HELPING CHILDREN IN NEED
It was 2017, and Lacy Nickelson felt the call to do more for children in need. She and her husband Tom opened their hearts and doors through the Police Protective Custody program.
Through the PPC program, they learned just how many area children are in need of support.
“Our eyes were opened to the great need in our area for more quality PPC homes, respite homes, and foster families,” Lacy said. “It seemed like there were several resources for biological families but possibly not for the foster and adoptive families.”
“I started feeling a calling on my heart to do something for these local foster families in Southeast Kansas.”
Many area children are in need of support.
That calling led to the creation of Fostering Connections, an organization Nickelson launched in 2018 to provide various levels of support for foster families. The organization offers faith-based support through training and events that benefit both the child and his/her foster family.
The mission of Fostering Connections, Nickelson said, is to connect communities and churches to “bless children in foster care.”
“Fostering Connections really does a lot of different things,” she said. “I feel like it is important because there is no other organization offering these programs and events in Southeast Kansas.”
“There is a lot available for our kids in this area.”
The events range from coffee nights for moms and parent retreats to family fun nights and kids nights out. The overall goal of the various events and activities is to provide support for both the foster parents and the children.
“I continue to think of initiatives and events that would be beneficial, and I get really excited about it,” Nickelson said. “This is what leads me to believe we are onto something right, something good, something hopefully that can change attitudes, beliefs, thought processes, and futures.”
The Pittsburg community can support Fostering Connections in multiple ways, including donations of time, talent, and treasure. Volunteers are needed to help at events, and monetary donations offset the costs of hosting the various events and activities.
“Support financially allows us to continue to bless foster families and provide experiences for these children who have never had these positive family experiences,” she said. “We want to keep showing the love of Christ and spreading the message of Jesus to these children who have experienced so much trauma.”
Nickelson, a mother of four, said she’s proud of all of the opportunities and support she’s found in Pittsburg.
“There is a lot available for our kids in this area,” she said. “We are blessed to have an amazing Chamber that seeks new and different ways to keep Pittsburg fresh and fun for people of all ages. Southeast Kansas is also an area where there is much need for resources for children who may have experienced trauma, so I feel like God has me right where I am supposed to be.”
For more information about Fostering Connections, visit fosteringconnectionsks.org.