When faith makes a family

Oklahoma churches, including many in Tulsa, are partnering with the state to meet the needs of children in foster care.



Jonette Coquat with her three children, ages 8, 4 and 3. Coquat became a foster parent to the sibling group 3 1/2 years ago and is raising the children with the support of her Tulsa church.

(page 1 of 3)

“Does God get what God wants?”

The question echoed off the walls of the auditorium filled with northeastern Oklahoma church leaders and members. Benjamin Nockels repeated it. Again, silence.

Nockels, a former Oklahoma City pastor, is today what he calls the “visionary leader” behind the 111Project, a statewide initiative to leave no Oklahoma child without a family. The crowd he spoke to Oct. 4 was gathered for the statewide 8308 Conference at Southern Hills Baptist Church, where representatives of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services and Tulsa churches spoke about foster care needs.

The conference is named for the 8,308 children who were in state custody on Jan. 1, according to OKDHS. These children — newborns to age 18 — do not have families to care for them. They may have been neglected, abandoned or abused. They may have been subjected to extreme poverty or drug abuse. Their caregivers may have been incarcerated. Now, they’ve been removed from the only home they’ve known.

In late 2010, Nockels was asked to represent the Oklahoma City faith community at a meeting with leaders from OKDHS, the Office of Faith-Based Initiatives and the community to assess the need for recruiting additional foster families across the state.

“(OKDHS representatives) said, ‘We need as many as 1,500 more foster families statewide, and we, DHS, have identified the faith community as the very best place to go get these families, but we don’t have access to them,’” Nockels recalls.

As a result of what Nockels calls “a groundswell of activity” in the statewide faith community around foster care, the 111Project — which stands for “1 church, 1 family, 1 purpose” — launched in April 2011 in Oklahoma City, followed by a Tulsa launch in October 2011. While the project is not affiliated with OKDHS and receives no state funding, it supports the objectives of OKDHS, Nockels says.

At press time, 92 Oklahoma churches — mostly from Oklahoma City and Tulsa — had pledged more than 400 families from their congregations to foster a child or children through the 111Project, and more than 300 families had committed to do so. However, Nockels says OKDHS would like to add 500 more foster families by June 30, 2013, a goal outlined in the agency’s Pinnacle Plan.

Tulsa’s unique strength is its volunteer-led effort of about 20 individuals working directly with churches, Nockels says.

Candace Morton, childshare coordinator at Oklahoma United Methodist Circle of Care; Mollie Myers, director of City Church’s LoveTulsa ministry; and Ulysses Allen, foster care recruitment shepherd for the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, are working to recruit and support foster parents in Tulsa’s faith community.Mollie Myers, director of City Church’s LoveTulsa ministry, is one of those volunteers.  In April 2011, she and a group of church members visited the Laura Dester Children’s Center in north Tulsa for Easter activities with children in the shelter’s temporary care.

Myers later realized two of the boys who had helped her hide eggs had been in her own church’s children’s department years ago.

“It just undid me. It messed me up so badly,” she says. “I was like, ‘Oh, God, what could we have done? Where did we drop the ball?’ I felt so condemned in some ways, because we had this family in our church.”

Myers says many people believe it’s the job of OKDHS to raise children whose families cannot provide the care they need. In fact, she admits she used to feel the same way.

“Well, it’s DHS’ goal to make sure that child is safe, but it’s not their job to raise that child,” she says. “They’re not a parent. They’re not a family, and they shouldn’t have to act as one, and they are having to act as one right now.”

On Tuesday evenings, Myers reads to the children at the shelter. Volunteers aren’t allowed into bedrooms, though the kids ask her repeatedly to come in to read to them. She calls the experience “heart-wrenching,” yet she is compelled to return each week.

“It feels so institutional,” Myers says. “It’s like, ‘I want to come in there and talk to you, and brush your hair and put you to sleep, just like I do my own kids, but I have to (read) from the doorway.’”

The saddest part is, Myers says, “I’ve been reading to some of the same kids for months.”

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »You Might Like

Cookin’ on Tulsa time

Roger Shollmier, creator of the Galley Sink, is launching a web-based cooking channel, Galley Cuisine TV, which features cooking shows with some of Tulsa’s biggest food personalities.

