Organization Has Picnic to Celebrate Foster Families

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COLUMBIA - Great Circle hosted a picnic Saturday to celebrate foster families in Missouri.

The organization is a behavioral health group equipped to serve families and children in need. May is National Foster Care month, and in Missouri there are more than 10,000 children in foster care.

Carrie Bolm, the chief program officer for community based services, said foster families are important because the community's support is needed to help raise children.

"They are willing to sacrifice some of their family and their time and give their heart," Bolm said. "It is important for all of us to be successful."  

At the picnic families, children and volunteers gathered to celebrate their experience with Great Circle. One of the teens at event event shared her experience with Great Circle and foster care. At the age of 13, 17-year-old Rachel Smith-Lohmann was placed in foster care. Then at the age of 16 her foster parents made the decision to permanently welcome her to their family by adopting her.

"That transition was amazing," Smith-Lohmann said. "Just to be able to have a forever home. Not all foster kids get to experience that, so I consider myself very very lucky."

Smith-Lohmann will attend Missouri State University in the Fall. Bolm said being a part of Great Circle makes her feel good about herself everyday.