Faith Community Rallies to Support Foster Community

Forum Set for April 20

Covington, La. – To highlight the increasing challenges facing foster children in our area, particularly teens who are transitioning out of the system, Dr. Michael Sprague (Louisiana State Chaplain, Capitol Commission) and Judge Scott Gardner (22nd Judicial District Court, Division G) are leading the charge with James Samaritan and two dozen local pastors to educate the faith-based community about the hurdles these youth face and to mobilize forces to strengthen a local mentoring program.

A Pastors’/Leaders’ Gathering will be held on Tuesday, April 20, from 1:30-2:30 p.m. at First Baptist Church Covington, and the event is open to pastors, church members, and anyone else in the community who would like to learn more. Registration is required.

Attendees will hear from Judge Gardner and James Samaritan staff about the critical needs of the foster care system and the children and youth it serves. Perhaps most important, they will share information about Open Table, a proven mentoring program facilitated by local nonprofit James Samaritan, an organization that supports and empowers children and families in foster care.

Open Table is a program that trains small groups of volunteers to form a support family, or “table,” whose members use their vocational and life experiences as tools to assist marginalized youth who are transitioning out of foster care and accept the offer to join a “table.” Youth as young as 17 use these tools and relationships to develop life skills and achieve life goals while also learning to trust adults who are committed to their well-being. By participating, the youth are more likely to avoid human trafficking, substance abuse, homelessness, and unemployment.

“If people of good faith and goodwill come together in trust-filled relationships, it will be possible to solve this crisis. Please come to this event to learn how you can be part of the solution,” Sprague said.

For more information or to register for the April 20 event, email Dr. Sprague at mdsprague00@bellsouth.net. If registering more than one person, please include the names and email addresses of all in the party.

For more information on James Samaritan and Open Table, visit jamessamaritan.org.