“Be A Neighbor” program wants more volunteer organizations to help those in need

A Place to Call Home

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Executive Director Kristy Payne with Fostering Sweet Dreams has helped families in 31 counties find a bed for a child. People who are relatives of children in DHS custody.

“We started pinning every county that we’ve impacted,” Payne said. “We knew that on any given notice someone who is familiar with a child, who is coming into care, can get approved, become their guardian or foster parent, but they get little to no notice.”

Like a grandparent, aunt or other relative taking in a child on a moment’s notice.

“But they don’t have the funds to go out and buy a bed, that dresser, possibly a car seat, then they possibly will not be able to get that placement,” Payne said.

Payne started the nonprofit “Fostering Sweet Dreams” in 2016.

They spend thousands of dollars a month to give children a safe, comfortable place to lay their head at night.

“We’ve helped with several teenagers aging out of foster care getting their own apartment so they’ll not have one piece of furniture, so we’re able to go in and we’ll go in and help them,” Payne said.

Payne works with DHS to identify the families that need a bed, car seat or dresser.

But a new initiative started by Governor Kevin Stitt will allow Fostering Sweet Dreams to connect with more individuals who need assistance. It’s called ‘Be A Neighbor.’

“There’s incredible passion to serve their neighbors, so the Be A Neighbor platform really is intended to connect people in need with organizations that are available to help,” DHS Director Justin Brown said.

Nonprofits, churches and other community organizations can sign up to help a child in foster care, someone who recently got out of prison or a teen at risk of dropping out of high school, for example.

“It’s really just bringing the community that wants to serve and organizing it in one place,” Brown said.

“I think this will be a way for, if there’s many a family out there who isn’t involved with DHS or just needs a little help, that will be their avenue maybe to get that on there and look that up,” Payne said.

It’s giving Oklahomans the ability to be a neighbor to those in need.

For more information, visit this website.

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