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.”

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June 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

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

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National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
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Then, Here/Now: Creating Community in the Center is a group exhibition that illuminates the histories and presence/presents of LGBTQIA+ art collectives and projects that help to ensure visibility...

Cost: Free

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Living Arts of Tulsa
307 East M. B. Brady St.
Tulsa, OK  74120
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Telephone: 918-585-1234
Website »

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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...

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

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

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

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Cost: Free & open to the public

Where:
McKeon Center for Creativity
910 S. Boston Ave.
TCC Metro Campus
Tulsa, OK  74119
View map »


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

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Cost: Free

Where:
Central Library
400 civic center
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa City-County Library
Contact Name: Rebecca H

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Then, Here/Now: Creating Community in the Center is a group exhibition that illuminates the histories and presence/presents of LGBTQIA+ art collectives and projects that help to ensure visibility...

Cost: Free

Where:
Living Arts of Tulsa
307 East M. B. Brady St.
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »


Telephone: 918-585-1234
Website »

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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
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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

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Hope House
4241 S. 37th W. Ave.
South Door Activity Center
Tulsa, OK  74107
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Sponsor: Magi 4 Christ Campers
Telephone: 918-906-0564
Contact Name: Dorothy Brown

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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...
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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

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

Then, Here/Now: Creating Community in the Center is a group exhibition that illuminates the histories and presence/presents of LGBTQIA+ art collectives and projects that help to ensure visibility...

Cost: Free

Where:
Living Arts of Tulsa
307 East M. B. Brady St.
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »


Telephone: 918-585-1234
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...

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

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

Then, Here/Now: Creating Community in the Center is a group exhibition that illuminates the histories and presence/presents of LGBTQIA+ art collectives and projects that help to ensure visibility...

Cost: Free

Where:
Living Arts of Tulsa
307 East M. B. Brady St.
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »


Telephone: 918-585-1234
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

Join us for a movie in the garden to celebrate this year's Adult Summer Reading Program theme: "A Universe of Stories" Sandra Bullock and George Clooney star in a thrilling story of two astronauts...

Cost: Free

Where:
Central Library
400 civic center
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa City-County Library
Telephone: 918-549-7323
Contact Name: Rebecca H

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

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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...

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

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

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

Then, Here/Now: Creating Community in the Center is a group exhibition that illuminates the histories and presence/presents of LGBTQIA+ art collectives and projects that help to ensure visibility...

Cost: Free

Where:
Living Arts of Tulsa
307 East M. B. Brady St.
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »


Telephone: 918-585-1234
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

The Collinsville Chamber of Commerce is bringing back their much-anticipated Outdoor Summer Movies for a sixth year this summer. The movies will take place Thursday evenings in June at the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Collinsville City Plaza
12th and Main Street
Collinsville, OK  74021
View map »


Sponsor: Collinsville Chamber of Commerce
Telephone: 918-371-4703
Contact Name: Megan Edwards
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...

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

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

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

Then, Here/Now: Creating Community in the Center is a group exhibition that illuminates the histories and presence/presents of LGBTQIA+ art collectives and projects that help to ensure visibility...

Cost: Free

Where:
Living Arts of Tulsa
307 East M. B. Brady St.
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »


Telephone: 918-585-1234
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

Ahha Tulsa and Discovery Lab have partnered to create a special night out for families in downtown Tulsa. Parents are able to drop off children at Discovery Lab and stop by ahha for a kid-free...

Cost: Kids: $25 ($15 after first child), Adults: $15

Where:
ahha Tulsa and Discovery Lab
Discovery Lab: 560 N Maybelle Ave
ahha Tulsa: 101 E Archer St
Tulsa, OK  74114
View map »

More information

A unique concert event from Vox Solaris Chamber Choir, mixing traditional choir music with craft beer.  Come join us for this choir concert in the non-traditional venue of...

Cost: $25

Where:
Welltown Brewing
114 W Archer St
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Sponsor: Vox Solaris Chamber Choir
Contact Name: Jeffery Wall
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...

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

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

Then, Here/Now: Creating Community in the Center is a group exhibition that illuminates the histories and presence/presents of LGBTQIA+ art collectives and projects that help to ensure visibility...

Cost: Free

Where:
Living Arts of Tulsa
307 East M. B. Brady St.
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »


Telephone: 918-585-1234
Website »

More information

Car Show, Bike Show, Poker Run, Food, Live Music, Burnout Contest 

Cost: $0-$100.00

Where:
Downtown Wagoner
Main Street
Wagoner
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View map »


Sponsor: Wagoner Main Street
Telephone: 918-577-1772
Contact Name: Samantha Call
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

Tulsa Water Lantern Festival is coming up on June 29, 2019! Voted #1 Best Cultural Festival by USA TODAY! Water Lantern Festival is a floating lantern event that is all about connections....

Cost: 1-40

Where:
Events Park
21101 E 101st St
Broken Arrow, OK
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

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...
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