Buckner International summarizes its ministry in three ways:
1. Protect Children
2. Strengthen Families
3. Transform Generations
This past week a leapfrog event was held at the Buckner Family Hope Center® at Bachman Lake. Before I share the great news, here is some context:
We Protect Children
Buckner helps protect children through foster care services. We recruit families and certify them to receive a child, or a sibling group referred to us. When a child or children cannot return to their biological family, we find a forever family and work toward adoption.
We Strengthen Families
We help strengthen families through our Buckner Family Pathways® program for single parents and through services provided at our Buckner Family Hope Centers. We believe the best place for a child to grow and develop is in a safe and healthy home. When we strengthen a family, we help provide that safe and healthy place for the child to grow up.
We Transform Generations
We want to be sure the children of families we serve will not need our services in the future. To that end we provide licensed professional counseling services and other programs to help the next generation succeed, like NextStep, which serves females aging out of foster care at age 18. We help these young ladies bridge toward life as self-sustaining adults in their profession to live independently. Another way we transform generations is to ensure youth within the families we serve learn about educational opportunities.
College and Career Readiness Pilot
About a year ago leaders at the Buckner Family Hope Center at Bachman Lake began a college and career-readiness pilot program. They collaborated with several high school and middle school students whose parents participate in the Buckner Family Hope Center at Bachman Lake. The goal of this pilot program was to help graduating seniors and middle schoolers prepare for higher education or vocational training, depending on their goals and dreams. The program orients them to entrance exams, scholarships, federal grants, and other resources they need to take the next step in their education. We also collaborate with parents to ensure they can encourage their students to achieve their dreams.
Last Thursday we graduated the first 11 students in this program. I dubbed them, “The Magnificent Eleven.” Three of the 11 are graduating seniors and all three of them have been accepted to a college or university on a full scholarship. Two of the three graduates plan to study engineering at the University of Texas at Arlington and one student will begin studies at Dallas College.
The other eight students are focused on high school graduation with plans to enter a college, university, or vocational school following high school. Achieving a degree in higher education will serve to economically transform them, their family, and their future.
I am so proud of Susana Torres, a graduate of Dallas Baptist University, and the Buckner Youth Program Coordinator of the Buckner Family Hope Center at Bachman Lake for running this program, under the leadership of Katrina Beavers-Gutierrez, Director, and her team for this milestone and major leapfrog success. Katrina and her team took a concept, an idea, and turned it into a reality along with support from the Buckner Children and Family Services Team at the Buckner Support Center in Dallas. I look forward to seeing how this program will grow in the future not only in Dallas but across our network of Family Hope Centers.