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  • Writer's pictureAngel Williams

How All For Family Spent Our Summer

This blog post is long overdue, but we cannot properly greet Fall without sharing some great highlights from our summer. We also want to make sure we recognize some very terrific people who helped All For Family this summer accomplish our goals.

As you hopefully already know, All For Family expanded in March to open up a second visit location at Exchange Church in Arnold. What you may not yet know is that, after we opened our visit site in Arnold, we were also provided an opportunity to move out of our original tiny Hillsboro location into Hillsboro United Methodist Church. Our new HUMC location affords us a larger visit room, a gymnasium we can use as well, along with an outdoor pavilion and playground. This was an opportunity we could not pass up. We, therefore, spent the end of May relocating to HUMC, with the gracious help of volunteers from their church. We now have two great locations to better serve our families for supervised family visits. Needless to say, we have been quite busy doing just that.

In addition to all of the above excitement, we were very sad to see our wonderful Office Manager, Nikki Allemann leave us, though we are grateful she stayed on as a board member. Therefore, our summer was also quite busy recruiting and training our new wonderful Office Manager, Sandra Hendrix.

In the middle of July, we held our second annual Foster Parent Training Extravaganza, which was another successful event. In the nature of the work we do, we cannot share photos of children who attend our event. Though our event was held on a very scorching hot day of at least 104 degrees, our younger participants enjoyed a few moments of shaded outdoor mild water play and bubbles in the morning, and wonderful playtime in two different toy rooms, and in a Soft Play Room (right photo above), which was made possible by "We Came To Play - Soft Play". Our older children also had themed rooms to play in and explore, and were kept cool outside with wonderful water inflatables we rented from Twin City Party Rentals in Crystal City/Festus. They also enjoyed popcorn and a movie on a big screen while relaxing inside in the late afternoon hours.

While children were having the time of their lives during our Foster Parent Training Extravaganza, their parents &/or placement providers were busy completing various training classes. Some of our adult participants expressed that they were uncertain about staying the whole day, but they were enjoying the training so much that much that they decided to stay. This is just the type of feedback we like to hear from one of our events, and we are so grateful everything went well.

In discussing our Foster Parent Training Event, there are several people we would like to give a huge shout out to. First, we would like to give very special acknowledgment to New Hope Fellowship Church in High Ridge. Not only did they graciously allow us to use their facility to host our event, but they are also provided breakfast and lunch for our families and volunteers, and helped in many other ways with our event as well. We feel very blessed to have had their help with this event. We can't begin to thank them enough for all they did.

We also know our event would not have been possible without our amazing trainers: Debbie Lakin, Jane Dycus, Dyanne Pienkowski, Tammy Delbruegge, guest co-trainer Karen Jones from Great Circle, and our amazing nurse foster parent, Makayla Henson, who filled in at the last minute to provide medical training when our other trainer failed to show.

We, of course, would also like to thank our wonderful volunteers who helped set up &/or provided childcare during our event. We would like to thank Amy Baum, Gabi Staskewicz, Elaine Andree, Allie Stephens, Emily Lucas, Elvis Reeder, Cheri Phillips, Lily Stephens, Tasha Sullivan, Tanya Mercer, and our amazing partners from Festus White Castle, Patti Nasalroad and Tiffany.

We cannot begin to thank everyone enough for all of their hard work in making another successful Foster Parent Training Extravaganza possible. This year's event also included a foster parent recruitment informational session, which was a nice addition. We sincerely also thank the families who attended our event for being so attentive, engaged, and asking our trainers questions. This helped make the event pleasant for both families and trainers, for which we are very grateful.

We anticipate our Fall/Winter months will be even more hectic, so please stay tuned for more information on upcoming events.

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