May is National Foster Care Awareness Month. Seattle Angels, a wonderful not-for-profit organization, is focused on wrapping community around children and families in the foster care system. Their mission statement is centered on the journey of providing consistent attention to those in the foster care system that need it most by harnessing the organizations three central pillars: intentional giving, relationship building, and mentorship using their values of community, empowerment, and hope to guide them.
While Seattle Angels serve the greater Seattle region, their board is primarily made up of residents in the Woodinville and Redmond communities. Many have fostered, adopted or experienced foster care firsthand.
President of Seattle Angels, Deb Christian, has made creating sustainable change in the foster care system her life’s mission in a myriad of ways. After working with high school students that needed some additional support, she and her husband welcomed two boys into their home for two years. When it came time to transition the boys to a permanent residency, Christian knew her heart would be turned towards helping foster care in any way she could. After being inspired by a program she had heard of in Texas, she decided to take it upon herself to make it so the Seattle area had similar resources and an organization that could provide the best care and support for those young people that need it most.
Christian knows what it means to be an advocate and to speak up for those whose voices may not always be heard. “I specifically feel that the “unheard” voice of kids in care is where our community wide effort needs to focus. Statistically every category of heartbreak in our community, homelessness, human trafficking, addiction, incarceration all have strong and deep numbers from the foster care system in Washington state,” said Christian. She explained how Seattle Angels works as a bit of a matchmaker by working with placement agencies to identify families that are fostering in the communities they serve.
Christian also has a deep understanding of emotional security and its importance. She sees emotional security as key attachments to a secure future. “When those attachments have been damaged, it takes a deep and wide effort to bring that security back… Seattle Angels believes that each child deserves to have at least one healthy adult in their lives that knows the color of their eyes and the desires of their heart. Relational healing requires relationships, not just the physical and safety needs, but relationships,” explained Christian.
Christian went on to talk of the need of volunteers and support despite an already very engaged community. The values of neighborly love and backing seem to hold paramount. Seattle Angels recruits in churches and businesses, neighborhood groups and wherever they can meet good people. They then match them with families to foster this relationship. Their system requires training these individuals, equipping them, supporting them, and of course running a background check.
“We are currently looking to continue to add to our volunteer pool to be ready to step in and match whenever a new family is identified. We need the financial support of community members as well to do this work. While the method that we programmatically serve is based on an army of volunteers, the trauma training, comprehensive safety and careful matching all take man-hours to provide a good match for all and that requires financial support to grow our capacity to serve in expanding fashion,” said Christian.
Christian believes in nearly equal parts that caring holistically about fostering families can change the lives of kids in care and that caring for fostering families can also change the story of the lives of those who volunteer. “I believe that we too can live a better story if we turn our eyes towards those in our midst who simply need the thing we can offer [and that’s] community. It’s a pretty simple formula,” said Christian.
Seattle Angels loves to share more with any and all interested. “We would love to have Angel Ambassadors giving a monthly donation to help support this much needed work in our community,” said Christian.