Since 1994, Sister Sandy Kiefer and Sister Lynn Miller have opened their hearts and their home in Pittsburgh’s Lincoln-Lemington neighborhood to 91 foster children from newborns to teenagers.
Shortly after receiving state certification, Sisters Lynn and Sandy got their first call as foster parents: a four-year-old girl who was blind, deaf and paralyzed and who was in need of a home. Since then, they have continued to provide a safe, loving and nurturing environment for the children in their care.
Children are placed in foster care when it’s discovered by child welfare workers, or sometimes by law enforcement officers, that their home environment is unsafe. Often, the parents are living in poverty, battling mental illness or a substance use disorder, or struggling to remain stably housed. “The first goal of the system, and of ours as foster parents,” Sister Sandy explains, “is always to reunify the family.” That’s determined by the family courts, who assess the recovery and stability of the parent.
With your donation to the United Way, you can help Sisters Lynn and Sandy continue to provide a caring home for children, many of whom have complex medical, emotional, and psychological needs. Please choose United Way agency code 7260 to support the Sisters of St. Joseph Foster Care Program.
As foster parents, the Sisters’ time with each child is finite, making every moment together a precious gift from God. In addition to providing a warm, loving home, they focus on giving the children the opportunities any other child would have: to take swimming classes or a music lesson, join the baseball team, or simply to have someone to spend time with, reading, coloring, or working on projects. “You realize how important a family bond is, how strong, and the tenderness you have to have for a child to support that bond,” Sister Sandy reflects.
“It’s hard to call the foster care program a ministry because it is our life together,” Sister Lynn says, noting that they have received far more from the children they have cared for over the past twenty-five years than they could ever give. “These children have taught us how to love unconditionally, how to trust.”
United Way campaigns run from September 1 to April 30. If you live outside of Western Pennsylvania, please contact your local United Way agency for instructions on how to designate a gift to us. For more information, contact Christina Thornburg, Resource Development Manager, at 724-869-6574 or firstname.lastname@example.org.