A local foster mother is opening her door to children anytime day or night and creating the resources for others to do the same.
Now that school is out and we are expanding our All Stars to people making a huge impact in our community and Melissa Covell really stood out.
A foster parent herself, Melissa has dedicated her life to helping any foster child or foster family in need.
“Being available 24/7, that’s something you don’t typically get,” Kelli Dobner of Judson Center said.
Every day, every hour - that’s Covell’s work schedule.
“It’s very difficult to see these kids coming to us as they are but we get to make sure that we can pick up the pieces and put them together again,” Covell said.
That’s why she makes herself available at all times as a foster care navigator for Judson Center. Providing a listening ear and guidance for foster parents who can learn from this mother who has fostered 16 children.
“Melissa has been there, she’s done that and she can recall from those life experiences for families,” Dobner said.
Becoming an advocate for the children and their voice when they don’t have a say.
“They didn’t do anything to deserve it and so it’s hard. It really is hard, so you end up as a foster parent, as a navigator, Covell said.
That’s why she’s created foster parent support groups, a back-to-school extravaganza making sure each child has what they need to succeed in class, and an appreciation dinner to make sure each foster family knows how big of an impact they’re making in these children’s lives.
And though Covell may not meet each child individually, she’s found a way to combat that lonely, terrifying first night of coming into state care by creating first night bags as a way of letting them know they are loved.
“Somebody actually thought you might need these and so somebody packed this bag for you and somebody beside us loves you very much and there are a lot of other people we are thinking about you,” Covell said.
To nominate someone for Ann Marie’s All Stars email Annmarie.firstname.lastname@example.org.