EmberHope Youthville would not be able to live out our mission of sparking change in the lives of children in crisis without the generous help and support of area churches. One such church is First United Methodist Church in Wichita. Founded in 1870, First UMC is located at 3rd and Broadway in the heart of the city and features a wide range of service styles and ministries to reach men, women, seniors, families, youth, and young adults. First UMC also has a passion for supporting the children and foster families of EmberHope Youthville.
Since July of 2018, First United Methodist Church has provided office space for a representative from EmberHope Youthville, Lori Gonzales, LCMFT, who serves our organization as Chief Program Officer. In partnership with senior pastor Rev. Cindy Watson and her staff, EmberHope Youthville has hosted a wide variety of events for foster parents and families. These events range from trauma-focused trainings created and hosted by Marriage and Family Therapy students at the church, to fun events like Christmas and Easter parties, which are staffed by volunteers from First UMC. In addition, the church has invited foster children from EmberHope Youthville to attend VBS programs in the summer.
“Being a foster parent can be overwhelming,” Lori Gonzales says. “In fact, nearly half of foster homes close within their first year due to lack of support. That’s why we, and the families we serve, are so grateful to First UMC for their generous support and partnership. Their help shows the families and children in a tangible way that they are loved and cared for, and that they’re not alone.”
“We love being able to partner with EmberHope Youthville,” says Brad Remington, Director of Family Ministries at First UMC. “In Scripture, Jesus urges His followers to care for and provide aid to children. Partnering with such a great organization gives our congregation some practical, hands-on ways to live out the Gospel and use their gifts as God calls and equips to love and support these precious families.”
We at EmberHope Youthville are humbled and honored to work with First UMC in Wichita. We are deeply grateful for the church’s support, and we look forward to the many ways God will use this partnership to spark change in the lives of the children we serve.