mentoring

Young people cope with more social, psychological and physical demands today than ever before. They also have to face issues like peer pressure, substance abuse, sexuality, child abuse, family violence, depression, suicide, and faith at young ages. Having a connection to a safe, stable adult through a structured mentor relationship can give kids the tools and support they need to deal effectively with these pressures.

Did you know that at-risk youth with a mentor are:

 

  • 46% less likely to start using drugs

  • 52% less likely that their peers to skip a day of school

  • 55% more likely to enroll in college

  • 78% more likely to volunteer in their community

  • 81% more likely to participate in sports or extracurricular activities

 

The Need

The Response

Through consistent caring, exploring interests, and acceptance, mentors make an impact in the lives of our youth.  Building a child’s sense of self-confidence and resiliency factors into other relationships and experiences. Mentoring is not a cure-all for all the problems and deficiencies facing youth and their families. The essence of mentoring is RELATIONSHIP. Mentors are often described as a coach, a guide, a role model, an advocate, or a friend!  When an adult spends regular time investing in the life of a child or teen, the results can be transformational.

Mason Gizard - Rise Above for Youth Director

Click on the picture to read Mason's bio or e-mail him at:

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regional leaders

For more than 100 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters has operated under the belief that inherent in every child is the ability to succeed and thrive in life. As the nation’s largest donor and volunteer supported mentoring network, Big Brothers Big Sisters makes meaningful, monitored matches between adult volunteers (“Bigs”) and children (“Littles”), ages 8 through 18, in communities across the country. They develop positive relationships that have a direct and lasting effect on the lives of young people.

Offering a Mentoring Program at your church can be an incredible way to come alongside the children in your congregation who have lost a parent or come from a challenging family background. It can also be a valuable tool when reaching out to families in your community. Mentoring can make a HUGE difference in the life of a child and it allows people of all ages (young adults to empty-nesters) to serve. If you would like more information on starting a church-based mentoring ministry utilizing the great resources from The Mentoring Project, please e-mail Regional Alliance Director Tiffany Loeffler at tiffany@defendingthecause.org.

The Placer Youth Mentor Program “sandwiches” the Placer CASA program by providing volunteer mentors for children who are at-risk of entering the juvenile justice or child welfare systems, former foster youth who are transitioning into adulthood without family support. Whereas CASA's are court appointed, Mentors enter into informal, renewable, 6-month commitments. The goal of Mentoring is to steer the young people toward positive outcomes or help them transition successfully into adulthood. For more information reach out to Jose@casaplacer.org

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600,000+ children pass through the U.S. foster care system and family court systems annually.  The average child will spend 2 years in foster care and typically live in 3 different  homes. Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) for Children is a network of nearly 1,000 community-based programs that recruit, train and support citizen-volunteers to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children in courtrooms and communities. Volunteer advocates—empowered directly by the courts—offer judges the critical information they need to ensure that each child’s rights and needs are being attended to while in foster care. Volunteers stay with children until they are placed in loving, permanent homes. For many abused children, a CASA volunteer is the only constant adult presence in their lives.

The Need

The Response

A child with a volunteer advocate is more likely to find a safe, permanent home and is half likely to reenter the system. A child with an advocate is likely to succeed in school and always has a voice in court.  Attend an orientation, complete an application and interview, and start the training to become a CASA volunteer.

regional leaders

Currently seeking 1-2 Regional Leaders for this category!

recommended resources

Child Advocates of Placer County was founded in 2004 with the mission to establish the Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program for the Placer County Juvenile Dependency Court. All programs – CASA and Placer Mentors – utilize  volunteers to serve our community by helping  foster youth, at-risk youth and young adults build resiliency, self-confidence and self-sufficiency.

Sacramento CASA ensures consistency and support for children in the foster care system through the use of volunteer advocates advancing the best interests of each child.  They serve foster youth across Sacramento County by training volunteers to become a "child's voice in court."

Yolo County CASAs are trained and court-appointed volunteers who advocate on behalf of abused children and at-risk youth. Together with community involvement and generous support, they are positively impacting the lives of children around Yolo County.

