Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Not Too Early!!

Want a fun Christmas project? Consider "adopting" a teen in foster care for Christmas!

We have well over 1,000 foster children from Greene County, with approximately 250 teenagers, who are often forgotten during the holidays when there's so much focus on young children and Santa Claus.

We provide the teen's first name, age, gender & wish list. You provide the gifts (5 gifts or spend up to $100)!

Sign up now: Sondra (suzzell@ccozarks.org) or call 862-3586 x 236

**Plus: let us know if you want to help wrap the gifts too! Our 2nd Annual Gift Wrapping Party will be December 19th & we need volunteers and donated wrapping supplies.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Child Abuse is up in Greene County

We are facing a child abuse & foster care crisis in Greene County, MO. This issue has been on our community radar for several years, but we've seen some significant increases recently.

In 2009, there were an average of 780 children in foster care from Greene County. In 2010, that jumped 12% to 874 children on average. Now as of May 2011, we were well over 1,000 children in foster care from Greene County.

Additionally, in 2009 there were an average of 25 children placed into foster care from Greene County EACH MONTH. That jumped to 42 children per month in 2010. We are seeing significant increases in the need for our programs here at Ambassadors for Children as well.

What Can we Do?

  • Get Involved
  • Support our local Child Protective Services staff
  • Raise Awareness at your church, office and within your own family
  • Make sure our kids & young adults are equipped with effective coping skills so they can manage their emotions when they become adults
  • Become a Foster or Adoptive parent
  • Always Hotline suspected abuse or neglect: 1-800-392-3738
Get Involved
Volunteer or donate to an organization that helps prevent child abuse/neglect such as Isabel's House, Parenting Life Skills Center or even Pregnancy Care Center. To take care of our local abused kids, volunteer or donate to Ambassadors for Children (AFC). We focus on providing resources to fulfill needs for local foster children in order to improve their self-esteem and alleviate financial stress for foster parents--which also helps with foster parent recruitment and retention.

AFC provides brand new clothing, free 1-1 tutoring, hygiene items, new coats, shoes, sports registrations, graduation expenses, eye glasses, contacts and MUCH more for these kids. We are supported 100% by donations/volunteers and have served over 4,500 foster children since 1999.

Support Local Child Protective Services Staff
These folks work very hard and are exposed to gut wrenching stories of abuse & neglect daily. They need our community support and are doing the best they can--especially facing these increases. It's better to be too careful than too careless when it comes to child safety!

Adopt-a-Caseworker through Ambassadors for Children. The first program of its kind in Missouri, this program will match you with a local Caseworker & you get to fulfill unmet needs for the kids & families as they are presented to you. It's individualized & highly rewarding. The Caseworkers love it & so do their clients. We have approx. 24 local workers still waiting to be adopted. This program has served almost 1,000 children since March 2009!

Raise Awareness
People need to know about this issue & that THEY ARE NEEDED! This problem will not go away on its own. Churches, businesses & individuals need to step up (and many have done so already). Have Ambassadors for Children make a presentation to your group. Publish something in your church bulletin. Post something on your business website or intranet. Do a clothing collection for foster kids. Collect a donation among your group. Adopt-a-Caseworker or Adopt-a-Teenager in foster care for Christmas.

Equip Coping Skills

If folks know how to cope with their emotions (specifically stress) in appropriate ways, they may be less likely to lash out on children when faces with life stressors such as poverty. Encourage others to believe the best of themselves, help lead them to a place to learn more about spiritual fulfillment if they so choose. Help abuse survivors realize they have the power to break their family cycle of abuse/neglect.

Become a Foster or Adoptive Parent
We desperately need YOU. These kids need a safe place to stay while their parents work through issues to hopefully get their kids returned (if safe). These kids need adults willing to accept them into their family temporarily or permanently if their parents are unable to get them back. Every Child Deserves a Safe and Loving Home. Contact the Greene County Children's Division, Lutheran Family Children's Services or Missouri Baptist Children's Home for more information on becoming a foster or adoptive parent today!

