By Kim Silverio-Bautista
Special to The Signal
It took Jefferson and Shannon Henson along with different churches and non-profit organizations four months to create an environment to provide support, care services and love for foster families and children.
Foster Family Fun Day is an event for all Santa Clarita Valley foster families to get together and have a fun experience at no cost, according to event organizers.
This is the first time the event was held at the Crossroads Community Church.
Families walked around the parking lot and inside the church building, which had snow cones, a craft booth, family games, a puppet show, face painting, food donated by Chick-Fil-A and support services.
Services like One More, a foster care initiative, and Life Launch were tabling and informing those in attendance about the services they provide to support foster families.
The event was also created to spread awareness.
“There’s a big gap in what the county provides and what’s actually needed and that’s not the county’s fault, but it is our job,” Jefferson said.
The Henson’s began an organization called Axia, which supports foster families in the Santa Clarita Valley. They started over a year ago with the church and work alongside other churches like Grace Baptist and Osborne Neighborhood Church.
The senior pastor of Crossroads Community Church Todd Smith hopes the event expands throughout the years, “It is the first time we’ve ever done it. We hope this becomes an annual event.”
The Henson’s are foster parents themselves, and over a ten year period, have helped foster more than 18 kids and adopted four out of the system. Jenson said it’s not an easy job and they wanted to not only mobilize support and resources, but also ensure foster families are sustainable.
Beverly Lucia, a foster parent who’s also a member of the church community, has adopted five children that she fostered over the past 12 years. She said Axia continues to be a great support system.
“I think being part of some kind of a social group, especially through the church, helps you especially when it’s a new family that hasn’t gone through it,” Lucia said.