Glynn County is certainly not alone in facing a foster care crisis. It’s something that has been seen across the country.
But one local organization is looking to help offer a brighter for these children. Hope 1312 Collective is a faith-based nonprofit that serves as a liaison between churches and child care services like the Division of Child and Family Services and Court Appointed Special Advocates.
While they are not a child-placing agency, they help connect churches and individuals who want to offer their assistance.
Ally Christianson, a licensed clinical social worker and founding director of Hope 1312, said that the last year has brought a lot of positive momentum.
“We have a lot of really exciting things happening. We just celebrated our first official year at the Ritz Theatre. We have partnered with nine churches, which has really helped to bring tangible hope to the foster care crisis,” she said.
“We had more than 200 people at the worship service which was really great. The director of DFCS spoke too to talk about how grateful they were. It was a true community celebration and we were able to look at our programs and vision, then surrender that to God.”
Christianson is inspired by the response they’ve received. With nine partner churches, the organization is able to provide essential items and funding that directly benefits nearly 200 local foster children.
Some of the efforts include raising $10,000 and helping to send 33 foster children to an annual kids’ camp. And they are always looking to expand that reach.
“We are a faith-based organization so we partner mostly with churches but we’ve had businesses who have helped us too,” she said.
“We have monthly giving programs where you can donate just $10 a month. We also have collections like pajama drive that we then give to DFCS for their closet.”
This Sunday, Hope 1312 will be part of a national program called Stand Sunday. That’s where congregations across the nation will set aside time to focus on the country’s foster care crisis and how they can help provide solutions.
“We will be making a call out to our community at all of our partner churches. We will look at ways that we engage them, offering specific projects at their church or just get more people involved,” she said.
“And if individuals have a heart for this work, we hope that they will get involved too. We just really want to leverage our impact so that we can see the most change.”
For churches or just families looking to give back, Christianson says Hope 1312 has plenty of options. Their email is email@example.com website is www.hope1312co.org, which offers descriptions of programs and stories of children in need.
“We want to make it as easy as possible to get involved. We think of ourselves as a third party that knows the need here. We are in touch with DFCS, foster families and CASA,” she said.
“We can plug you into what God is already doing here. We encourage anyone who is interested to contact us to see what might be fit for them.”