Between Families – February 2022

February is Black History Month!

February is Black History Month in the United States, which is also referred to as African American History Month. Black History Month is a time of remembrance of Black history and a celebration of Black achievement. While the foundations for Black History Month were laid as early as the 1920s, it began an official National Day of Celebration in 1976 under President Gerald Ford. Today, Black History Month is celebrated in the United States, Canada and Europe.

The theme for Black History Month in 2022 is “Black Health and Wellness”. While celebrating Black achievements in medicine and healthcare in the United States, this year’s theme is also intended to bring focus on how healthcare has often underserved the Black community. It is hoped that shining a light on Black health and wellness will bring focus to this ongoing concern and encourage members of the Black community to seek health and wellness services for themselves and their loved ones. Sharing information about Black health and wellness is a great way to build on 2021’s theme of “The Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity”. TFI is doing its part to celebrate Black lives and to ensure the company is creating equal opportunities for all genders and races with its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee.

The official website for Black History Month is blackhistorymonth.gov. Here you can find exhibits and collections, audio and video resources, resources for teachers, links to scheduled events, images, and other important information for you and your family. The history of Black History Month is explored in the pages of this website, including links to the African American History references of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Park Services, The Smithsonian Institution, and the United States Holocaust Museum. Please take the time to visit these sites and look around.

Honoring Black history and celebrating the achievements of the Black community is not limited only to February. It is important that we acknowledge the sacrifices made by the Black community in America and that we celebrate Black achievements all year long. Please consider your family’s Health & Wellness during this month of reflection and celebration.

Oklahoma Care Provider of the Month

Robin Holman has been a certified foster parent since 2019. She has been a foster parent for TFI since June 2020, and she serves as a traditional foster parent as well as a therapeutic foster parent. Holman has placement of three children with two being therapeutic foster children. She is a strong advocate to ensure children placed in her home receive the services needed and are able to be children. Holman is a blessing to all children who come into her home and TFI is thankful to her for all she does for children in her care.

Oklahoma News

As a foster parent, one of your goals – a goal you share with your partners in the rest of the child welfare system – is to support children and parents who are dealing with multiple traumas. One way to do this is to help children understand and make new meaning of their traumatic history and current experiences. Foster parents can help children do this by encouraging them to share their life story, acknowledging their feelings and reminding them the bad things that have happened to them are not their fault. Life books are a great way to accomplish all these things.

Life Books
A life book is a recording of a child’s memories, past and present mementos, photos, drawings, and journals. These are preserved in a binder, photo album or book. The child uses a life book to record her/his history and their goals for the future. Written stories by the child and others are the heart of the life book.

Typically, life books are started when the child is moved from their birth parents’ care. They’re an ongoing process. While it’s best to start a life book when the child is first placed in foster care, it’s never too late to start. The life book belongs to the child. The child decides who can look at it. If the child moves, the life book goes with her/him.

Benefits of Life Books
The process of creating a life book can:help the social worker, foster parent, birth parent and child form an alliance.

  • help children understand their life events.
  • give children a clearer sense of their life story.
  • provide a vehicle for children to share their life histories with others.
  • increase a child’s self-esteem by recording their growth and development.
  • help the child’s birth family share in the time when they are living apart.
  • contribute to an adoptive family’s understanding of the child’s past.

*All children in placement are required to have a life book. If you are in need of a life book for your child, please contact your TFI worker who will provide you with one.

Texas Care Provider of the Month

Jordan and Cynthia Mahannah opened their home in Tulia, Texas, in December 2021. They are excitedly anticipating providing care to any child in need. The Mahannah’s are motivated to eventually adopt and are eager to foster and help children in their area who are needing a loving home.

The Mahannah’s enjoy outdoor outings, walking their three dogs and attending sporting events. They have the full support of their extended family who live nearby willing to assist in any way. We are proud to partner with Jordan and Cynthia to meet the needs of children in Texas.

Texas News

Professional Foster Care is coming soon to Texas! We are thrilled to announce that Texas Foster Care’s first professional foster home will begin serving children soon in the Abilene area. Our professional foster family will serve high-needs children who have had a difficult time finding placements in more conventional settings. While one parent will work outside of the home, our other parent will be on hand throughout the day to support the children placed in this home.