Video: Jesse Aycock

Locker room: Dane Westby

A young Tulsa native is riding his way to the top of the nation’s motorcycle circuit.
Edit Module

Add your comment:

 

Get the best in arts, entertainment and more straight to your inbox.

Join our email list

Edit ModuleShow Tags

July 2019

Featuring more than seventy works by French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Rousseau and Van Gogh, this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extraordinary gift...

Cost: $15

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: (405) 236-3100
Website »

More information

Sharklahoma is a collaboration between the Oklahoma Aquarium and the Jenks Chamber of Commerce to celebrate our community and its local businesses, while also raising awareness about the ecological...

Cost: Varies

Where:
Oklahoma Aquarium
, OK


Website »

More information

The Museum’s Dickinson Research Center is home to more than 700,000 photographs, 44,000 books, and perhaps unexpectedly, at least 1,000 horses. Meet some of the herd in Horseplay, the new...

Cost: $12.50 adult entry

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »

More information

Joys To The World 4th Summer Camp Enriching the quality of life for young adults with multiple disabilities. WHAT TO EXPECT Summer Camp is designed to meet the needs of students with...

Cost: $100/week; $400/4weeks; $30/day

Where:
Tulsa Hills Church
840 W. 81st Street
Tulsa, OK  74132
View map »


Sponsor: Joys to the World, Inc.
Telephone: 918-282-3191
Contact Name: Jenny Ramnath
Website »

More information

Help DVIS and the Tulsa Drillers knock out violence! We are in our 16th year of raising funds for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Join us by pledging per home run or making a...

Cost: $1+

Where:
Tulsa, OK


Sponsor: DVIS
Telephone: 918-508-2709
Contact Name: Jenée Day
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

It is time to hit the greens to support the 20th Annual Boys & Girls Club Charity Golf Tournament. Bring your golf buddies in support of Tulsa area youth. Join us for a great day of golf for a...

Cost: Sponsors start at $1,200

Where:
Tulsa Country Club
701 N Union Aveue
Tulsa, OK  74127
View map »


Sponsor: The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Tulsa
Telephone: 918-587-7801
Contact Name: Samantha Knappen
Website »

More information

p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 15.0px Calibri; -webkit-text-stroke: #000000} span.s1 {font-kerning: none} 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. shotgun starts

Where:
Tulsa Country Club
701 N Union Ave
Tulsa, OK  74127
View map »


Sponsor: The Salvation Army
Contact Name: Dj Morrow Ingram

More information

The tournament will be an 18-hole, 4-person scramble format. Morning Flight shotgun at 8 am and Afternoon flight shotgun at 1 pm. All participants are invited to use the practice facilities prior...

Cost: first sponsor level $1,250

Where:
Tulsa Country Club
701 N. Union Ave.
Tulsa, OK  74127
View map »


Sponsor: The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Tulsa
Telephone: 918-587-7801
Contact Name: Samantha Knappen, Special Events Manager
Website »

More information

Children's Summer Camp is a week full of games, crafts, field trips and more for deaf and hard-of-hearing children and their siblings.   

Cost: $65 - deaf and hard of hearing; $75 for siblings

Where:
TSHA
8740 E. 11th Street
Tulsa, OK  74112
View map »


Sponsor: TSHA
Telephone: 019-832-8742
Contact Name: Diana Emerson
Website »

More information

The Please Touch the Art exhibit breaks the rules of traditional art exhibits and makes art accessible, especially for visitors who are visually impaired or blind. Guests are encouraged to touch...

Cost: free & open to the public

Where:
McKeon Center for Creativity
910 S. Boston Ave.
TCC Metro Campus
Tulsa, OK  74135
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Community College
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Armstrong

More information

Sharklahoma is a collaboration between the Oklahoma Aquarium and the Jenks Chamber of Commerce to celebrate our community and its local businesses, while also raising awareness about the ecological...

Cost: Varies

Where:
Oklahoma Aquarium
, OK


Website »

More information

Featuring more than seventy works by French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Rousseau and Van Gogh, this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extraordinary gift...