When in doubt, make the call anyway. A child's life may be at stake. Greene County, MO has had the highest number of mandated reporter hotline calls in Missouri. My theory is this is partly due to educating our community on the importance of the hotline.

Ambassadors for Children
417-862-3586 ext. 236

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Soccer & Bras & Basketball--oh my!

We've been VERY busy today! Getting ready for our Advisory Committee meeting tomorrow, making new tutor matches for foster kids & fulfilling Project Self-Esteem requests. We helped pay for 2 little girls in foster care to play soccer, covered expenses for a teen girl in foster care to have a few specially fitted bras & talked to a foster mom about helping her 2 foster kids play basketball & participate in a hunters safety course.

All of these things are Vital to the well-being of children. Involvement in extracurricular activities makes a child 3x more likely to have a G.P.A. of 3.0 or higher (U.S. Department of Education)! Imagine the impact on a child that has been abused or neglected--it's incredible!

We are so proud to be improving the quality of life for the over 1,020 children currently in foster care from Greene County, Missouri. Thanks to all our supporters, donors & volunteers for making it possible:-)

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

We are very proud to have received a renewed $2,000 grant award from the Ozarks Health Advocacy Foundation to provide physical and medical self-esteem enhancing items for foster children through our Project Self-Esteem program!

Potential items we can fund include: eye glasses, contact lenses, eye exams, partial braces down payments, dental costs not covered by Medicaid, infant circumcision costs not covered by Medicaid and developmental disability equipment. All items are for children placed into foster care from Greene County, MO and must be requested by the child's foster care Caseworker.

For more info: Sondra Uzzell, Ambassadors for Children Director
862-3586 ext. 236

Friday, August 26, 2011

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Adopt-a-Teen for Christmas

It's never too early to start planning for Christmas! Last year we helped over 100 local foster children receive Christmas gifts--kids who otherwise would have received little or nothing under their tree!

We need your help to accomplish this again for Christmas 2011. Christmas gifts are delivered discretely by the foster child's Caseworker--which means no embarrassment for the child!

Email Sondra at suzzell@ccozarks.org to "adopt" a teenager in foster care for Christmas. It's easy & fulfilling. It's also a great way to involve your family in a holiday service project. Please help us give these special children reasons to smile this Christmas. They've already been through so much & they need our help.

*If you'd like to make a monetary donation for this effort (or any other Ambassadors for Children programs), please make check payable to Council of Churches & put Ambassadors for Children in the memo line. Checks can be mailed to Ambassadors for Children, 627 N. Glenstone, Springfield, MO 65802. All donations are tax deductible. You may also donate securely online or donate via phone with credit/debit card by calling 417-862-3586 ext. 233 (be sure to designate your gift for Ambassadors for Children).

Thank You!

P.S. We'll also
be hosting our 2nd Annual Gift Wrapping Party to wrap all these gifts before they're delivered to the kids. We wrapped over 500 gifts last year & need volunteer help. If you love to gift wrap, email Sondra at suzzell@ccozarks.org to sign up! Date &
Location pending.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

So So Close!

We need your help!

We only need to sell 15 more sweepstakes tickets to reach our goal of 300! This is a new record for us & if we make it, we will earn at least $10,000 in proceeds from our total involvement with the 22nd Annual Price Cutter Charity Championship this year.

It's not too late. Send your check this week to ensure I receive it before next Tuesday, August 9th. We're giving away a 2011 Mustang GT or $10,000, along with 500 gift certificates valued at $25 each. You have a 1 in 10 chance of winning!

