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February 2, 20240

We had the privilege of partnering with Target and the Harris County Precinct 4 Constables office to make the Christmas of some of our children in foster care just a little more special. Thank you Target and thank you to the heroes who helped our kids feel important!

Sign up for an info session or let us know you’re interested in foster care here. If you’re not ready to foster, but still want to make a difference in the lives of kids, you can volunteer or donate here.



October 26, 20220

ARROW ENJOYS HOUSTON ASTROS 2022 GAME 1!


Mattress Mack and Gallery Furniture kindly invited Arrow Child & Family Ministries to enjoy Game 1 of the ALDS as the Houston Astros faced off against the Seattle Mariners. Mattress Mack, Gallery Furniture and the entire McIngvale family have been longtime supporters of Arrow and the children and families we serve.

Arrow had a ton of fun cheering on the Astros! We made signs, showed off our Houston and Arrow pride, and enjoyed the postseason activities at the ballpark.



We had many kids joining the Arrow group, including many who had never been to a ballgame before. They got to enjoy ice cream, Cracker Jacks, and singing along to “Take Me Out to the Ballgame!” And they even received a “First Baseball Game” certificate from the staff at Minute Maid!



The Astros were losing to the Mariners for the entire game, until a historic walk-off three-run homerun by Yordan Alvarez. The Astros were down 5-7 in the bottom of the ninth inning, and there were two outs. The game was down to the final two strikes when Alvarez hit his incredible homerun.  It reminded us that no matter how bleak a situation looks, there is always hope!


Arrow is grateful to Mattress Mack for allowing us to cheer on the Astros and enjoy this wonderful afternoon! More importantly, we are grateful for the years of incredible support that Mack and the Gallery Furniture team have provided Arrow Child & Family Ministries. They have played a huge role in allowing us to pursue our mission: Helping Kids & Strengthening Families. #TogetherKidsWin



WATCH THE GAME HIGHLIGHTS!


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August 13, 20190

Residents at Freedom Place helped plan a red carpet themed banquet to celebrate the successful end of their school year. The original idea came from one of the residents who mentioned the wish to a staff member. The promise was made that it could be done and it was going to take a group of dedicated staff and volunteers to try and pull it off. Everyone knew the importance of following through to help build healthy relationships with the residents. They couldn’t let her down or the other residents!

It was time to get to work, the resident had shared her ideas on a storyboard outlining the entire event, down to every detail, including the theme and color scheme. Staff and volunteers started asking for donations. The volunteers from Golden Shears Salon in Spring, Texas heard about the idea. The stylists were so moved by the resident’s initiative and creativity, they decided to collaborate and get in on the planning and even volunteered to provide hairstyling and makeup for attendees on the night of the event.

That was just one of the items on the list that could be checked off. The biggest cost would be finding gowns to fit each of the residents. Golden Shears salon referred staff to a non-profit formal dress shopping program, called Ashley’s Cinderella Closet. Ashley, a local high school student, started it after Hurricane Harvey for students to attend their end of school year events and collected dresses from across the US. The need was still evident after the initial endeavor and Ashley continues to collect the gowns from donors and passes on the kindness by sharing them with those who need them for special events. Freedom Place’s event fit the need she would want to fill. When Ashley was contacted she readily agreed to help find the residents formal dresses. She provided multiple fittings and stylings of gowns for the residents to find their perfect dress, at no cost to Freedom Place. Ashley’s Cinderella Closet didn’t stop with providing the dresses in fact the whole family got involved. They provided beautiful decorations and paid to have a meal catered on the night of the event from a nearby Italian restaurant.

The night of the Oscar-worthy event was memorable! All of the residents looked and felt amazing in their gowns. The residents received special awards prepared by their staff and beautiful gift bags from a volunteer, Camy. Each of the residents was celebrated and had their picture taken, by volunteers, Amy and Becky, to commemorate the special day! And it turned out to be a very special time for the residents, staff, and volunteers. Everyone’s passion to see a resident’s wish granted turned into a very fun and formal evening that made great memories for them all!



August 22, 2016

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Stephen and Jandy Brentlinger, Arrow foster parents with our Beaumont, Texas office, are very committed to their faith. They are just as committed to the foster children who come into their home. So when Stephen saw our recent Facebook post showing the great need for more foster families, he was compelled to write his own Facebook post to encourage others to consider fostering.
Below is Stephen’s impassioned post…

Fostering can be hard. It can be an emotional roller coaster. It’s a family decision that affects everyone in your household. It can test your patience, love, kindness, faith, and many other things. Sometimes it seems like it might even be too much to handle. People will comment that they don’t know how you could do it, or ask how you could love a child then watch them leave your home. There are days when you might even consider quitting and running away. We have.

But then you realize that everything is totally worth it. You realize that all the risk, all the heartache, all the tears, and all the possible pain are totally worth it. Why? Because it’s never about us in the first place. Our life should be about loving and serving others, and considering everyone else higher than ourselves. Our call to foster is about loving kids that are in desperate situations that they had no control over. It’s about putting the well-being of a child far above yours. It’s about extending love and grace to someone that desperately needs it, but is hopeless to receive it apart from you. Literally, you can affect a child’s life forever. Even if they leave your home, by your plan or the states plan.