Cost: $15

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: (405) 236-3100
Website »

More information

Joys To The World 4th Summer Camp Enriching the quality of life for young adults with multiple disabilities. WHAT TO EXPECT Summer Camp is designed to meet the needs of students with...

Cost: $100/week; $400/4weeks; $30/day

Where:
Tulsa Hills Church
840 W. 81st Street
Tulsa, OK  74132
View map »


Sponsor: Joys to the World, Inc.
Telephone: 918-282-3191
Contact Name: Jenny Ramnath
Website »

More information

Magi 4 Christ Campers meet each Monday at 6:00 PM until 7:30 PM. At 4241 S. 37th W. Ave., Tulsa, OK. 74107.  We are a Christian group of camping enthusiasts. We are family friendly. Meeting...

Cost: Donations only

Where:
Hope House
4241 S. 37th W. Ave.
South Door Activity Center
Tulsa, OK  74107
View map »


Sponsor: Magi 4 Christ Campers
Telephone: 918-906-0564
Contact Name: Dorothy Brown

More information

Help DVIS and the Tulsa Drillers knock out violence! We are in our 16th year of raising funds for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Join us by pledging per home run or making a...

Cost: $1+

Where:
Tulsa, OK


Sponsor: DVIS
Telephone: 918-508-2709
Contact Name: Jenée Day
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Children's Summer Camp is a week full of games, crafts, field trips and more for deaf and hard-of-hearing children and their siblings.   

Cost: $65 - deaf and hard of hearing; $75 for siblings

Where:
TSHA
8740 E. 11th Street
Tulsa, OK  74112
View map »


Sponsor: TSHA
Telephone: 019-832-8742
Contact Name: Diana Emerson
Website »

More information

The Please Touch the Art exhibit breaks the rules of traditional art exhibits and makes art accessible, especially for visitors who are visually impaired or blind. Guests are encouraged to touch...

Cost: free & open to the public

Where:
McKeon Center for Creativity
910 S. Boston Ave.
TCC Metro Campus
Tulsa, OK  74135
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Community College
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Armstrong

More information

Featuring more than seventy works by French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Rousseau and Van Gogh, this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extraordinary gift...

Cost: $15

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: (405) 236-3100
Website »

More information

Sharklahoma is a collaboration between the Oklahoma Aquarium and the Jenks Chamber of Commerce to celebrate our community and its local businesses, while also raising awareness about the ecological...

Cost: Varies

Where:
Oklahoma Aquarium
, OK


Website »

More information

Joys To The World 4th Summer Camp Enriching the quality of life for young adults with multiple disabilities. WHAT TO EXPECT Summer Camp is designed to meet the needs of students with...

Cost: $100/week; $400/4weeks; $30/day

Where:
Tulsa Hills Church
840 W. 81st Street
Tulsa, OK  74132
View map »


Sponsor: Joys to the World, Inc.
Telephone: 918-282-3191
Contact Name: Jenny Ramnath
Website »

More information

Help DVIS and the Tulsa Drillers knock out violence! We are in our 16th year of raising funds for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Join us by pledging per home run or making a...

Cost: $1+

Where:
Tulsa, OK


Sponsor: DVIS
Telephone: 918-508-2709
Contact Name: Jenée Day
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Children's Summer Camp is a week full of games, crafts, field trips and more for deaf and hard-of-hearing children and their siblings.   

Cost: $65 - deaf and hard of hearing; $75 for siblings

Where:
TSHA
8740 E. 11th Street
Tulsa, OK  74112
View map »


Sponsor: TSHA
Telephone: 019-832-8742
Contact Name: Diana Emerson
Website »

More information

Featuring more than seventy works by French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Rousseau and Van Gogh, this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extraordinary gift...

Cost: $15

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: (405) 236-3100
Website »

More information

Sharklahoma is a collaboration between the Oklahoma Aquarium and the Jenks Chamber of Commerce to celebrate our community and its local businesses, while also raising awareness about the ecological...

Cost: Varies

Where:
Oklahoma Aquarium
, OK


Website »

More information

The Please Touch the Art exhibit breaks the rules of traditional art exhibits and makes art accessible, especially for visitors who are visually impaired or blind. Guests are encouraged to touch...

