Adam Slaven and his family have shared their home with foster children from Catoosa County for over seven years. Those experiences showed him the dire need for greater awareness for foster programs, adoption and awareness, Slaven said.
That's why, as a ministry coordinator for Burning Bush Baptist Church in Ringgold, he's helped to organize the Thrive Picnic and Fair, being held Saturday, Sept. 9 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The event will bring vendors and organizations from all over the region to help educate families and provide an opportunity for them to network with groups that can help.
"Our goal is to connect local families with resources that they'd normally have to go out and search for," Slaven said of the free event.
Among the groups planned to attend are the Chattanooga Autism Center, the Catoosa branch of Georgia's Division of Family and Children's Services, cognitive, physical and behavioral therapists, and other community churches.
Slaven said the event was borne out of the church's B3 Thrive ministry asking the congregation what they'd like to see. B3 Thrive's mission is to raise awareness and provide aid to children and families with special needs in the community.
"This county alone has over 100 kids in foster care, but only about 20 homes open," said Slaven. "We're trying to meet both demographics with the fair — families that already foster children, and families that might be interested in starting."
For those looking to go beyond fostering, information on adoption services will also be offered. Slaven is no stranger to that situation, either; he and his wife Sydney have adopted four children together.
The event will also feature games for kids, and Slaven promised that it will be a fun time for the whole family.
"If all goes well, and it's gone tremendously well in the planning stages, we'd love to have a second event next year," Slaven said. "We just want to raise awareness. A lot of folks want to get involved, and we want to show them the community support available to them."
For more information, call Burning Bush Baptist Church at 706-866-1989 or visit tinyurl.com/ThrivePicnic. The church is located at 2195 Burning Bush Road.
Email Shane Foley at firstname.lastname@example.org.