EL RENO – John Schneider knew that Canadian County Youth and Family Services was receiving a grant, but when the actual check was handed to him, it brought him to tears.
Officials with LifeChurch presented the organization with a $20,000 grant during a luncheon Tuesday.
Schneider said the agency has had a partnership with the church for more than five years, and it includes not only a number of volunteers but several foster families.
He said the program continues to grow and help children who are in need.
“We’ve got over 60 kids in foster care and I don’t know how many kids have been served in foster families as a result of our partnership with LifeChurch, but I do know it is many. These are not just that have had shelter, it is kids who have their lives changed as a result of this partnership,” Schneider said.
Logan Prince, who serves as the lifegroup/life missions pastor at LifeChurch in Yukon, made the presentation.
“Youth and Family Services has such a heart to see families, and especially children, restored. They are making a long-lasting impact in the community and we have loved playing a small part in this incredible movement these last few years,” he said.
Youth and Family Services is a private 501(c)3 organization that is designed to provide an emergency shelter for abused and neglected children. It is not a state agency, but does work with the state Department of Human Services.
They also work to help get children placed with foster families as well as assist older teenagers in transitioning into the adult world after they age-out of the foster care program.
Schneider said they are able to work with young adults up to the age of 20, and in some cases can provide help to even older young adults.
The relationship with LifeChurch began about five years ago when a group of members toured the facility. Then-pastor Zane Rowland said they were so touched by what was being accomplished at the facility, they had to get involved.
“They do such a phenomenal job of taking care of foster families, we were like, ‘These guys, something is different,’” said Rowland, who is now pastor at the Mustang campus.
“At some point you have to look in your heart and go, ‘OK, there’s a need, I have the ability to meet that need, I need to step up.’ That’s kind of what we did,” he said. “These guys are incredible. Not just with the kids, but also with the families.”
Schneider said it would be impossible to do their work without the help of organizations like LifeChurch.
“We couldn’t do it without our partnerships. The services we provide, it is critical that we partner with people like those from LifeChurch. We couldn’t do it without them,” he said.
Shana Leachner, a foster care specialist who has worked with the agency for 4 ½ years , said the grant is “awesome.”
“Words can’t express how awesome this is. We will be able to get out in the community and partner with more churches and, hopefully, recruit more families to take in more kids to help with the crisis in Oklahoma.”
Prince said the Yukon church works with about four partner agencies throughout the year.