  • Tickets are $25 each
  • Make checks payable to PCCC (or Price Cutter Charity Championship)
  • Mail check & Order Form to Sondra Uzzell, Ambassadors for Children, 627 N. Glenstone, Springfield MO 65802 by the end of THIS week to be entered.
  • Your ticket stub(s) will be returned to you via mail
Great Prizes--Great Cause! Help us help foster children. Thanks!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Back to School

Check out the Council of Churches Back to School campaign! Ambassadors for Children is working alongside Crosslines to collect Brand New clothing items for foster children from Greene County and new school supplies for local children in need. Your help is very much needed & every little bit counts! Let's all pitch in to help our local kids have a confident & happy start this school year!

Link to & Print the flyer!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Your Chance to Win!

For a great Cause!

Enter to win a 2011 Red Mustang GT or $10,000 & proceeds will support foster children from Greene County, Missouri. We are also giving away 500 gift certificates valued at $25 each. Only 5,000 tickets are sold, so there's a 1 in 10 chance of winning something. If you win a gift certificate, your name will be put back into the drawing for the Mustang & Cash drawings. This is made possible through the Marlin Network Charitable Fund Charity Sweepstakes & the Price Cutter Charity Championship annual golf tournament.

Tickets are $25 each & we get ALL proceeds for tickets we sell. Please help us help the over 1,000 children in foster care from our community!

Checks (made payable to PCCC) should be mailed to Ambassadors for Children at 627 N. Glenstone, Springfield, MO 65802. Click Here for Mail-in Order Form

Tickets can also be purchased with credit/debit cards via phone by calling Sondra Uzzell at 417-862-3586 ext. 236.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Somewhere over 1,000 Children....

Well, I wish it were a rainbow, but it's actually a rainstorm.

We've learned that, as of May 2011, there were 1,021 children in foster care from Greene County, Missouri. That's the highest number I've seen in several years & many who've worked in the child abuse & neglect field in Southwest Missouri don't remember seeing the numbers this high in at least 12 years or so.

We are facing a foster care crisis here in Southwest Missouri. The Kansas City & St. Louis areas have traditionally ranked higher than Greene County for foster children, but who knows if they are experiencing comparable increases this year. If not, we may see Greene County jump to at least the 3rd highest ranked county in Missouri for Child Abuse & Neglect.

Not good...but there are things we can do. You can Adopt-a-Caseworker. We still have over 20 child protective services Caseworkers waiting to be adopted in Greene County. When you Adopt-a-Caseworker, you not only help a foster child & foster family with needs through foster care, but you can also help biological families get necessary resources to have their children returned home after foster care. This program strengthens children & families. Let's work together to break the cycle of abuse & neglect!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Adopt-a-Caseworker Program
~ A Story ~

A ladies church group has adopted a foster care Caseworker from Greene County. They provided a large wagon for the dad to transport groceries and his children to/from the grocery store. One of the children asked where the wagon came from & the dad said, "A group of Angels." It's amazing how something so small can make such a big difference for a family. Having this resource could help the dad keep his children at home & avoid another foster care placement!

There are still over 20 Caseworkers waiting to be Adopted in Greene County. If you want to make a difference & be part of a story like this, please contact me!

Sondra Uzzell
Agency Director
Ambassadors for Children
An Operating Agency of the Council of Churches
417-862-3586 ext. 236

Thursday, May 26, 2011

"Comfort for Kids"
Care Kits for Children in the Joplin Area

Council of Churches is collecting NEW items to distribute to children in the Joplin, MO metro area to assist in dealing with the stress & trauma of the recent tornado disaster. Additional basic coping tips will also be included.

In just 2 days, we have already received nearly 5,000 requests for the Care Kits from the Jasper County Children's Division, Joplin area Childcare Providers & other Joplin area children's service agencies--with many more requests expected. We need your help!

Adopt-a-Caseworker Luncheon

If you're in the Springfield area, please join us for a free Lunch event on Thursday, June 2nd to learn more about our Adopt-a-Caseworker program.

What a great way to get involved to support local abused & neglected children! We still have 26 Caseworkers waiting to be adopted.

