Proud Grandma Serves Foster Families
Cindy Bare became interested in foster care when ministry directors Chuck and Sandy Mingonet first shared the intent of launching a foster care ministry at First Baptist Church of Woodstock three years ago. Due to her age and level of energy, Cindy wondered if there was a way for her to serve other than actually fostering children. "I didn't know what to expect from attending orientation and if I could be a part of this ministry because of the limited amount of things I am able to do," said Cindy. After attending orientation she was excited to learn of the various roles and opportunities available as a volunteer. "I thought I could do something to help support these families and children in ways that perhaps others couldn't."
As a youth pastor's secretary for a number of years as well as being the proud grandparent of six grandchildren, five boys ages 10-16 and an infant girl, Cindy's experiences with children and youth prepared her to serve in this ministry. Cindy was assigned to a group of families and would be contacted to provide food and supplies as families received placement of children. Six months passed before she received her first real opportunity to serve - providing transportation for a little girl. At the time of Madisson's placement she needed a ride to school while her foster parent taught at another school. "This is how I became a driver and I drove her every day for the last month of school that year," Cindy explains. "It was rewarding way to spend 20 minutes once or twice a day as needed. I can do this. I can drive children," thought Cindy.
"At first Madisson wouldn't talk to me. Then I started to ask her questions about her favorite thing she did at school that day, what do you love most about school and do you have any hobbies. Understanding I couldn't ask personal questions, I was interested to learn what she was interested in." Cindy was able to make a lasting impression by sharing one of her hobbies with Madisson. "Some of the children in Madisson's class were learning to knit and she couldn't quite figure it out. One morning she saw me knitting while waiting to take her to school. I got her some yarn and taught her how to finger knit. That was something we could do together and it was fun."
"I love being with all the children I have transported and staying in touch with them as much as possible. In mid-September, I had the privilege of attending the adoption party of Madisson Dittus. Like my own grandchildren, I enjoy being an honorary grandparent to all of the foster children I serve by attending their events and programs when I can-and especially if their parents or grandparents are not able to."
Cindy expresses the need for more volunteers to be willing to serve in this ministry, especially drivers to take children to school, counseling and doctors' appointments. "The need for drivers depends on the needs of the families and children and their schedules." Last year, Cindy and Sandy Mingonet spoke to the senior adult ladies at church encouraging their involvement as Community of Care volunteers. "I feel seniors are an untapped group of people that could easily provide transportation for children. This group could do more to keep the children in their own schools so they do not have to encounter the disruption of relocating to another school. You just need enough people who are willing to drive them on a regular basis."
After two and half years and serving 12-15 children of all age ranges, Cindy shares how much she enjoys being a driver. "I am right where I should be, and emotionally I want to do more." She offers the following advice to those considering volunteering or supporting the ministry in any way, "Go in with your eyes, mind and heart wide open. You don't have to be a foster parent or even keep a child in your home, but there is always a way for you to help these families and children through volunteering."
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