“Agape Strong “– Continuing our Journey of Serving”
I don’t know about you, but many of us couldn’t wait to welcome 2014 with open arms. While the past year certainly had its challenges, it did have its victories as well, and was very good to great for Agape for Youth, Inc.!! This year will mark the 25th Anniversary of Agape. We will celebrate this with an Open House on March 7th here at our office in Dayton. As I reflect on the past 25 years, I must say it has seldom been without, let’s say, its share of “excitement”. Now for a short trip down memory lane starting with 1989 up to 2014…….and I promise this will not be a year to year journey; 1989-Agape begins….on the Friday before I, my wife Sandie, and two children Stephen, age 2 ½ , and Emily, age 6 months, move from Petoskey, Michigan in a major snow storm…..and oh yes, I have dark brown hair. In 2014, Kaitlyn, arriving in 1990, Emily, and Stephen are all married and doing well…very good!!…and I no longer have dark brown hair! 1989-Clifford and Lauretta Phillips become Agape’s first licensed foster family, and now in 2014 remain active foster and adoptive parents with the agency. 1989-Agape ended the year with three staff, and five foster families. Today we have 22 staff members, and average nearly 80 foster families serving the youth and families entrusted to our care. Some additional milestones include: Agape selected in 2008 to receive a grant from MCCSB to provide reunification services to families of youth currently residing in foster care. Since then and for the past near six years, Agape has maintained an over 90% success rate of families who have completed this program and having their family reunited, remaining together. Agape for Youth receives the 2010 Better Business Bureau Eclipse Integrity Award in the non-profit category. In 2012, Dr. Pam Gulley brought to Agape a strength based initiative, ‘Agape Strong’, which moves the agency to a foundation of knowing and using our individual and collective strengths in addressing the ‘challenges’ we encounter. Enhances the culture of Agape, that includes our foster families, the reunification families, and youth we serve! This past year, 2013 was marked with our first ‘sold-out’ fundraiser, receiving numerous grants, increased donations, and community support at an all-time high!! Also, our Reunification Services Program was recognized by the Ohio Association of Non-Profits Organization (OANO) as a finalist in its ‘Excellence Awards’, and this program was also featured by the Ohio Governor’s Office on Faith Based Initiatives and Community in Bright Ideas Ohio. As I promised not to go on a year to year recap, there is much I remain so very thankful for and would be remiss not to thank Agape’s Board of Directors, our Staff, our Foster Families our Sponsors, our Donors, and the many who have served alongside us in the quarter-century journey….you are greatly appreciated.