Details available at: Adopt-a-Caseworker Luncheon Flyer

Monday, April 25, 2011

So excited that we just matched a new foster child with a Volunteer Tutor & will soon have 2 new Volunteer Tutors joining our program. This is such a blessing considering that we have 1 child on the waiting list!

It only takes 1 hour per week & can change a life. If you want to be part of this exciting program that allows you to make a direct impact in the life of a foster child from Greene County, Missouri, we'd LOVE to hear from you!

Volunteer Tutor Information
Our Website

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Mustang Madness!

Okay--the fun has officially begun as we've started to sell entry tickets to win a 2011 Mustang GT (red with black racing stripes and yes, a 5.0L engine) or $10,000. These are given away as grand prizes at the Price Cutter Charity Championship golf tournament at Highland Springs Country Club in Springfield on August 14th.

Ambassadors for Children was the 3rd highest ticket seller in 2010 (out of over 40 other local children's charities). ***We also sold the winning ticket for the car last year!! With over 970 children in foster care from Greene County, we need your help to support these kids!

Please consider purchasing 1 or more entry tickets. Here are the details:

  • Each ticket is $25
  • Each ticket enters you to win a 2011 Mustang GT or $10,000 cash grand prize drawn August 14, 2011
  • Each ticket also enters you to win one of 500 prizes valued at approximately $25 each
  • Each ticket includes admission to all four days of the Price Cutter Charity Championship golf tournament at Highland Springs August 11-14, 2011
  • Only 5,000 tickets will be sold
Ambassadors for Children will receive 100% of proceeds for the tickets we sell
Hurry! Tickets have sold out the past couple years.

2 Ways to get your tickets:
1-Purchase your ticket at the Council of Churches
office Monday-Friday 8-4:30pm
2-Print the order form, complete it & send with payment to Ambassadors for Children (we'll mail your ticket stub back once payment is received).

Sondra Uzzell, Ambassadors for Children Director & Jerry Hatfield, 2010 Mustang Winner!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Pancakes, Cinnamon Rolls & Jazz!

Shrove Pancake Supper

to benefit local children's charities--like ours!
Hosted by the Binnie Clements Guild of First & Calvary Presbyterian Church

Tuesday, March 8th from 5-7:30pm
First & Calvary Presbyterian Church

820 E. Cherry Street (Springfield)

Adults $5, Children 3-11 $2.50, Under 3 Free

Kid's Helping Kids

A BIG Thank You to the children & members of National Avenue Christian Church for organizing a Silent Auction & Spaghetti Dinner to raise money for our charity!

This was the idea of the Elementary children at the church, who decided to help support local foster children. The event raised $1,146!!!

It's truly inspiring to see Kids helping Kids. We are honored to be chosen by this church to receive this very special gift & we will definitely put it to good use. We are seeing close to 1,000 children in foster care from Greene County, Missouri alone. We appreciate all help as we serve these special kids!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

New Volunteer Tutors!

Hip, Hip, Hooray!!!

We have 5 new Volunteer Tutors trained & almost ready to be matched with foster children from Greene County, MO. We also have 1 additional student opening, so hoping to make 6 new tutor matches in the next few weeks. We're in the process of making 2 matches already, so that will be 8 new foster children receiving free 1-on-1 tutoring in the first couple months of 2011.

Very exciting to be able to help these special kids. Thank you to our special Volunteer Tutors who donate their time & resources to make a difference. You can too! Want more info on becoming a Tutor, check out our Tutoring Webpage.

Special Thanks to Katelind Rohde, our BSW Intern, for doing such a wonderful job promoting our program & recruiting Tutors!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Have a Heart, Help a Child

During the month of February, stop by Old Missouri Bank (both locations) & purchase a red or pink heart. Choose a $1 or $5 heart and all proceeds will help Old Missouri Bank fulfill needs shared by their Adopted Caseworker through the Ambassadors for Children Adopt-a-Caseworker program!

