The Good News

The title of this section is called "The Good News" because this blog is about the amazing things people do to help others, and isn't that good news? I now have a few helpers of my own to keep this blog going. Hopefully you can use this as a resource when you are looking for ways to help or share your talents.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


Because of my current condition (my due date is on Wednesday), I’ve been lucky to have some good friends help me out with the posts.  This week, my friends Dave and Mary Jo shared their personal experience working with a local mentoring program.

Dave and I have been volunteering at Phoenix Youth at Risk for a little over a year now.  There are several programs at Phoenix Youth at Risk…we are in the PALS program.  This is very similar to a Big Brother/Big Sister program.  We mentor a youth that has either been in a domestic violence situation or in a homeless shelter.  The youth ages range from 5 to 15years.   We went through an interview and training and then were matched with a youth that seemed like a good fit.  I am currently mentoring a 7 year old girl named Jetta.  Dave is mentoring an 11 year old boy named Eric.   We sign a one year agreement to see our mentee once a week for a minimum of an hour.  This is of course not always possible, but we do try to make an effort to see them as much as possible.  And really once you get started it isn’t much of an effort!  They are both great kids and many times I probably have more fun then they do!  We try to do a variety of different activities with Jetta and Eric… we’ve gone to d-backs games, ice-skating, bowling, swimming, water parks and the library.  Many times Phoenix Youth at Risk will have free tickets to different events.  Jetta and I went to the play Annie and we all attended a D-back game and got some players’ autographs!  The most important thing is building a relationship with your mentee and giving them the opportunity to perhaps see a different lifestyle.  After a month, mentees are allowed to come to your house.  Sometimes we will just bring the kids here to have dinner with us and walk the dogs.  It is that simple and they love just spending time with you!  If anyone wants more information, they can visit  You will find other ways to volunteer there.  I don’t know if what we are doing has changed Jetta and Eric’s life, but it has certainly enriched ours.

Big Brothers Big Sisters is a national mentoring organization Mary Jo mentioned and depending on the location, multiple programs are offered.  Here is a list of the types of programs your local BBBS may offer:
  • Community Based Mentoring: (similar to what Mary Jo described)
  • School Based Mentoring: meet at school
  • Lunch Buddies Mentoring: paired during school lunch break once a week
  • STARS: Bigs are matched with Littles who have an incarcerated parent or close family member (meet a couple of hours a few times a month)
  • Step Up:  teens involved in the court system are paired with positive adult role models
  • Gear Up:  Adult mentors are paired with high school students who are working toward graduating and becoming fist generation college students
(This information was found in the BBBS of Flagstaff newsletter)

My friend Brad, who writes the forum, “I’ve been talking to your kids” started an on-line mentoring program a few years back called, MentorE.  It paired businesswomen/men up with at-risk youth and instead of meeting in person, the pairs would meet on-line.  The program was successful while it lasted but unfortunately its funding was cut.  I still think it was a fantastic idea and hope it will be reinstated one day.

How can we get involved?:
·         If you’re local, check out
·         See if you have a local organization or a Big Brothers Big Sisters in your area.  The website for BBBS is
·         If you are unable to commit the time, both organizations gladly take donations.  Donations could be anything from movie tickets, to sporting events, clothes, restaurant gift cards, cash, etc. 

“Do you need anybody?  I just need someone to love.  Could it be anybody? I want somebody to love...I get by with a little help from my friends.” ~The Beatles

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Foster Care

Have you ever been interested in becoming a foster parent?   I love this post because I have met the family behind the following information.  They already have 4 beautiful kids and continue to open up their home to other children.  The woman who wrote this post is simply amazing (and I love her mom too!).

“When I grow up, I’m going to live next door to you.”  This sweet and simple desire was expressed to me by a young teen living in a group home where my fiancĂ© (now husband) worked. Rich lived in a “home” with 6 other boys and a revolving- door of staff members.  Group home indeed.  It was a group all right, but not a home.  There was no one at that home that really cared for or loved those boys.  It was a dumping ground…just smaller and with a nicer name…group home.  Rich’s wish wasn’t just about the future and living next to me, it was about the present and how devoid of love it was for him.  All he wanted was a family to love him. That was the day when we realized that one day we had to become foster parents.

Today my husband and I are fortunate to have the opportunity to share our real home with children who don’t have a safe home of their own.   We currently have a sweet 3 month-old boy in our home.  Our children love their temporary siblings, and our whole family has experienced God in unexpected and wonderful ways thanks to the presence of these little guests.

Tragically, over 11,000 children are wards of Arizona’s Child Protective Service (CPS), yet fewer than 2,000 families are licensed foster families.  The situation grows worse daily.  In a bad economy, just as child abuse and neglect rise, many foster families have to drop out of the program because. they can no longer bear the additional expense of another child (even though most of the expenses are reimbursed by CPS).

The shortage of foster families is so severe that even infants are being put into group “homes.”

I received a call today asking if we can take another infant.  A four week-old baby needs to be removed from his home, but CPS simply has nowhere to put him.  Even our 8-passenger car has no space for one more child’s seat. How heartbreaking it is for me to tell the case worker that I cannot help a baby in danger. 

Maybe you have been missing the voice of a child in your home.  Maybe you love holding and cuddling babies.  Maybe you are great with teens.  Maybe you already have kids in the home, like us, and adding one or two more is just not that big of a deal.  Please consider being a foster parent.  YOU  ARE  DESPERATELY  NEEDED.  Please pray to discern whether this may be something you are called to do.  It is tremendously rewarding for the parents, and literally life-changing for a child in need.

Let’s not leave these kids with hopes of a better life someday, but give them the love and safety they deserve today.



How can we get involved?:
·         Look into foster care in your area and ask questions!  Just like adoptions, foster care is a huge undertaking and often so intimidating, people stop the process before they really begin.  Take a chance and see if it’s something you really may be able to do! 
·         Elizabeth was so generous with allowing me to post her experience, I’m sure if you had any further questions, she would be open to responding.

Many times it only takes one caring individual to foster resilience in a child!