WHITELAND — A Whiteland-area nonprofit serving foster families celebrates a new place to call home.
Resources of Hope is a community organization that wraps its arms around foster families in central Indiana through material support and items from their closet, training for foster parents and programming for foster teens.
At the ribbon cutting for their new facility off Whiteland Road, WRTV surprised Executive Director Renae Furnee with the Jefferson Award for Multiplying Good. Through this award, we look for the unsung heroes who make a difference in the lives of people in our community.
"I see people who have hammered down there and laid floors and I see foster parents who are making a difference in our community every day," Furnee said to a crowd of supporters at the ceremony,
A colorful mural leads you into the large space that allows the organization to serve more families and foster kids in need without having to turn anyone away.
"With this relocation, we expanded our physical space almost three times," said Furnee. "What that means is our Teen Connect for our teenagers in care, we don't have to turn them away anymore."
And for former foster teen Kathryn Huber, the program Teen Connect made all the difference.
"It's basically where you just come together with teen girls and just live life together," said Huber, who entered foster care at the age of 13. She says she feels blessed to have been adopted by her foster mom at 15. Her foster mom is the founder of Resources of Hope.
"It was just a lot of growing and figuring out who I was while also figuring out who my parents were and where I was living and what I was doing," said Huber.
She added that it was difficult to be a teen in the system, as many resources are for younger babies and children.
But the closet at Resources of Hope provides some material items for teens like her and programming to help her find her footing.
The tens meet once a month to do projects, learn basic skills, eat meals, watch movies and more. It helps them build connections with other teens who can relate to their experiences in foster care.
"And that really, really helped me," said Kathryn. "Yeah, like 10 out of 10 recommend."
For foster parents, the training provided by Resources of Hope is valuable.
Jason Kempf and his wife began fostering nearly six years ago and since then have fostered nearly 20 kids.
They ended up adopting their first placement, Eva, who has special needs.
Furnee helped them find adaptive clothing for Eva.
"She has been a big champion for us to just keep going," said Kempf.
To learn more about Resources of Hope and to help them help foster families in central Indiana, you can visit their website ResourcesofHope.org.