Three Tryon residents receive foster care awards

Published 3:34 pm Thursday, May 20, 2010

May is National Foster Care Month and three Tryon residents have been honored for their sterling contribution to the care and support of foster children and their families in the state.

The North Carolina Foster and Adoptive Parent Association awarded John and Dixie Painter the Foster Parent of the Year Award for dedication and commitment as advocates for Foster Care and Special Needs Children. John and Dixie Painter have always been allies of Special Needs children and adults alike. The award ceremony took place in Charlotte and was attended by some 250 persons.

The nomination for this award was submitted by Grandfather Homes for Children. John and Dixie have always tried to go above and beyond what is required of them. They dont only work with the children in their home, but they do what they can to work with the parents as well. Together they have adopted three children, and have had over 35 children in their home during the last five years.

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According to the Painters, The children in our home have blessed us more than anything we could possibly do for them and we encourage anyone who can, to be foster parents. If they cant, then we urge them to help a child in any way they can.

The Henderson County Entrepreneurial Association has also honored Darlene Stone, foster parent recruiter and training coordinator for the Henderson County Department of Social Services. She was also presented with an award of appreciation by the Henderson County Foster Parent Association.

Darlene spends hours recruiting families but even more hours are spent on cultivating, training, and retaining these foster families. Its one thing to get a family to sign up for certification classes, the art is seeing that family through until they get their first placement then the real work begins.

John and Dixie Painter as well as Darlene Stone live in Tryon and are members of the Tryon Seventh-day Adventist Church.

In presenting the award, President of the Henderson County Foster Parent Association Gregg Childers said, Darlene has been the backbone, and in many cases, the arms and legs of the Foster and Adoptive Parent Association. She coordinates meals, finds volunteers to assist with the children, and also seeks out qualified speakers to offer parents that much needed continuing education at our quarterly meetings. She also seeks out fund raising opportunities and is the DSS sponsor for the Foster and Adoptive Board of Directors. Many hours of her life are devoted to serving us.

According to Stone, there are currently 116 children in the care of the Henderson County DSS.

The majority have been placed with foster families, she explains, adding that some of the children, especially the older ones, have been placed in a group setting.

She gives a few pointers to those who would like to become involved in serving foster children and their families.

Become a foster parent.

Host a special craft project for our foster/adoptive children at an upcoming event.

Hold a coat, pajama, school supply drive through your church, business, or local civic group.

Donate gentle used clothing from newborn to size 12. Updated equipment like cribs, strollers, packs and plays, etc., as long as they are clean. Also the Foster Closet will accept donations of diapers, toiletries, and school supplies.

Support the Foster/Adoptive Parent Association by making a monetary donation.

To learn more about how you can assist foster children and their families, contact Darlene Stone at: 694-6252 or