Cost: free & open to the public

Where:
McKeon Center for Creativity
910 S. Boston Ave.
TCC Metro Campus
Tulsa, OK  74135
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Community College
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Armstrong

More information

Joys To The World 4th Summer Camp Enriching the quality of life for young adults with multiple disabilities. WHAT TO EXPECT Summer Camp is designed to meet the needs of students with...

Cost: $100/week; $400/4weeks; $30/day

Where:
Tulsa Hills Church
840 W. 81st Street
Tulsa, OK  74132
View map »


Sponsor: Joys to the World, Inc.
Telephone: 918-282-3191
Contact Name: Jenny Ramnath
Website »

More information

Every Wednesday Live Event Trivia is at The Willows Family Ales - Show starts at 7 and is free to play! Movie scenes, Finish the Lyric, Classic Trivia, and more! The crew from T-Town Tacos will be...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Willows Family Ales
418 south peoria ave
tulsa, OK  74120
View map »


Sponsor: The Willows Family Ales
Telephone: (918) 895-6798
Contact Name: Julian Morgan
Website »

More information

Help DVIS and the Tulsa Drillers knock out violence! We are in our 16th year of raising funds for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Join us by pledging per home run or making a...

Cost: $1+

Where:
Tulsa, OK


Sponsor: DVIS
Telephone: 918-508-2709
Contact Name: Jenée Day
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Children's Summer Camp is a week full of games, crafts, field trips and more for deaf and hard-of-hearing children and their siblings.   

Cost: $65 - deaf and hard of hearing; $75 for siblings

Where:
TSHA
8740 E. 11th Street
Tulsa, OK  74112
View map »


Sponsor: TSHA
Telephone: 019-832-8742
Contact Name: Diana Emerson
Website »

More information

Sharklahoma is a collaboration between the Oklahoma Aquarium and the Jenks Chamber of Commerce to celebrate our community and its local businesses, while also raising awareness about the ecological...

Cost: Varies

Where:
Oklahoma Aquarium
, OK


Website »

More information

The Please Touch the Art exhibit breaks the rules of traditional art exhibits and makes art accessible, especially for visitors who are visually impaired or blind. Guests are encouraged to touch...

Cost: free & open to the public

Where:
McKeon Center for Creativity
910 S. Boston Ave.
TCC Metro Campus
Tulsa, OK  74135
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Community College
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Armstrong

More information

Featuring more than seventy works by French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Rousseau and Van Gogh, this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extraordinary gift...

Cost: $15

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: (405) 236-3100
Website »

More information

Joys To The World 4th Summer Camp Enriching the quality of life for young adults with multiple disabilities. WHAT TO EXPECT Summer Camp is designed to meet the needs of students with...

Cost: $100/week; $400/4weeks; $30/day

Where:
Tulsa Hills Church
840 W. 81st Street
Tulsa, OK  74132
View map »


Sponsor: Joys to the World, Inc.
Telephone: 918-282-3191
Contact Name: Jenny Ramnath
Website »

More information

Love's Third Thursdays are special, creating the perfect opportunity to mingle at the Museum with friends, experience something new, and enjoy the Museum’s latest exhibitions. From 5...

Cost: $12

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores and the Oklahoma City Museum of Art
Telephone: (405) 236-3100
Contact Name: Becky Weintz
Website »

More information

Help DVIS and the Tulsa Drillers knock out violence! We are in our 16th year of raising funds for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Join us by pledging per home run or making a...

Cost: $1+

Where:
Tulsa, OK


Sponsor: DVIS
Telephone: 918-508-2709
Contact Name: Jenée Day
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Children's Summer Camp is a week full of games, crafts, field trips and more for deaf and hard-of-hearing children and their siblings.   

Cost: $65 - deaf and hard of hearing; $75 for siblings

Where:
TSHA
8740 E. 11th Street
Tulsa, OK  74112
View map »


Sponsor: TSHA
Telephone: 019-832-8742
Contact Name: Diana Emerson
Website »

More information

Sharklahoma is a collaboration between the Oklahoma Aquarium and the Jenks Chamber of Commerce to celebrate our community and its local businesses, while also raising awareness about the ecological...

