When Global Studies senior Bree Samples first started work on a class project about foster families two and a half years ago, she had no idea that it would lead to the start of a Move Team at Truett McConnell University (TMU).
Dozens of miles over, Mary Katelyn Wood, a high school junior at the time, also stumbled upon the foster system when she designed a Bible study and art program for foster children as part of a homeschool class. Now at TMU, the two global studies majors lead the Foster Care Move Team, with soon-to-be graduate Samples passing her role of leadership to Wood.
Before launching the team, Samples connected with Ro Kinson, long-time foster parent, along with his wife Amy, who advises The Peter and Gredel Walpot School of Education. The Kinsons introduced Samples to the families involved in the Foster Parent Association (FPA) in White County providing connections to help her start the Foster Care Move Team with other TMU students.
“It was a slow beginning,” said Samples, “but the Lord has grown this ministry a lot. Over this last year specifically, God has provided new opportunities like helping an organization in Snellville, giving us relationships with new families, and getting more students involved.”
In the past, the Move Team has served the Foster Parents Association in White County by providing childcare during parent meetings. They have also partnered with Families 4 Families, an organization in Snellville that allowed students to babysit foster kids during monthly date night events for parents.
A New Season
The 2020 fall semester brought changes to the Foster Care Move Team as the COVID-19 pandemic changed the ministry’s direction. With large gatherings and babysitting within homes rendered impractical, Samples and Wood turned their focus to building a strong team of student volunteers.
“We’ve been able to have a Bible study/prayer meeting every other week, and that has really helped us gain a more solid group of students to help out,” Samples said.
Wood said, “It’s also allowed our team to grow stronger by being in the Word and praying together. All of us have felt that passion of wanting to know more about foster families.”
During the bi-weekly meetings, the team gathers to pray over the foster care community, needs of specific families, and personal requests. The meetings have unified the group and have also brought to light connections several students have for potential ministry opportunities.
“As a leader, seeing where others want to lead, is something really important that I’ve learned through the meetings” Wood said. “It really excites me because I know I have a team I can facilitate better by knowing what people want to do and helping them make it happen.”
Additionally, the slower pace of the Move Team during the pandemic has opened the door for Samples and Wood to brainstorm ways they can better serve foster families in the future. They plan to start helping foster kids with homework by possibly partnering with the The Peter and Gredel Walpot School of Education, establishing mentorships between college students and foster kids, and providing meals and gifts to foster families.
Impactful Ministry Moments
A moment that stands out in Samples’ memory as she looks back on ministering to the foster community is a conversation she once overheard between two foster siblings. Samples recalls: “The girl said, ‘Remember so-and-so that we lived with that one time that said we would never amount to anything?’ She was probably six, and she had already had people in her life tell her she could never become who she wanted to because of her state in the foster care system.”
The comment opened Samples’ eyes to the trauma many foster children have experienced and the messages about themselves they have internalized as a result. Since then, Samples has longed to tell foster children that there is a God who loves them and wants to have a relationship with them.
“Even if I can’t share the full gospel, I always look for ways to share gospel truths” Samples said.
If you would like more information about the Foster Care Move Team, visit:
Anna is an English major at TMU and freelance writer for the Marketing and Communications Dept.
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