Care Communities | Generosity Story

John Markert: Randy and Roseanne, when they decided to build in our neighborhood, we met them and the idea of battle life group for Westside came up and my wife and I, we decided that yeah, we know some neighbors that we could start a life group. So we started a life group.

Chris Barcus: So we joined it and it's all of our neighbors and we've gotten to know a lot of our neighbors just by being here.

John Markert: We have people that are in our neighborhood and people who are not in our neighborhood, but it's become a great group of friends and friendship. And out of all that came the idea that we probably should go a little bit further with our group and we started to investigate supporting a foster family.

Harmony Holman: I was looking for a reading tutor for my foster daughter and I was directed towards the Westside Church and they got me in touch with the Care community.

Chris Barcus: So Harmony is a foster mother, she's a single parent, she has an adult son and for foster children who are under the age of seven.

Harmony Holman: Oh my gosh, to have the Care group come alongside me, I feel like they've just invested in me so much so that I can invest in the kids. For so many years, it was taking everything out of me to take care of the kids. Not that I regretted any of it, but it was definitely like I was at the end of my rope and trying to do everything and just anything that they give back to me, I feel like I can just take that and put that into the kids and whatever they need.

Chris Barcus: Our life group is one of the first life groups at Westside that is trying a program called the Care Community and so we were given a foster family to kind of come alongside and just kind of be bonus aunts and uncles to the mom and the children.

Debbie Barnes: And it's been such a joy to do that. It's been awesome getting to know Harmony and her children and it's really been a super two-way street though because she's open her house, her home and her children out to us.

Chris Barcus: You know, besides just like the physical things of bringing food or helping me with the laundry or helping me watch the kids or distract the kids while I'm trying to organize things. I think the more important part has been the relationships that developed between the kids and the members of the Care group. I mean, every one of my kids has one or two members that they're like, "Are they coming tonight? Are they coming tonight?" So they've all connected with different people and that's what I've been praying for for so long for these kids that there would be adults that would be willing to be invested into them.

John Bridgewate: The kids love us being there, they love us and we love them.

Nancy Bridgewat: These children have so much energy. The kind of energy you want to can and keep for yourself, but to also utilize that energy to create.

Barbara Nelson: Well, we were asked to think about what gifts we might have to offer, and I thought about the fact that I'm an artist and I could help the oldest child do artwork.

Debbie Barnes: How wonderful that people can come along beside like we're doing it. It's a wonderful and it's easy. It's simple. It's a joy. It's fun. It's great.

Chris Barcus: They didn't have a place out in their backyard and they were going to the park, which is a lot of work for a foster mom to get four or five children out of the house to a park. So we pitched in and purchased a play set at Costco and went over and spent a couple of days and built it in the backyard and cleaned up the trees and made room for it. They have their own little park in their backyard now.

John Bridgewate: Harmony has an older son, Andrew. So we're putting this swing set together and Andrew is sort of watching and Hey, Andrew, come over here. And it was sort of more of a mentoring with Andrew and working with harmonious group of people, all working together. It was a great experience.

Chris Barcus: So our hope and Westside's hope and Harmony's hope is that every foster family would have a Care Community to come alongside them and do what we've done for her in the short two months that we've been with her. It's just been a as much of a blessing to our life group as it has been to her and her family.

Harmony Holman: You know, they become a second family to us. The aunts and uncles and grandparents for the kids and friends and role models and mentors for me. I can't imagine my life without them now.