On Saturday, January 14th, the Athens Area Human Relations Council (AAHRC) held their 38th Annual Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship Banquet to award scholarships to local high school students and to recognize local organizations for their community service.
The Chosen for Life Ministries Foster Care Initiative was honored to receive one of the Community Service Awards for the work that has been done in our community to support foster families and help recruit more foster homes in our area. When the Foster Care Initiative began in 2014, there were 18 foster homes in Clarke and Oconee counties to care for more than 150 children in our foster care system. This extreme deficit of available homes is the crisis that our Foster Care Initiative aimed to solve by educating the Church and community about this great need and equipping individuals to serve and support these families.
New statistics show that there are now 59 foster homes in Clarke and Oconee counties! This increase is due, in large part, to the more than 600 faithful and willing volunteers who have been the hands and feet of Jesus through our Foster Care Initiative. As so eloquently expressed at the AAHRC's banquet, each volunteer within this initiative has exemplified this very ideology of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.:
"Everybody can be great...because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love." - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Chosen for Life Ministries fully believes that not every person is called by God to foster or adopt, but every person is called to care for the vulnerable and orphaned children around us. Countless people have answered God's call by committing to serve foster families through bringing them weekly meals, providing monthly babysitting, offer support and encouragement through prayer and by meeting other tangible needs of the family and child.
In their description of Chosen for Life's Foster Care Initiative, the Athens Area Human Relations Council noted that the Foster Care Initiative's "union of creed and deeds has made it such a valuable, salt of the earth member of the community and a most-deserving recipient of the Athens Area Human Relations Council Community Service Award."
This statement extends to each volunteer within our Foster Care Initiative. Each of you are the salt of the earth every day as you passionately and faithfully serve alongside foster families and support them as they sacrificially care for the vulnerable children in our community. We are grateful and honored to receive this Community Service Award, we are grateful for the drive and leadership of Kelly Brooks who coordinates this program so well, and we are grateful for the many people who have made our Foster Care Initiative flourish and grow.