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advocacy

 

foster child support

When kids enter the foster care system they may instantly taken be away from everything familiar to them and many kids lose out on normal activities like playing on sports teams, pursuing hobbies, or staying in touch with friends. Going on summer vacations or even staying in the same school are not always a possibility. While foster parents do their best to help kids feel like part of the families and have some access to funds for recreational activities, children in foster care also have a busy schedule that can include visitations, social worker appointments, court dates, or counseling. Any child or teen will tell you they just want to fit in and be "normal" but for foster youth this can be an ongoing challenge.

The Need

The Response

By working with or giving to programs for foster youth, you can provide kids with access to activities that allow them to connect with their peers while exploring their interests. When foster kids are free to forget about their family situations and just have fun, they feel more secure and are better adjusted in their new placements or schools. As camp counselors, coaches, or other adults invest in the lives of foster kids, their worth and ability is reinforced and they create great memories that can encourage them in hard times.

Currently seeking 1-2 Regional Leaders for this category!

ASPIREKids builds resilience by providing access to extracurricular and normalcy activities to at-risk and low income children. To make this possible they partner with various youth and family service providers in El Dorado, Sacramento and Placer Counties. 

The Glass Slipper is a non-profit organization that provides life-changing programs for girls in foster care and group homes. They believe every girl should have the opportunity to discover her full potential. Volunteers provide mentoring and self development programs for at-risk girls, ages 10-18, encouraging transformation from the inside out.  

Children entering the foster system often come with only the clothes they are wearing or a handful of items they were able to pack before being taken to a foster family. The Regional Alliance partners with The Forgotten Initiative to provide kids just entering care with a Journey Bag which is a backpack filled with a stuffed animal, a soft blanket, a photo album for pictures, some hygiene items and a $25 Target gift card. Once bags are packed and donated, they are distributed to local foster agencies so social workers can deliver them to kids on their first day of a new placement. Check out our Needs Database to donate Journey Bags.a

Royal Family KIDS Sacramento launched its first camp in the Summer of 2016. Each year the RFK team provides children in the Sacramento County foster care system an unforgettable week in the great outdoors including games, crafts, skits, an all-camp birthday party and special bonding time with camp counselors and other foster youth.

Team Celebrate provides personalized birthday celebrations to children in foster care to give the gift of joy, a special memory and an opportunity to build their self esteem. They aspire that all foster youth in the Sacramento area are celebrated on their birthday. 

xHope, Inc advocates for local children waiting to be placed in forever families through foster care and adoption. Through events, fundraising and donation drives they provide essentials for children in foster care including diaper bags, backpacks, school supplies and even college scholarships. 

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regional leaders

recommended resources

 

adoptive & foster family support

Children who come out of a life of chaos, pain and neglect develop behaviors that help them endure and survive their environment until they are 'rescued'.  For the families that take in these children the road to forming healthy, stable relationships can have many challenging detours.  Families can become stressed, feeling inadequate and overburdened. The most frequent reason for a change in foster placement or the tragedy of a failed adoption is lack of appropriate support and education for the family and child.   

The Need

Not everyone is called to bring a child into their home but there are things each of us can do to support or encourage those who are.  There is a tremendous need and opportunity to wrap around foster and adoptive families who could use additional support as they meet the needs of children from trauma. This doesn't have to be a huge undertaking!  Using our L.O.V.E. Model, it can be simple to provide care for the families you know or those in your church or community who have foster or adoptive children.

The L.O.V.E. Model:

            L = Lift up in prayer (offer to pray for the needs of families)

            O = Offer respite (these parents could always use a date night or short get-away)

            V = Volunteer (families often need help with running errands, cleaning, or yard work)

            E = Encourage (sending encouraging cards or small gifts can boost a family’s spirits)

These ideas can be done on a weekly or monthly basis and our team would be happy to help you design a support program for your church or group! The goal is to come alongside families and be a part of a nurturing healing environment which allow these children to thrive. If you are interested in serving foster and adoptive families in your area please fill out our volunteer form below:

regional leaders

Charlotte Fritz - Foster Adoptive Mom, Marriage & Family Therapist

Click on the picture to read Charlotte's bio or e-mail her at:

Renee Hemsley - Adoptee, Foster Adoptive Mom, Director Hope's Anchor

Click on the picture to read Renee's bio or e-mail her at:

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recommended resources

Focus on the Family provides a large list of incredible resources for foster and adoptive families. On their site you'll find books, bible studies, and training material to help families connect with their kids and thrive as well as tools to help others wrap around families taking in both foster or adoptive children.

