Virginia, a state known for its beauty and history, holds a darker truth: it is one of the worst states in the country for aging out foster teens. More than 5,000 kids are in the Virginia Foster Care System, and a staggering 45% of them are teenagers. These young souls, already burdened by their past, face an uncertain future, as the implications of aging out of the Foster Care system can be nothing short of horrifying. Many of them are left in the shadows, battling a harsh reality that includes a high probability of homelessness, pregnancy, incarceration, addiction, joblessness, and poverty.
Fostering Champions is a non-profit organization based out of Franklin County. It is on a mission to change the narrative of hopelessness with the help of churches across the Commonwealth. With a vision to build homes, provide education, transportation, and life skills, they aim to foster these teens into champions in life.
Behind this inspiring initiative is Bobby Canipe, a former Franklin Heights Youth Pastor and a foster child himself. His 25 years of youth pastoring and fostering 12 kids have ignited a deep calling to help aging-out foster teens.
In just one year, Fostering Champions has achieved remarkable milestones, including the construction of the first foster home, granting $15,000 in scholarships, and providing essentials like clothes and vehicles to foster teens and young adults. They have also organized joyful events, such as Kings Dominion Day, and offered vital support for education and life preparation.
Prayer support, mentorship, and sponsoring homes in strategic locations (Roanoke, Lynchburg, Richmond, and Hampton Roads) through Fostering Champions can make a lasting impact in the lives of foster teens. Trades assistance and blessing baskets filled with move-in essentials are also highly valued.
The need is urgent, and your involvement can be life-changing. By partnering with Fostering Champions, SBCV churches are transforming the lives of these foster teens, empowering them to break the cycle of despair and embrace a brighter future.
Scripture reminds us of our duty to care for orphans and widows in their distress (James 1:27). Fostering Champions is living out this calling, extending a compassionate hand to these vulnerable teens. Together, believers across Virginia can foster champions and empower future generations with Gospel hope.
Join in and build a stronger community where every young person has a chance to thrive and become a champion in life. Your church’s support can make all the difference. ■