You can’t know how it will turn out, and sometimes you won’t be happy with situations. But you CAN be love and grace to a child that so desperately wants to be loved. So desperately wants to be held, fed, and cared for. A child that was not loved enough to know how special and wonderful they are. The fear of the unknown could stop you in your tracks and keep you from fostering. Or maybe, your love for others could compel you to becoming a foster parent. You could realize that literally everyday children need foster homes, and you could stand up for the hopeless and needy, and love them with all your heart! Love them how they deserve to be loved, even if it hurts later. But you know what? They also could end up being your forever child! The only way to find out, is to foster. I beg you, think and pray about fostering.

If you’re still reading this, I’ll share in a couple of sentences how we handle fostering. To sum it up, we don’t handle it. Yep, we are selfish and not capable of handling it personally. We instinctively run from tough situations. But the good news for (my foster child), is that we serve and love a God that provides all we need. We serve a God that is much bigger than anything in the world, and can provide peace, patience, strength, energy, love, and everything else needed to foster. In short for us, God gives us the strength.

I once was lost, hopeless, and in desperate need of help. I was longing to be loved and cared for in ways I didn’t even understand. I had emptiness in my life and needed to be cared for in a way that I didn’t even know how to ask about. Then God ran. He ran to me in that moment and showed me the love, grace, and mercy I so desperately needed! When I was lost, God found me. I was empty, but God filled me. I didn’t even know what I needed, but God did. Fostering/Adoption is a perfect picture of what God has done for us.

Please call/message me if you want to talk about fostering or anything.

Would you consider fostering?

Beautifully said Stephen. Thank you Stephen and Jandy, for your caring hearts and your unselfish service to kids in need!

For information on the next information meeting in your area visit www.arrow.org/meeting

 



December 3, 2015

Sulfridge visitJennie Sulfridge knows how difficult the holiday season can be for foster parents and their children.

Christmas parties, traveling to see relatives, shopping outings to crowded stores and more add up to one long, stressful month. As a veteran foster parent with four adoptive daughters of her own, Jennie wanted to give advice to foster parents struggling through the holidays, and reassure them that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.

She recently orchestrated a foster parent lunch at the Arrow Headquarters in Spring. Jennie not only offered her time, but she and her daughters also provided appetizers and desserts, and even made decorations and centerpieces for the occasion. Jennie and her oldest daughter, Hannah, gave advice and answered questions for a room of about 50 foster parents.

One key piece of advice was for parents to make time for their children during the holiday season. Hannah called time the greatest gift a foster parent can give to their child, and Jennie agreed.

“Their lives haven’t ever been put first,” Jennie said. “Your time is your most valuable resource for them, so even when you don’t feel like it, it’s important to invest time in your kids.”

To make sure they made time for each other during the busy holiday season, Jennie made a special Advent calendar for herself and the girls. The calendar specified a new family activity to do together for each day leading up to Christmas, such as going ice skating, or looking at Christmas lights.

Jennie also urged parents to schedule time for peace and quiet during the holidays, and suggested letting foster children know ahead of time about holiday parties and family gatherings so they feel prepared.

But perhaps the most important piece of advice Jennie gave was to be flexible.

She gave the example of one Easter where her girls were having tantrums and breakdowns, so they didn’t end up celebrating the holiday until the Tuesday afterward.

Hannah urged patience for days when foster children continually misbehave. She said she tested Jennie’s boundaries shortly after she was placed in the home, and Jennie’s patience with her eventually lead to a breakthrough.

“I had a lot of doubts about if I’d actually stay,” she said. “But I remember one week, I was bad seven days in a row, and by day eight mom hadn’t given up on me. I was reassured that I wasn’t going anywhere.”



October 1, 2015

Poole fam 3An Arrow family who adopted three children from foster care, two of whom have special needs, has been named Adoptive Family of the Year by the Texas Alliance of Child and Family Services!

Kendrick and Rosalyn Poole had been involved in the deaf ministry at their church when they felt called to adopt a child with a hearing impairment. The couple felt especially equipped to parent a deaf child because Kendrick himself is deaf, and Rosalyn is an American Sign Language interpreter.

A search on an adoption website led them to seek out more information about a 14-year-old girl named Dynasty. Dynasty was born deaf, and had been in foster care since she was 8 years old.  During her 6 years in foster care, Dynasty had struggled through 14 foster care placements and was living in a group home. Being bounced from home to home, and not having the proper support and guidance she needed to cope with her disability, caused severe trauma in Dynasty’s life. Never had she been in a foster home that was able to communicate effectively with her in sign language.

That is, until Kendrick and Rosalyn came into the picture.

The Pooles became licensed foster parents, and finally welcomed Dynasty into their home. Dynasty felt immediately accepted. Kendrick and Rosalyn not only loved and cared for her, but could communicate with her in sign language. Six months later, she became Dynasty Poole when she was officially adopted by the Pooles.

