens worked hard throughout the
year to raise money for our world. This is all due
in part with the directors of Bella Rose Pageantry, Jose and Belinda De Leon. These individuals care deeply about their Queens and look at their company as a family. Jose and Belinda are described as “caring, community driven individuals who have a strong belief in giving back.” Their goal is “to promote self-confidence, development, high self- esteem and to bring out the Queen/King in you!” They teach their “queens that giving back to the community is just as important than just wearing a crown and sash. “ AWFC San Antonio would like nothing more than to explain how much this means to our children and families. The funds raised by Bella Rose Pageantry will go towards our fabulous Christmas Party. (In the picture is Anna Arratia, Belinda De Leon and Sarah Vasquez)
Region 8 is continuing to grow as there is a capacity crisis. Region 8’s goal is to continue to develop new homes in the Eagle Pass and Del Rio Areas. This will allow us to serve this region where, currently, a majority of their children must be placed outside of their counties. Many of the surrounding counties do not know about fostering, which has created a capacity crisis leading to children being placed 65+ miles away from AWFC San Antonio is Stretching It’s Boundaries
home. We have held informational meetings and have received a lot of interest in the area. We are actively going out and holding trainings to get
families licensed so they can serve the kiddos in their own backyard. Our hope is to grow big enough that we can have our own AWFC office down their to cater to the already amazing families we have in the area. I would like to give a special thanks to Kristal Quiroga as she is from the Del Rio area and has helped with informational meetings throughout the summer.
Round Rock had their Back To School Event August 4 th at Typhoon Texas in Pflugerville. Our families came out and had a fun filled day at the waterpark. It was a great way to end the summer for both our kids and parents!!!
Please help our AWFC foster kids have a fabulous Christmas. Each of our children fill out a wish list and we ask you to help us fulfill those wishes! We have been blessed so much with community support in the past. Please pick up the phone, call 210-249-0770 or email: cor- email@example.com and she will connect you with our office in your local community. All children deserve Christmas, our children often have never experienced a real Christmas.