Cost: Varies

Where:
Oklahoma Aquarium
, OK


Website »

More information

The Please Touch the Art exhibit breaks the rules of traditional art exhibits and makes art accessible, especially for visitors who are visually impaired or blind. Guests are encouraged to touch...

Cost: free & open to the public

Where:
McKeon Center for Creativity
910 S. Boston Ave.
TCC Metro Campus
Tulsa, OK  74135
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Community College
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Armstrong

More information

Featuring more than seventy works by French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Rousseau and Van Gogh, this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extraordinary gift...

Cost: $15

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: (405) 236-3100
Website »

More information

Help DVIS and the Tulsa Drillers knock out violence! We are in our 16th year of raising funds for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Join us by pledging per home run or making a...

Cost: $1+

Where:
Tulsa, OK


Sponsor: DVIS
Telephone: 918-508-2709
Contact Name: Jenée Day
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Accepting: batteries (rechargeable and single use) plastic grocery bags personal paper documents for shredding * Residential only, no businesses please Plastic grocery bags will...

Cost: Free

Where:
Expo Square Exchange Center
4145 E. 21st St.
*drive through along East side of building
Tulsa, OK  74114
View map »


Sponsor: The Metropolitan Environmental Trust
Website »

More information

Featuring more than seventy works by French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Rousseau and Van Gogh, this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extraordinary gift...

Cost: $15

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: (405) 236-3100
Website »

More information

Sharklahoma is a collaboration between the Oklahoma Aquarium and the Jenks Chamber of Commerce to celebrate our community and its local businesses, while also raising awareness about the ecological...

Cost: Varies

Where:
Oklahoma Aquarium
, OK


Website »

More information

Free event with motivational speaking and resources for financial advisement and social support. We will use this event to fellowship and build bonds and create a strong sister circle.

Cost: Free

Where:
Woodward Park
2435 S Peoria Ave
Tulsa, OK  74114
View map »

More information

America’s LARGEST interactive comedy murder mystery dinner show is now playing at the Hilton Garden Inn Tulsa Broken Arrow! At The Dinner Detective, you’ll tackle a challenging crime while you...

Cost: 59.95

Where:
Hilton Garden Inn Tulsa- Broken Arrow
420 W Albany St.
Broken Arrow, OK  74012
View map »


Telephone: 866-496-0535
Contact Name: The Dinner Detective
Website »

More information

RSVP is excited to announce our annual gala! Let's twist again down memory land and the spectacular 60's!!!  During the night, be prepared to dine on delicious food and dance to a...

Cost: 125.00

Where:
River Spirit Casino
8330 Riverside Drive
Tulsa, OK  74135
View map »


Sponsor: RSVP of Tulsa, Inc.
Telephone: 918.280.8656
Contact Name: Annette Poston
Website »

More information

Remember attending those summer family reunions as a kid? Have you become the weird uncle you always avoided or the “crazy cat-lady” aunt that enjoys pinching cheeks? If...

Cost: 8.00

Where:
pH Community House
306 South Phoenix Avenue
Tulsa, OK  74127
View map »


Sponsor: Laughing Matter Improv
Contact Name: Jerry Henderson
Website »

More information

Where:
Tulsa Rugby Pitch
37th Street and Riverside Drive
Tulsa, OK
View map »


Website »

More information

Help DVIS and the Tulsa Drillers knock out violence! We are in our 16th year of raising funds for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Join us by pledging per home run or making a...

Cost: $1+

Where:
Tulsa, OK


Sponsor: DVIS
Telephone: 918-508-2709
Contact Name: Jenée Day
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

What's New


USS Batfish needs your help

Popular tourist destination in nearby Muskogee needs assistance following historic flooding

Comments

Video: Mock Brothers Saddlery

Comments

6 unique places in Wichita worth a stop

Plenty to see and do in Kansas’ largest city

Comments

Award-winning screenwriter comes home to Tulsa

Three-time Emmy Award-winning screenwriter Paul W. Cooper recently returned to his native Tulsa.

Comments

Remembering Tulsa Paper Co.

The Tulsa Paper Co. was founded by Alphonse Jochem in 1917, originally at 21 W. First St.

Comments