But Rosalyn and Kendrick weren’t done. A search on the Texas Adoption Resource Exchange website lead them to two brothers who had been featured on the website for more than two years. One of the brothers, Wesley, had developmental and communication challenges that required the use of sign language.  Wesley and his brother William were placed with the Pooles in October of last year, and their adoption into the growing Poole family was finalized last month. Since being placed with the Pooles, William has learned sign language and can now perfectly communicate with his brother, sister, father and mother.

“The Pooles are a wonderful family worthy of this award for what they have done for these three children,” said Mala Ganapati, Arrow’s Regional Adoption Coordinator who nominated them for the award. “They are strong advocates for their children, and give them unconditional love and acceptance. The Pooles are a testament to the fact that there are no barriers when it comes to adoption.”



August 20, 2015

Emma Showalter
Emma gives away books at the Spring Back to School event.

Instead of getting birthday presents from her friends, Emma Showalter decided to use her ninth birthday as an opportunity to collect books for Arrow foster children.

Emma said she got the idea after seeing the film Annie. The movie sparked a conversation about foster care between Emma and her mom, Jennifer Showalter. After discussing some of the difficulties kids in foster care face, Emma asked her mom “So what do we do? Do we just wish them well and send them on their way?”

That comment lead to a discussion about ways to help children in foster care, and eventually, Emma decided that she would use her upcoming birthday to collect books for Arrow foster kids.

Emma collected more than 100 books for the kids, and made bookmarks. She set up a table at the Spring office’s back to school event, where the kids could come and pick out a book and bookmark of their own.

“I liked giving out the books and bookmarks,” Emma said. “It was fun to see how excited the kids were when they got a book to keep.”

Thanks so much to the Showalter family! Emma’s heart for giving has truly inspired us.

 

 

 

 

 



May 13, 2015

giving1Instead of a more traditional Mother’s Day present, our friends at Living Word Church of the Nazarene gave the mothers in their congregation the gift of giving!

In years past the church had given mothers flowers, or other small gifts. This year, in accordance with their mission statement to “see life transformed through the living Word of God,” they made a donation to Freedom Place on behalf of all of the mothers.

“We told them the Sunday before that we would be giving the best Mother’s Day gift ever,” said Rev. Larry Morris. “When we revealed what it was, they were thrilled. We had a great reception of that.”

The gift inspired more donations to Freedom Place from individual members of the congregation. When all was said and done, Freedom Place received $1,885.

Thank you Living Word Church! We are so blessed by your generous gift.



May 7, 2015

When Ken Keung was removed from abuse and neglect and placed in foster care, the love and commitment he received from his Arrow foster family changed his life forever.

His family recognized Ken needed a way to express himself, and had a gift for art, so they gave him a set of oil paints. That gift set Ken on a path of honing his skill, and eventually to studying art in college.

Ken Keung presents his Arrow caseworker with a special gift (inset: one of Ken's paintings)
Ken Keung presents his Arrow caseworker with a special gift (inset: one of Ken’s paintings)

“My foster family loves my paintings, and they encourage me so much,” Ken said. “Right now they own four of my paintings in their house, and I will paint more because I feel like this is my home, and they treat me like a family member.”

The influence Ken’s foster family had on his life was pivotal in his success as an adult. The love and encouragement they showed him helped him find purpose in his life.

Unfortunately, many foster children will not get the same opportunities as Ken. There are 400,000 children in care across the nation, but not enough foster families to take them in. Some may never receive the love and guidance they need and deserve. These children are placed in group homes, or sometimes even end up living in psychiatric hospitals for an extended period of time.

The best environment for foster children is a home with a family, but the reality is some foster children are much less likely to be placed in a home than others due to their race or age. Foster parents who open their homes to children have the option of choosing who they will take into their home. Children under 2 years old who are white are the easiest to place. Unfortunately, African American children and those who are older than 8 years old are the least likely to be matched with a family of their own.

Additionally, many parents want to add to their family through foster-to-adopt, and while this is a wonderful goal, there is a need for foster parents who are willing to take in children who may never become available for adoption. About a third of children in state care have a permanency goal of reunification with their biological parents, and these children need a foster home just as much as those whose permanency goal is adoption. The average length of stay in foster care for these children is just over a year.

There are children entering foster care today that need your spare room for a while. Those children may be a racial minority, or a teenager. They may need to stay for a few months, or a few years. Regardless of race, age or length of stay, they all desperately need a stable home environment where they can feel safe and heal from the trauma that brought them into state care.

Learn what it takes to be a committed foster family by attending and information meeting. Visit www.arrow.org/meeting for the date, time and location of the next info meeting in your area.



October 2, 2014


News coverage

Waco TV station KXXV aired a story on the need for more foster parents in the Waco area Wednesday evening, and Denise Mason, an Ambassador Family Specialist in the Waco office, gave an on-air interview.

About 150 more children are in foster care in McLennan County, where Waco is located, than last year. As a result, the need for safe, loving foster families has risen sharply.

We are excited our Waco team raised awareness about the needs of foster children in their community!

You can view the clip here.