Group Home Keeping Foster Kids Together - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

11/12/04-East Texas

Group Home Keeping Foster Kids Together

"We want them to want to be here as much as they possibly can."

Not an easy task, considering the foster children of April and Sherard Cloud have learned through painful experience not to trust anyone.

"It breaks your heart to hear some of their stories. It's all abuse in some form or fashion, some verbal, some mental, some physical, we don't know if it's sexual or just physical," says foster parent April.

In the past year, almost 60 kids from across the region have come to the Christian Services of East Texas Group Home. They stay with foster parents who want to give them back some of what's been taken from them.

"A lot of children that do come don't act like children. These kids need someone who will just listen to them and love them," says foster parent, Sherard.

Some of them stay a week, others a year or more, but all get the chance to see what a real family life is all about.

"We are here for them 24 hours 7 days a week, and once they realize that, they become close. We were a part of their life, for some a very short time for others, much longer, but we will be a part of their life as long as they'll let us," says Sherard.

And as long as the community supports the organization... 85 percent of their funding comes through donations.

"It's that money that people donate to the organization that makes it possible. Without their support we couldn't exist," says April.

Even though past experiences may have robbed these foster kids of an innocent childhood, because of people like the Clouds, the children can begin moving toward a better life in the future.

"We just want them to learn how to be happy," April.

Christian Services of East Texas has been helping foster children since the mid 70's. If you'd like to help them with donations, you'll have a chance to do that at their annual benefit dinner next Tuesday.

That's November 16th at 7 PM at the Harvey Convention Center in Tyler. Individual tickets are $50 or you can reserve a table for 8 for $500. Call 903-509-0558 for reservations.

Reporting: Braid Sharp

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