Heart to Heart provides adoptive families in the Greater Sacramento area (domestic and international) with skills and resources as well as give them opportunities to build relationships with other adoptive parents facing similar parenting issues, thus preventing adoption disruption. They offer on going parent training and education with structured child care by trained caregivers free of charge. 

Hope's Anchor, Inc. exists to encourage and support foster, kinship, resource and adoptive families and children, equip families with the necessary support to maintain or stabilize their current placement, educate area churches to the needs of foster, kinship, resource and adoptive children and families, and engage the church in service to these families. Hope's Anchor, Inc. also partners with local child welfare staff and agencies to further support and advocate for children and families in the juvenile dependency system.

Interested in helping foster and adoptive kids and families by becoming a licensed counselor?

Counselor Licensure will help guide you through the process that counseling professionals must complete in order to earn counseling certification. Learn more at https://counselor-license.com/degrees/counseling/certification/

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The Response

 

respite care

Parenting kids who have experienced trauma can be extremely involved leaving parents drained on a daily and weekly basis. Just getting an hour or 2 to run errands, get a hair cut or do laundry can seem like a miracle. Foster and adoptive families as well as single parents need periods of time they can count on to rest and recharge in order to love their kids well.

The Need

The Response

Whether it is watching foster or adoptive kids for a friend, hosting a respite night at your church, or getting certified by a foster care agency to provide longer-term respite care, anyone can wrap around a foster or adoptive family by giving parents some much needed time off.

Tiffany Loeffler - Adoptive Mom, Former Respite Ministry Leader, DTCRA Director

Please click on the picture to read Tiffany's bio or e-mail her at:

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regional leaders

Members of the Regional Alliance team have been coordinating and hosting free respite nights to foster and adoptive families since 2012.  The need for parents caring for kids from trauma to have a night off is great so please contact us if your church might be interested in hosting a respite night. Our team is happy to come alongside you to provide instruction, training and a list of resources.

The Parent Cooperative Community is a private, non-profit cooperative organization located in the Greater Sacramento area.  They are dedicated to meeting the needs of adopted children impacted by difficult beginnings and offer many services including a therapeutic respite program.

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recommended resources

 

Agency support

Foster care social workers are on the front lines of caring for abused, neglected, and abandoned children on a daily basis. Thier job requires long hours, being on-call nights and weekends, and entering into very stressful situations. These social workers carry heavy case loads, are often times seen as the "bad guy", and get very little thanks for what they do leading to emotional and physical burnout. When a caseworker is overwhelmed, unsupported, or decides to resign, the families and children they serve are affected.

The Need

The Response

Appreciation and support can go along way to bringing social workers hope, better job satisfaction and equipping them to best serve and support foster kids and their families!  This can be as simple as writing encouraging cards or dropping off a gift basket to a local foster care or child welfare agency or can involve building ongoing relationships with agencies doing service projects for them or taking social workers out for lunch.

regional leaders

Currently seeking 1-2 Regional Leaders for this category!

recommended resources

The Forgotten Initiative (TFI) resources, supports and networks Advocates and Churches to mobilize the Body of Christ to wrap around agency social workers. 

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pregnancy support

The need for pregnancy-related resources and reproductive grief support in our community is great. Whether this is a first child or one of many, and no matter if she is married or single, the news of an unexpected pregnancy can be hard to process alone. Lack of health insurance and financial hardships also create barriers for many women seeking medical services and support in the first months of their pregnancy.  Likewise, those that have lost a child in the womb, either due to abortion or miscarriage, also struggle to access local support and resources for the grief they are experiencing.