TFI is pioneering this program in Texas in response to a need for emergency, highly-trained placements for these really awesome children. Texas Foster Care hopes to create more of these homes throughout the parts of Texas served by TFI. Watch this space for future details!

Training Corner

What is Self-Care?

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines self-care as “what people do for themselves to establish and maintain health, and to prevent and deal with illness. It is a broad concept encompassing hygiene (general and personal), nutrition (type and quality of food eaten), lifestyle (sporting activities, leisure, etc.), environmental factors (living conditions, social habits, etc.) socio-economic factors (income level, cultural beliefs, etc.) and self-medication.”

Self-care is anything you do to take care of yourself so you can stay physically, mentally and emotionally well. The benefits of self-care include better physical, mental and emotional health and well-being.

Read the article below, fill out the quiz and send to your worker for credit. 

Need Additional Training?

Check out these other training opportunities in February

Recruitment Spotlight

As most of you know, TFI has an ambassador program which rewards TFI families for successfully referring new families to our agency. All families that enter the ambassador program by referring families are entered into an annual prize drawing for $1,000. In 2021, we had 39 families from Kansas, 12 from Oklahoma and one from Texas who entered the ambassador program. We have completed this year’s drawing, and Ryan and Holly Tullous from Oklahoma are the lucky winners of the $1,000 prize!

Thank you to all our TFI families that helped us recruit in 2021. You have not only impacted the lives of the children who are placed in your home but the lives of every child who is placed in the homes you helped recruit. I challenge all our TFI families to help educate your family and friends on the need for foster homes this year. Have a great month!

-Recruitment Team

Fund Development

Love is in the Air!

This month we want to let our foster families, kids in care, staff, volunteers, donors, community partners and all other individuals who help TFI thrive know that we love them and love what they do!

We recently had a child under the age of one who needed a corrective helmet, and it was not covered by insurance. TFI was able to help purchase the helmet and we couldn’t have done it without our donors and community partners! So, thank you and we love you! The child will get the additional help he needs now to insure he grows properly without causing other issues.

Be watching in the upcoming months about our events in Kansas, Texas and Oklahoma! There are lots of good things happening in 2022!

Don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you have any contacts, questions or fun stories of generosity at 785-213-6161 or skearney@tfifamily.org.

Thanks for all you do!

Oklahoma/Texas: Steven Mandeville | 918-728-3378 | smandeville@tfifamily.org 
Kansas/Nebraska: Sheila Kearney | 785-213-6161 | skearney@tfifamily.org 
Events & Volunteer Coordinator: Libby Hayden | 785-294-6606 | ehayden@tfifamily.org

Due to our annual prize drawing announced earlier in this newsletter, there will be no giveaway this month. However, be on the lookout for next month’s prize winner! Thank you for all your support!

Happy Anniversary

Thank you for opening your hearts and homes to children in need.

8 Years
Marlon & Dawana Bates

7 Years
Darin & Cherie “Jane” Dingus

6 Years
Roy “Justin” and Suzanne Sanchez

1 Year
Emily Lock
Leasha Strang
Seth & Chanielle Thibault
Kody & Jasmin Trower
Denae Jones
Charles “Allyn” & Emily Weddle
Jacob & Kaycee Davis
Samuel & Hannah Williamson
David & Angel Gonzalez
Joshua & Felisha Laningham
Weston & Sarah Copeland
Edgar “Eddie” & Sarah Mariel
Brian & Loretta Dubois
Jamie Betchan
Lori Woods
Tyler & Emili O’Brien
Brian & Amanda Miller
Dane & Morgan Long
Eric & Elizabeth Burden
Lori Rex
Michael “Andy” Neria & Rhonda Shepherd
Beatriz “Vivian” Birdsell
Isaac Peres Pinheiro Da Silva & Lindsey Peres
Shane & Jessica Luxton
Matthew & Heidi Chancellor
Sara Hall
Staci Hermreck-Allen

Amazon Smile

Every time you make a purchase on Amazon, TFI Family Services can earn money and participating does NOT increase the price you pay for your purchases. Visit smile.amazon.com or click the picture above and select TFI Family Services to support youth in foster care.

Dillons Rewards

Every time you make a purchase at Dillons, TFI Family Services can earn money. Please visit dillons.com/communityrewards or click the picture above and select TFI Family Services as your nonprofit to support youth in foster care.