There is still a dramatic need for foster care homes in many parts of Kansas; get involved
Rev. Glenn J. Koster, Sr. is a foster child, an adoptee, a recovering alcoholic / spousal abuser, and a walker. He had overcome many difficulties in his life and settled on one important mission - he wants to walk across America to raise awareness of the need for better foster care and adoption opportunities for children, especially those in Kansas.
During the last week of July 2021, he was on the move, walking through Stafford County and pausing in St. John, in front of the court house for pictures and a little conversation. He said he plans to walk in every Kansas county to raise awareness of this issue between now and November of 2022.
"I live in South Hutchinson but serve as an assistant pastor at the First Church of God in Hutchinson," Koster said. "In February of 2018 I started a walk from South Miami Beach to Westport, Washington, by way of Texas and North Dakota. In July of 2018, I was shut down in Chadron, Nebraska, because of mechanical issues with my support vehicle. After the issues were resolved, it was too late to resume that fall, so I went out again in May of 2019 and completed my walk on August 28, 2019, some 4,310 miles after I started. What is important to know is that I did the walk to raise awareness of and support for foster care and adoption in our nation. I am a double product of that system, having been adopted in 1962 and again in 1965."
With confirmed walks through Stafford County, from McPherson to Harvey County, from Wichita (Sedgwick) to Mount Vernon (Kingman) to Hutchinson (Reno), and excursion through Rice County, Ellsworth County and Dodge City, Koster is reaching his goal of appearing in every Kansas county. He said he can cover about 26 miles every 10 hours. While he walks, he has a lot of time to think about the causes near and dear to his heart.
"Our foster care system is in crisis for many different reasons," he said. "The reality is that there is still a dramatic need but available homes in certain areas are desperately in short supply. My message is multi-faceted. First, the focus must be on trying to provide the support systems necessary to keep kids in their natural families – but this often takes mentors for both the parents and the children. When a child has to be pulled from a home, they need to be placed in a safe environment with a primary goal of getting them back home if at all possible. If they cannot return home safely, then every effort must be made to keep them in a safe environment until they either age out or can be permanently adopted. Should they age out, we must do everything possible to ensure their success in life."
Koster said good options for foster kids require a myriad people to become involved.
"It is my honest belief that no matter the circumstances, everyone can do something," he said. "Everyone can either become a mentor, a respite parent, a temporary foster parent, an adoptive parent, a financial donor, a champion of the children (or the cause), or simply a prayer warrior! Don’t let others be the only ones involved."
Koster enjoys talking almost as much as he enjoys walked. He welcomes calls from those who want to visit about his history as a foster child, an adoptee, a recovering alcoholic / spousal abuser, or simply about his walks.
He may be contacted via email (firstname.lastname@example.org), via Facebook messaging (facebook.com/KSCharitySteps), or via phone (620-960-4492).