Their Adopted Caseworker works with local children at immediate risk of foster care placement. Each need Old Missouri Bank is able to fulfill brings a family one step closer to staying together--to not losing their children to foster care. You can help them make a difference OR....

You can Adopt-a-Caseworker too! Want to learn more--visit: Ambassadors4children.org

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

"A Night at Qdoba"

Fundraiser & Clothing Drive to benefit Ambassadors for Children

Join Us as we raise $$ to help local abused & neglected children and collect new clothing items for foster children from Greene County. Clothing will be distributed through our Kid's Clothes Closet program.

Here's the Scoop:

What: Qdoba will donate 10% of total profits from the night to our agency!!
Thursday, February 24th from 5-9pm
Qdoba Mexican Grill, Battlefield Marketplace (by Bandana's BBQ)
New clothing items (in all sizes) for foster children & be entered to win a door prize! More Info: www.facebook.com/ambassadors4children

We'll see you there!!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Check this out!

Our fantastic Practicum Student created this video for our Tutoring Program called, "Become a Tutor" !!!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Volunteer Tutors Needed

We desperately need volunteers to tutor local foster children. Can you imagine being abused or neglected, placed into foster care, possibly being separated from your brothers & sisters AND having to struggle with schoolwork?

With all the other drama in their lives, these special children need some consistency and support with their homework, developing study skills, reading, history, math and more! It's not just about tutoring, it's about mentoring.

Volunteer tutors meet with learners once per week in a public setting. Free training is provided and volunteers must be 21 years old. Please visit our website for more information and the Volunteer Tutor Application.

Thank You!!

Thank You!

A special Thank You to Springfield AITP (Association of Information Technology Professionals) for a $318 donation to support our work with local foster children! We truly appreciate their support as we serve some of the most vulnerable children in our community.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Thank You!

Thank you to Malone Finke Eckhardt & Collins, Inc. for a $700 donation to support our programs! We also want to thank Old Missouri Bank for a $650 donation to assist local foster children through our agency.

We truly could not meet the needs of our community without your help. Thank you so much.

We need your Support

With the number of children in foster care from our county on the rise, we are struggling to financially meet the demands for our services. We have also set new service records for 4 of our programs in 2010 and continue to serve approximately 600-750 children per year.

Because we are 100% funded by donations and private grants, we need your help. Your donations are used to help purchase new clothing for foster children, match foster children with volunteer tutors, provide hygiene items and extracurricular activities for foster children--and much more!! We educate and mobilize our community to support local child victims of abuse & neglect, while also serving the needs of the children and reducing extra financial strain placed upon their foster parents.

Please consider making a donation by check or securely online. Checks should be made payable to CCO-AFC and mailed to Ambassadors for Children, 627 N. Glenstone, Springfield, MO 65802. Any amount is truly appreciated! Making a donation in honor of a friend or family member also makes a perfect unique gift. Thank you so very much:-)

2010 Child Abuse & Neglect

The Greene County Juvenile Office has completed their 2010 Child Abuse & Neglect statistics for Greene County, MO. There was a tremendous increase in the number of children placed into foster care, averaging 42 children per month. This is up from the average of 25 children per month in 2009.

Chronic Neglect continues to be the leading factor for children being placed into foster care from Greene County, followed by Drugs/Alcohol issues.

On a positive note, the number of children reunited with their parents after foster care increased 5%, so credit is due to the Greene County Children's Division and Juvenile Office for helping this happen!

You can view all the stats online at: http://www.greenecountymo.org/juvenile/file/abuse10.pdf

New Year, New Fun!

We are thrilled about 2011 and the exciting things we have planned for this year! We have an intern with our office from January-May and are looking forward to our 2nd Annual Appreciation Dinner in April.

We will also take part in the Annual Foster Parent Appreciation Dinner on May 5th and will be eager to begin planning for the Annual Price Cutter Charity Championship fundraiser golf tournament this summer.