There are more than 11,000 Oklahoma children in DHS custody and in need of out-of-home placement. The growing foster care need is being met by many Southern Baptist families in Oklahoma who, this summer, will have a unique opportunity to be blessed.
Teri Blanton, who serves as Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children’s (OBHC) Foster Care Coordinator, is working with two churches—one in Oklahoma City and one in Tulsa—to provide a Vacation Bible School (VBS) experience for Southern Baptist families currently involved in foster care.
On July 11-16, Oklahoma City, Rancho Village, is hosting a week-long VBS designed to help foster care parents receive their annual required 12 hours of training, while their foster children enjoy VBS. In the Tulsa area, a weekend VBS for the same purpose, is set for July 29-30 at Jenks, First.
“Some people think that because they do not or cannot foster care, that they have no role in ministering to foster care kids,” said Blanton. “In my role, and through events like this, I want people to know there are a lot of ways to give of our time and hearts to these families who face such major challenges.”
According to Blanton, children in need of foster homes range in age from infants to teenagers, and the two events will have activities for children of all ages.
The VBS events have several needs, including:
• At least 40 volunteers at each location (Oklahoma City and Tulsa) to serve in the VBS program;
• Donated VBS items related to the LifeWay “Submerged” theme; and
• Leftover VBS craft supplies.
Email Alyson Walker at firstname.lastname@example.org about VBS supplies, and volunteers or churches interested in volunteering may contact Blanton at 405/640-0622 or may visit this website: http://obhc.org/foster-care.
Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief will be supplying and serving meals during both VBS events.
“While these events are designed to serve Southern Baptist families who already are fostering as the initial step, we envision a day in which more churches could partner with us to do similar events and open it up to foster care families in the community and across the state,” said Blanton.
OBHC’s newly-founded “One Such Child” program helps connect children in need of hope and homes with churches and families who have a heart for foster care. OBHC partners with Eckerd Kids, a large nonprofit child and family service organization that works to engage parents in foster care, to provide quality training and resources for Southern Baptists wanting to foster care or support foster care.
“The important thing to remember is all children deserve a family,” added Blanton.