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‘Love can make all the difference’

Former foster care recipient shares his experiences

Candle-Lighting

Logan County Prosecutor Bill Goslee, second from the left, and other elected officials help light five candles this morning at the Logan County Child Advocate Award Breakfast. The candles represent the five children who die every day in the U.S. as a result of abuse. (EXAMINER PHOTO | MANDY LOEHR)

Tony Green assumed a new role as youth pastor at the Bellefontaine First Church of God during the past week, which he says would not have been possible without the help of his Logan County Children's Services caseworkers and his adopted family when he was a young man.

The area resident shared his story this morning during the Logan County Child Advocate Award Breakfast at St. Patrick Church, hosted by LCCS.

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GREEN

Case worker Emily Pool introduced Mr. Green, noting his family was one of the first cases that she ever handled.

The youth pastor said he was in foster care for some time, and had thought that he would simply stay in the system until he turned 18. However, at age 13, he was adopted by a loving family.

“For most foster children, if you’re not adopted by age 12, the odds are that you will stay in the system. But I was so fortunate to find a family who wanted to take a chance on me.

“The most important thing that my family taught me was how to love, and they introduced me to the love of Jesus Christ.”

Mr. Green went on to graduate high school and then became a U.S. Marine before dedicating his life to youth ministry for the past three years.

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MILLER

“It was my personal experiences that has brought me to realize that I want to work with youth. I can understand what they’re going through and how to help them.”

The speaker noted some daunting statistics relating to children growing up in America, including rates of child abuse, children in single-parent homes and risks of teen drug use.

But he encouraged those who work with children in trying situations to continue on their journey.

“Don’t give up. Being heartbroken about a particular child’s situation can fuel you to keep going.

“If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t be here today. Can you imagine where I would be if someone had given up on me? I’d probably be in prison or living on the streets.

“You can make all the difference in the life of a child.”

To recognize some of the individuals who make a difference in children’s lives, Child Advocate Awards honors went to LuAnna Miller, Logan County chief probation officer; and Deb Brown, assistant county prosecutor. Logan County Prosecutor Bill Goslee accepted Ms. Brown’s award because she was unable to attend the breakfast.

Melanie Engle, LCCS executive director, said Ms. Brown’s nominators noted how she goes above and beyond in her duties and that she “cares about families in crisis.”

“She’s often called upon by our staff members at all hours of the day. No matter what time it is, she’s always ready to work with us.”

Ms. Miller has worked in her field for 23 years, and “her actions each and every day reflect the needs of children,” Ms. Engle said.

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