It seems like I was just making (and promptly) breaking my resolutions for 2017…and now 2018 is almost here!

This is the time of year we reflect on the progress we’ve made and the setbacks we’ve encountered. We take stock of our lives, deciding what needs changing and what’s perfect the way it is. And, with Christmas just around the corner, it’s a natural time for us to reflect on the many, many blessings we have in our lives.

At Agape, our biggest blessing is the happy, healthy children and loving families we serve. It’s what we do, it’s why we’re here, it’s what matters most. But that blessing would not be possible without the help of Agape’s generous donors–our other big blessing.

By now you’ve heard that an anonymous donor has pledged to match every gift made from now until December 31st. As you consider taking advantage of this opportunity, we’d like to highlight the good work that your gift makes possible.

First and foremost, you support the recruitment, certification, and training of foster families. It is not an easy process, it takes time and staff (our Program Director, Cheryl Youngblood, leads the PRIDE training herself) and a lot of paperwork, but it is the heart of Agape. Where would we be without these loving families who open their hearts and homes to the innocent, vulnerable children who need them?

After the family is certified (perform happy dance here), the children can be placed in the home. Although they are part of the certification process, this is where the real work of Agape’s social workers begins. They make home visits at least once a week and are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. This is possible because our social workers have no more than 15 children on their caseload. This allows them not just to meet the mandates of the state, but to truly focus on the needs of the children and families. If a parent has a need or concern, their caseworker is always available to help. Our social workers have the time to get to know the children well, so they can truly do what is in the child’s best interest.

Agape’s purpose is, of course, to provide a safe and loving home for the kids in our care. But we also pride ourselves on providing our kids with opportunities for personal enrichment and growth as well. Agape kids are able to take art and music classes, go to summer camp, participate in sports, and so many other things that make childhood what it should be. We have a girl’s group that meets monthly, allowing participants to socialize with a group of peers to whom they can truly connect. For Agape’s teens (15 – 21), we offer the Transitional Youth Program which teaches the skills needed to successfully navigate the adult world. Who knows what these activities may inspire? Activities made possible because of your generosity.

And we have a dedicated staff who keep everything running smoothly (which is no small feat).

As you know, all of these things cost money (and this was just a small snapshot of all that your gift supports). We know that making your gift is a sacrifice. The money that you send to Agape is money that is not going to something else–a Christmas gift, a vacation, a pumpkin spice latte, another worthy cause. We want to acknowledge and honor that sacrifice. We want to thank you for it. We believe in what we do and your support makes what we do possible. Thank you for your belief in us and our mission. Thank you for caring about children you’ve never met. Thank you for showing it in a tangible way. Thank you for blessing us.