Last night, we hosted our Foster Parent Banquet. We have not been able to hold this event for the past 2 years so we were very excited to get together in person to recognize and appreciate our foster parents.
Sharon Holmes, MCJFS Supervisor Manager, kicked off the evening by welcoming our foster families, staff, and community members, and introduced our theme for the evening - teamwork. She shared that just few years ago we had 29 families in our program, while today we have 56 families - with even more in the process of being licensed. Unfortunately, the number of children entering care in Medina County has also continued to increase. At this time last year, we had 84 children in custody; today we have 126 children in agency custody. Sharon recognized that "our foster families have stepped up and taken children into their homes" and concluded the teamwork theme by noting, "I think we can all agree that it takes each of us in this room to make it all work."
MCJFS Director, Debbie Kiley, also took a moment to share her appreciation for the foster parents in the room. She informed us that the agency has already exceeded this year all the filings we had total for last year... and it's not even the end of May. She thanked MCJFS foster parents for answering the call to help serve Medina's youth and encouraged them to inspire others to step up as well. Debbie concluded by addressing foster parents: "Our appreciation for your time, energy, and haven for our youth cannot be underscored enough."
Before we held a drawing for our amazing gift baskets, Sharon introduced the Leadership Medina County group and recognized everyone who worked on the mini documentary project last year. We watched a short promo clip from that film. You can view that clip here and the full 15-minute film here.
Leading up to the event, we asked foster parents, staff, and community members to submit one word that describes foster care. We put all the responses into a word art photo that Michael Angelo's Bakery was able to put on a beautiful cake for us. Each guest also received a copy of the word art to take home. Some of the words we saw repeated the most were: rewarding, hope, family, team, life-changing, and home.
Thanks to multiple generous community members and support organizations, we were able to give away so many fantastic gift baskets. As always, thank you to our awesome community for your enthusiastic generosity! Finally, thank you to Williams on the Lake for a beautiful venue and for all the assistance in making the evening extra-special.
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