OUR U.S. PROJECT
WHAT'S HAPPENING IN THE United States...
We are based in Raleigh, North Carolina, and our home state had custody of 10,706 children at the end of 2017.
It’s estimated that between 500 and 700 kids age out of foster care annually in NC. We are so thankful for the continued efforts of our State to care for those in foster care and the legislation that is being evaluated regularly.
In 2021 the Texas based ministry BECOME dissolved and allocated their resources to us. We then began working with youth exiting state care in Texas. The state of Texas had custody of 32,793 children at the end of 2017. It's estimated that close to 1,200 youth age out of foster care in Texas annually.
While there are both private and government programs available to help these students, Empty Frames Initiative looks to create a place to pause for youth that will enable them to be more successful when entering pre-existing programs. A key element of this is connection to the church and community, which will help youth exiting care to establish a safety net for their next steps.
We hope to launch our first discipleship program soon, working with students who have aged out of foster care by partnering with churches and a team of volunteers. Implementing this phase of the Overture program is just the beginning and is a huge leap of faith.
Will you join us?
OUR EU PROJECT
Why Eastern Europe?
As a society, Eastern Europe has struggled with its identity since the occupation period. It is hard to tackle the topic of self worth when you are treated as part of a collective. Even after coming out of oppression, in this sphere it is not uncommon to wrestle with the concept of the value of life - you can imagine the additional struggle for an orphan.
In Eastern Europe kids aging out of state care track with higher rates of suicide, criminal life, and human trafficking.
Until we acknowledge their primary need as a lack of love and identity it would be unrealistic to expect a societal shift from a trend of purposeless living.
This is a generational cycle that has the potential to be broken, but first needs to be addressed.
BEFORE WE TALK ABOUT EASTERN EUROPE...
Before we talk about the needs of Eastern Europe, it's good to address the frequently asked question:
"Why not somewhere else?
The need of orphans everywhere is heavily on the heart of Empty Frames Initiative. We hope that this initiative will spark many people to ask this question, because the answer is simple.
The resources, time and people needed for this sort of endevour are available. What's needed is the pursuit. The foundation of knowing this is what an individual is being called to by Christ and the faith to press into it. Empty Frames Initiative is taking this leap of faith - we hope that this project will inspire other believers into action.
If you feel that there is a need for a project like this where you are and would like to be involved in the developement of our first project, please contact us! We hope to make this a replicable program, but a heart for the work is found in relationship with Christ and His people!
In Latvia, "Children who are at risk of losing parental care are also at risk of being victims of other offences against children such as cruelty and abuse, theft, and sexual exploitation. There is little emphasis on, and funding for, preventative work within the social care provisions. Families may not receive the support they need, the children are taken from their family of origin and placed in state-run institutions. The children who come out of these institutions are not prepared for independent living."
- SOS Children's Villages
In Moldova, "Children placed in residential institutions all over Moldova grow up isolated, lacking the most basic social skills. As a result, once they leave the orphanage they feel utterly lost. They are not prepared for an independent life, and it is extremely difficult for them to find a job or to continue their education."
In Russia, around 50% of the orphan population has some sort of disability, and while situations vary, there is often extreme neglect. This often leads to a lack of ability to move onto the next stages in life.
"State orphanages are typically geographically isolated, and children living there are often cut off from their families and communities and from the variety of experiences available to other children, such as attending school."
A reminder of the history behind the iron curtain is the remaining Soviet architecture. While many buildings continue to be used, simply because of neccesity, others remain untouched, empty and abandoned.
What would happen if these structures could find new purpose?
What would happen if we allowed these buildings to represent a ministry of reconciliation?