2018 Newsmakers: Crissy Mayberry
That’s the approximate number of children in foster care in Cape Girardeau, Perry and Bollinger counties.
That’s the number of foster parents in these three counties.
The deficit is large. Enter Crissy Mayberry, executive director of Hope for One More, a nonprofit foster care support agency in Cape Girardeau that was added to the services of Hope Children’s Home in 2014. The program’s mission is to find all children in foster care a home.
To do this, Mayberry, who has been the director of Hope for One More for the past four years, has implemented a backpack program that provides school supplies to every child in foster care within Hope for One More’s service area. She has also founded the Hope Chest, a boutique store with donated clothes, toys and supplies foster families can utilize at no cost. Perhaps most importantly, she has created foster parent recruitment, training, support and advocacy programs designed to help people choose to be foster parents, and then to plug them into useful resources.
The difficulties foster parents encounter when fostering children can often feel isolating, Mayberry says, which is why she is passionate about connecting foster parents with each other and the community.
“Parenting kids who come from trauma takes unique skills, and it takes a lot of extra support, and learning how to navigate the court system and child welfare system can be challenging, as well,” Mayberry says. “Parenting a child who you know is leaving and will be reunified with their parents definitely takes an emotional toll because you love the kids very much. You’re happy when they are able to be back with their parents when they’re able to provide them a safe home, but you still miss them and love them because you love them like they are your own child. So having extra support to go through that process is vital.”
Mayberry knows this because she’s been there. She and her husband have been elevated needs foster parents for eight years and have nine children, two of whom they adopted through foster care. They are also currently in the process of adopting a 21-year-old they fostered.
Mayberry says she believes each person has something that can help a child in foster care.
“Everybody has some kind of gift, ability, talent to do something for someone else to make something better for someone else. Everyone has the ability to do that,” she says. “Basically with my job, I give opportunities for people to be able to do that. To me, it’s not really work. It’s just what I do.”