The Need

Pregnancies, especially those that come as a surprise or with little support, often bring significant stress and change. No woman, couple or family should walk this journey alone. Trained volunteer patient-advocates have the opportunity to work directly with patients while others can come alongside pregnancy clinics through event planning, registration, in-clinic organization and improvements. As a community we can rise up and wrap around these women in affirming and encouraging ways!

regional leader

Cary Wilcox - Sierra Pregnancy & Health Director

Click on the picture to read Cary's bio or e-mail her at:

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recommended resources

Alternatives Pregnancy Center is a non-profit, State of California licensed medical clinic and pregnancy resource center. Since 1983, APC has been dedicated to meeting the needs of women and children by holding true to the life-affirming core values and purposes the organization was founded upon including meeting the emergency needs of women and men facing an unplanned pregnancy and empowering them to build a positive future for both themselves and their child(ren).

The Birth Connection offer each woman a safe place to explore the life choices of parenting and adoption, the decisions she makes will provide her child with a hope and a future.

Familybuilding’s mission is to restore lives and generational lines through adoption and guardianship by strategically placing children in stable, loving homes. They advocate for the highest level of legal security and permanence for each child, while pursuing the greatest degree of restorative justice for birth parent(s). They offer comprehensive legal guidance to adoptive couples, relatives or a step parent seeking to adopt, foster parents, and anyone concerned about the well being of children in need. Familybuilding is also a free resource for birth mothers who are seeking knowledgeable, caring information about independent and agency adoption.

The mission of the Sacramento Life Center is to offer compassion, support, resources and free medical care to women and couples facing an unplanned or unsupported pregnancy.

Sierra Pregnancy + Health (SPH) is a state licensed medical clinic.  Since 1999, SPH has been dedicated to providing life-affirming care, practical help and resources to women facing unplanned pregnancy. They believe every person is created in the image of God and has a purpose. SPH is a safe and confidential place for anyone dealing with unplanned pregnancy, pregnancy loss, after abortion grief and postpartum depression.

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The Response

 

Single parent support

The percentage of kids being raised by single moms or dads is steadily on the rise as marriages don't last. It is hard enough for a 2-parent household  to keep up with the demands of work, grocery shopping, helping kids with homework, cooking meals, and doing chores. Just imaging having to do this on your own. Since many families don't live near relatives, they can feel even more isolated and often struggle to find time to invest in their kids let alone recharge themselves.

The Need

The Response

What if we, as the Body of Christ, reach out to the single parents in our neighborhoods, our workplaces, and our churches providing encouragement and support? Just imagine how this would bring them hope, lighten their load, and equip them to meet the needs of their children!  This could take the form of mowing the lawn for the single mom next door, offering to take in your friend's kids 1-2 times per month so they can run errands, or leaving the single dad at your office a Starbucks card. Parenting is a rewarding but often thankless job so let a single parent know you see their hard work and you're there for them!

Tara Taylor - Single Mom Strong Director

Click on the picture to read Tara's bio or e-mail her at:

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regional leader

Acres of Hope provides a safe family environment and healthy living program for women with children setting the foundation of change and breaking the cycle of homelessness.

Single Mom Strong is​ a community meeting the needs for belonging and love for single mothers and their children, a place of empowerment and a means for betterment. This organization is based on the premise that a single mother can be a professional “success” and a great parent and the belief that neither the single mother nor her children are limited in any way by this circumstance.

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recommended resources

 

Global orphan care

When it comes to engaging with orphaned and vulnerable children around the world, the greatest need is for churches, organizations, and individuals to be informed about best practices and excellence-driven care. Without the proper training and perspective it can be all too easy to actually hurt the children we are trying to minister to by keeping them out of family-based care. No child deserves to grow up in an institution which is why the United States closed down most of their orphanages in the early 1970's. Yet when we look to start ministries or partner with existing foreign organizations, the orphanage model is still central.  Holistic  global orphan care involves much more than adoption, foster care, and supporting or building orphanages. It requires poverty alleviation, family preservation, discipleship and family reunification, kinship care, and restoration work in the areas of human trafficking. 

The Need

The Response