CLEARFIELD – Resources to Empower, Support and Transform Kinship Families, or REST Inc., will be holding its first Kinship Family Christmas event with the help of area high school students.
The event is part of a community service project for Skills USA students at the Clearfield County Career & Technology Center, and they spoke of their project at Tuesday’s county commissioners’ meeting.
The event will be held on Saturday, Dec. 11, from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m., at the CCCTC. It is open to all kinship families in the area and will feature a buffet breakfast with Santa himself.
In Clearfield County, nearly 45 percent of grandparents are raising their grandchildren, according to a previously-published REST Inc. press release.
Typically, these kinship caregivers step in to provide care without much notice when the parents are unable to care for the children, or they seek custody themselves in order to keep the children safe.
While kinship caregivers can become licensed foster parents, most serve on an “informal” basis, receiving no stipends or other support.
Yet, according to studies, children who are raised by kinship caregivers have more stability, better outcomes and more connection to their heritage.
The Skills USA Student Organization, under the direction of Instructor Jerome Mick, within the CCCTC, is helping to promote REST Inc. and this holiday event.
Students will also plan and organize additional fundraisers to benefit REST Inc. throughout the remainder of this school year, Mick said.
“They see it (kinship caregiving) first-hand amongst their peers and within their sending schools,” Mick said, adding, “they just want to make an impact.”
SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce and is a leadership-oriented program.
Additionally, plans are for the CCCTC Culinary students to prepare the breakfast for the event. Breakfast includes pancakes, eggs and sausage.
Kinship families are asked to RSVP no later than Nov. 30 by calling or texting 814-762-2933. Families are also asked to express any family needs and wish lists for the children.
“This mission God has placed on my life and my heart is a privileged one, albeit a journey of many challenges,” Founder Bobbie Johnson wrote the commissioners, “but I wouldn’t change it for anything.
“It’s allowed me to come alongside so many others traveling the same road, to witness God’s provision through this community for kinship families and be blessed by so many humans.”
Johnson also expressed her gratitude to the Skills USA students and their mentor, Mick, as well as the Clearfield County Commissioners. “Together, we can make a difference.”
More information on this event and the services provided by REST Inc. can be found by visiting the organization’s Web site at www.restfamilies.org.
Any individual or business interested in donating to REST Inc. to meet the needs of kinship families may do so online via the Web site or by contacting Bobbie Johnson at 814-762-2933.