MLK Day in Clay to highlight needs of children in foster care

By Kile Brewer
Posted 12/20/17

ORANGE PARK – The Rev. William Randall hopes to bring about statewide changes to the way Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy is celebrated.

Through his annual King Day celebration of at …

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MLK Day in Clay to highlight needs of children in foster care

Posted

ORANGE PARK – The Rev. William Randall hopes to bring about statewide changes to the way Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy is celebrated.

Through his annual King Day celebration of at St. Simon Baptist Church in Orange Park, Randall hopes to bring attention to a topic he thinks goes unnoticed in some areas of the state – foster children.

“Foster children and adoptive care is not something that many churches focus on,” Randall said. Randall sits on the board for a statewide organization called One Church, One Child, a group that specifically focuses on this issue. “Our goal is to get them out of the system,” he said.

Each year, St. Simon Baptist focuses its MLK Day events around giving back to the community, and for seven years the church has tried to use Dr. King’s words to promote selflessness and caring throughout to the larger community. This year Randall is doing something a little different, and through his position with One Church, One Child he hopes to set an example that other churches throughout the state can follow for years to come.

“We can’t rely on the state to do it all, I believe that churches have got to step in and do our part,” he said.

In an effort to blend the messages of King with the messages of One Church, One Child and the effort to get foster kids into permanent homes, Randall has formed a partnership with the statewide Live the Dream Foundation, the organization that doles out funds raised through the MLK state specialty license plate.

“We want to help people who cannot help themselves, children without parents or family,” Randall said. “We hope to bring foster children and foster parents together [statewide] to promote the MLK Live the Dream Foundation tag.”

Through Live the Dream, Randall hopes to get some of the dollars raised going toward fostering and adoption organizations in areas like Tampa, Miami, Orlando and Jacksonville, and any other areas of the state where kids need help. Locally there are organizations who keep track of kids and know who is aging out of the system, but Randall said that by starting here and showing people who have clout throughout the state how great the kids are, it will raise interest in helping kids where they need it most.

This year’s event will start on Friday, January 12, with a dinner and celebration of local foster and adopted kids. Randall said they will have local children’s organizations on hand, as well as speaker Michael Dobson from the Live the Dream Foundation. During the entertainment portion of the evening Randall will host a number of fostered and adopted children “putting their gifts on display” whether that be through musical performance, dancing or the reading of a written work.

Then, on Saturday morning, Randall will host a food giveaway event at Orange Park Town Hall starting around 9 a.m. and continuing until supplies run out. The next day, Sunday, Randall will hold regular church service at St. Simon but is asking all area churches to participate with him in focusing their sermons on fostering and adoption. He hopes this will be the model that the rest of the state will follow in the coming years: one church will take the lead and bring all churches in the community together to spread a unified message to their congregations.

Finally, the whole event series will culminate on Monday, January 15, King’s birthday. Randall’s church will host its annual breakfast, as well as give out awards to community agencies during MLK Day in Clay County.

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