The Networks of Mid-Missouri, the Giving Tree, and Shelter Insurance are hosting a winter gift drive to support the efforts of Great Circle, an agency fighting the foster care crisis in our community.
You can help by making a donation at the Winter Wishes Gift Drive benefiting Boone County foster youth on Friday, November 20.
Bring a new, unwrapped holiday gift or a monetary gift to Shelter Insurance on West Broadway in Columbia. The drive will be held from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., and if $5000 in donations is reached, a generous donor will match it with $5000.
To get involved, volunteer, or donate to the Winter Wishes Gift Drive, email Susan Reeves at firstname.lastname@example.org, or go to the event.
Susan Reeves joins us on “This Week” to talk about Great Circle and how you can help make a difference. Here’s our conversation:
Susan Reeves: Great Circle is the former Boys and Girls Town of Missouri. The new name was established in 2009, when we merged with Edgewood Children’s Center in St. Louis.
Joey Parker: And the mission of Great Circle?
Susan Reeves: Our mission is to help those who are struggling with circumstances beyond their control. So, we come out with a child welfare background. More and more we are providing behavioral health services to try and help prevent children from coming into care, the foster system and to also provide the treatment that they need.
Joey Parker: At this point, you are serving more than 26,000 children, right?
Susan Reeves: We, our last year was 20,000 that we served kids and family members.
Joey Parker: This also includes fostering.
Susan Reeves: Oh, absolutely. Yes.
Joey Parker: And that’s a big thing for you guys and its becoming a bit of a problem finding foster families.
Susan Reeves: Absolutely, there aren’t enough people coming forward to foster children so children then are in a situation where they aren’t in the most ideal setting, placement and so they get moved a lot and that’s more trauma for them.
Joey Parker: If someone is interested in being a foster parent, they can just contact Great Circle?
Susan Reeves: Absolutely, and our website is greatcircle.org, so we have information about our foster care training program and we’re happy to talk with anyone who is interested in that.
Joey Parker: What drew you to the program?
Susan Reeves: Well, a variety of things. I actually started out in development at the School of Social Work at MU and I became acquainted with the organization then at that time a lot of the alumni worked with Great Circle. And it’s just close to my heart. I see a lot of kids and families in this community struggling. Some of my kids friends and their families so it just gives me an opportunity to be in it with families and try to give them the resources that they need.
Joey Parker: That’s a great purpose. My life has impacted by my foster family as well. So, I know the importance of that. Hey, we have the Winter Wishes Gift Drive coming up, one week from today.
Susan Reeves: Absolutely.
Joey Parker: Alright, and that’s going to be 7 to 7, at the Shelter Insurance parking lot in Columbia.
Susan Reeves: Yes.
Joey Parker: What are we looking for?
Susan Reeves: Well, we are looking for gifts for children of all ages but primarily for those that are a little bit older, so anything like clothing, sports equipment, technology, um art supplies we do have a list available on our website.
Joey Parker: And if you don’t have things laying around the house you can bring a gift card.
Susan Reeves: Absolutely, now we do ask for new items because they are gifts for kids so, and unwrapped, because we will be sorting them to make sure that all the kids get covered. But there is over 400 kids in foster care in Boone County, so we partner with The Giving Tree which is another organization of foster parents actually and children’s divisions so.
Joey Parker: Alright, well we are proud to team up with you guys and certainly anything anyone can use pretty much is on the list.
Susan Reeves: Yes, because we have older youth that are just getting started we try to get them set up into an apartments, they live in group homes so as teens they need all kinds of things. Then we also have needs for financial support if someone doesn’t want to do the shopping, you know we have a small budget so we can try and fill in where we can but anytime somebody can provide that gift it’s a huge help.
Joey Parker: Alright, Susan Reeves thank you very much for joining us.
Susan Reeves: Thank you.
Joey Parker: Alright, we will see you Friday.
Susan Reeves: Sounds good.