(KXNET) — The Lily Initiative started two years ago when the Evangel Assembly of God felt the need to help foster families after hearing a startling statistic.
“A lot of foster families were having a burnout rate of 75%,” explained Lily Initiative Coordinator, Annika Hapip, “so we started this support ministry to support our Evangel foster families.”
Hapip decided there had to be a way to help those foster families — and that’s when the Lily Initiative was born.
“We’ve been very fortunate in able to help our Evangel Foster families in that way,” Hapip continued. “Just for them to know that they are seen, loved, and known — that they are not in it on their own.”
Hapip believes burnout can come from a variety of things.
“Sometimes it’s just the traumas that kids have experienced,” she noted, “and bringing that into their own home, and whether they are prepared for that or not.”
These reasons are exactly why she says providing support for those fostering is critical.
“It’s really practical support,” Hapip explained. “Showing up, having a meal in hand, or running to Target or Walmart socks or shoes for a kid that who showed up at their home with almost nothing.”
The initiative has several teams to help foster families — such as Game of Champions, which focuses on working with biological parents on the steps to being reunited with their child.
“We also have a grandparents team which is a grandparent role for these foster kiddos, and the bio kiddos of the foster family,” Hapid stated. “And that’s just a role model for these kids, where they know someone is going to be present in their lives. Showing up to their soccer games, their plays, and really, just helping teach them life skills.
The Lily Initiative received its name due to a scripture in the Bible, which talks about the Lily Flower and about its carefree nature.
“Children are like the lilies,” Hapip mused. “They are special. They have purpose. We want them to know that there is a place for them.”
The Lily Initiative started with 15 foster families, and now, it’s grown to assist 32.
Over time, the program hopes to continue to help foster families — and even other churches looking to lend a helping hand.