Students, teachers, staff and parents will now be greeted by a colorful mural when they enter the lobby of Add B. Anderson School in Southwest Philadelphia. The mural project is an example of how our BOOST after-school program is keeping kids engaged in science through the creativity of art.
~Lisa Barnelli, Family Reunification Case Manager, Lutheran Children and Family Service
My job can be tough. As Family Reunification Case Manager for Lutheran Children and Family Service, I come into the picture after children have been taken away from their family. Children are placed outside their homes for a number of reasons – drug-addicted parents, financial hardships, child abuse and neglect. If the problems aren’t resolved or improved, the children can’t return home. Fortunately, there are case managers like me who work diligently to help these children and their parents get the services they need and deserve to become a healthy family unit again.
~Rich Gitlen, Executive Director, Lutheran Children and Family Service
Carlos is the local General Manager of a national restaurant chain. When he was 19 years old, he attended community college and graduated with his Associate’s Degree in Education. In high school, he was the Vice President of the National Honor Society; he joined the Anti-Defamation League which allowed him to work on issues such as discrimination and bullying within the school.
Does Carlos sound like someone you may know, your son, grandson or even your neighbor’s child?
Let me share with you from the beginning Carlos’ story, a true journey of perseverance.
Through a partnership with the Philadelphia Department of Human Services, LCFS will provide direct case management services to families in order to provide more accessible local solutions and resources to them and their children. They will also develop connections to formal and informal neighborhood networks. The goal is to strengthen and stabilize families, as well as recruit and retain foster and adoptive parents in the neighborhoods where the truant children reside.
Shayne Brock, an eighth grade student at Bryant Middle School in West Philadelphia, has his friends to thank for enrolling in our Best Out of School Time (BOOST) program.
“Instead of just running the streets and not being good kids, we just decided to join this and have fun,” Shayne says.
Brothers Joel and Narcisse Bakutibe, students at Norristown High School, are settling into a new school and a new life in Pennsylvania. With support from Liberty’s Lutheran Children and Family Service Refugee Resettlement staff and many volunteers from Trinity Lutheran Church, Fairview Village, these boys are enjoying the typical activities of ninth grade students.
The brothers arrived in May 2014 from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Volunteers, led by Yolanda Zimmerman and Joan Fichtner, began working together to prepare for their arrival in October 2013 – seven months prior.
Yolanda recalls, “We had ample time to prepare but there was much to do. We needed to locate a house, gather furniture and household items, investigate school registration, and medical care. Each person on the team took responsibility for one area and enlisted the help of others to provide meals, clothing and teaching the ways of our culture.”
Over the summer months the boys visited the Norristown High School, where they met the soccer coach and made new friends. Seeing their potential, the coach purchased the shoes, shin guards and uniforms for the boys.
“Having new friends and a sport they both love was a great way to start the school year. Parents got to know them too and have been supportive to the whole family. It’s been great to see this,” Yolanda says. “This experience has been amazing. I’ve learned how much I take for granted and how important literacy is in our daily lives. By working together to support this family, our spiritual life has been enhanced and our relationships with each other have strengthened.”
Lutheran Children and Family Service (LCFS,) the largest refugee resettlement agency in Pennsylvania, welcomes Jessica Knapp as Refugee Program Coordinator to lead its refugee services office in Lancaster. Knapp will supervise a staff of ten, which includes case workers, employment specialists and an ESL (English as a second language) teacher. Additionally, she will focus on community outreach. LCFS’ Lancaster office resettles up to 200 refugees each year. They also provide employment services to approximately 225 refugees annually.
~By Rich Gitlen, LCFS Executive Director
Did you know that you can make coffee with acorns? Did you know that insects are an excellent source of protein? Children at our BOOST summer camp “took a walk on the wild side” and learned how to survive in the wild. Because you care, you provide a safe place before and after school for children facing dire circumstances in Philadelphia. Your gift offers them opportunities that broaden and enhance their learning. By donating today, you can help us start a new program called BOOST University.
Despite a less-than-perfect start to life, Lutheran Children and Family Services former foster child Susan Love has blossomed into an empowering teacher, passionate speaker and celebrated children’s author. Ms. Love is now committed to giving back to the global foster care community that embraced her with open arms.
Each year the Liberty Lutheran Family of Services is blessed with the outpouring of support we receive from members of congregations in Southeast Pennsylvania.
Liberty Lutheran is pleased to announce our new initiative – “Say Yes to Service.” Connect with others through our Family of Services to make a difference. Together we can continue our shared legacy of faithful service by bringing new and exciting opportunities to members of your congregation.