SIDNEY — Cyndi Fischer knows what it’s like to be a “foster kid.”
She knows about the frequent moves and the uncertainty of aging out of the system at 18. She recently decided that she had been called to address the issue of “aging out” with others in the area.
“I know what it’s like to have all your belongings packed into a trash bag and loaded into the back of a car when you are moved to another home. I know what it’s like to be 18 and not have any work skills or to have a place to live. I, eventually, went to college and got an associate’s (degree), but I took out a lot of loans to do it. No one told me that the foster care system would have paid for it, if I had finished before I was 24. I want these kids to have that information and to have the skills to make a life after foster care. It’s a mission that’s very close to my heart,” said Fischer.
The board of elders at Connection Point Church of God has accepted Love for Fostered (LFF) as a church ministry and the first adult “foster kid” has signed up for the program. Ashley Taylor is 25 and at the top of the 13- to 25-year-old range that LFF serves.
“The church helped me with food when I moved into my apartment, and Cyndi let me know about all the programs at the church. One lady is even going to teach me to cook for myself,” said Taylor.
In addition to helping with food and necessities, LFF seeks to mentor its members in life skills.
Fischer, director of LFF, stated, “There are people in the church who have already agreed to teach cooking, prepare tax returns and other necessary skills that these kids don’t have. We want to be there to help them get on their feet with workshops on job hunting, interview skills and apartment hunting. These are skills many kids would either learn in their homes or at least have parents to call and guide them through it. Foster kids don’t generally have that support.”
Often those in the foster care system don’t receive instruction in money management, job seeking or even cooking. What’s more, they don’t have a support system to help them with those things. LFF seeks to teach those skills and provide mentors who will help them have a support system.
Those who have been removed from their families and placed in foster care often have unresolved issues to work through, as well. For this reason, members of LFF are encouraged to join Celebrate Recovery, another ministry of Connection Point Church. Celebrate Recovery is not just to help drug addicts. According to its website, “Celebrate Recovery is a Christ-centered, 12-step recovery program for anyone struggling with hurt, pain or addiction of any kind. Celebrate Recovery is a safe place to find community and freedom from the issues that are controlling our life.”
“Celebrate Recovery may not be a fit for everyone, but we encourage them to at least try it,” said Fischer.
The idea for LFF has tugged at Fischer’s heart for a long time, but one Wednesday morning at a women’s prayer breakfast, she was encouraged to approach the board and make LFF a reality.
“The ladies were really supportive and encouraging. I was blown away by the support I got. Women even volunteered to help before I had gotten approval,” said Fischer.
Anyone interested in participating in LFF can call 937-507-2984 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.