National Siblings Day is an opportunity to recognize brothers and sisters and the important role they play in our lives. In this time of “social distancing” we are reminded that brothers and sisters living separated in out of home care are all-too-familiar with the pain of being kept apart from those they love.
KINnect Events and Camp To Belong Oregon are our effort to support these connections and encourage time together. For Kindred Matters, every day is National Siblings Day. We believe in the power of the sibling connection and we celebrate these relationships today especially!
Last week, we had the pleasure of hosting a holiday KINnect Event for siblings in Eugene. We were at a swimming pool. All of the siblings were splashing around and having a great time, but one set stood out. A brother arrived a few minutes before his sister. When he got out to the pool deck and realized his sister wasn’t there yet, he must have asked his care provider a hundred times when his sister would be arriving. When his sister walked out of the locker room, he screamed her name and ran (not lifeguard approved!) to give her a hug. They spent the next two hours having pool noodle fights, pretending to be mermaids, negotiating over how many cookies they were allowed to have, and smiling from ear to ear! When it was time to go, the sister could not hug her brother tight enough! As they both got into their respective cars they said “See you soon!” with big smiles on their faces.
These are the moments our volunteers and leadership team work so hard to make happen. Positive memories of time spent together should be what brothers and sisters get to carry with them into adulthood.
As 2018 comes to a close, we reflect with gratitude on the support our community has given Kindred Matters this year.
This was a big year for Camp To Belong Oregon and Kindred Matters. Not only did we make the leap to step out as our own organization and change our name, but we also served record numbers of families and children. Thanks to the hard work and support of many, more than 300 individuals participated in Kindred Matters programs in 2018! We are proud of this impact, and enter 2019 with renewed commitment to serve even more families impacted by the child welfare system.
Next year, we have intentions of increasing this impact even further. We plan to grow and strengthen our KINnect Events for siblings living separated. Additionally, our goal is to expand our Family Camp offerings to meet the growing demand for continuing education and community support for foster and adoptive families.
If you’re considering making a year-end gift to a worthy cause, we would love it if you would think of Kindred Matters. With just one paid employee and over 50 dedicated and hardworking volunteers, every dollar goes a long way for a small organization like ours.
We wish you Happy Holidays and a very Happy New Year!
Camp To Belong Oregon’s name is changing…but our mission is the same as ever!
For nearly 15 years, Camp To Belong Oregon has served Northwest youth through sibling camps. In 2013, Camp To Belong Oregon expanded it’s program offerings to foster families through Family Camp. With the addition of regular sibling activities (KINnect Events) throughout the state in 2017, it became clear that the organization’s mission had evolved to encompass more than summer camp. This broadened focus led our leadership team to make a shift to include all three of our programs under one name.
After careful consideration, Kindred Matters was selected as the new organization name. Camp To Belong Oregon, Family Camp and KINnect Events will all continue to run under this new name. The word kindred describes “a group of related individuals.” Because our programs support families–biological, foster, adoptive, kinship, or otherwise–we felt Kindred was the perfect word to describe the non-traditional family groups we serve! We also know that supporting positive family connections is integral to achieving good outcomes for youth in the child welfare system; thus, positive family connections and good outcomes for youth are “kindred matters!”
We are very excited to make this announcement and to embark on our next chapter as Kindred Matters. We look forward to providing many more years of high quality programming for families in the Northwest!