Written by Sabrina Plumb
After a long stressful day, do you wish you had someone to take care of cooking dinner? At OhioGuidestone, our Foster Parents don’t have to wish—they just make a phone call. Before they know it a real-life genie is on their doorstep saying, “Your wish is my command!”
Felicia Weisbrod was the catalyst for gathering genies to grant wishes for OhioGuidestone foster parents. Since she was 12, Felicia always felt drawn to foster care.
“I never felt I was at a point to become a foster parent myself but I still wanted to find a way to support foster families,” said Felicia. Looking for what she could do to help, she came across an article she wouldn’t forget. The article explained how helping foster parents by completing simple household tasks can relieve stress and allow the foster parents to focus more on their children. The article encouraged people who weren’t ready to be foster parents to lend a hand to those who are by cooking meals or fixing things around the house. It was a simple concept but one Felicia had never thought of and wouldn’t soon forget.
A few years later, she began volunteering with OhioGuidestone’s Communications Department, which coincidentally shared an office space with the Foster Care Department. That happy accident allowed her to come in contact with Deb Gault, Director of Foster Care, and Holly Spencer-Trueman, Foster Care Recruiter/Trainer. Felicia wanted to know what foster care support OhioGuidestone had in place, and met with Deb and Holly.
“I told them about that concept and how beneficial it could be.” Felicia said. Deb and Holly knew that Felicia’s idea would be a great way to support OhioGuidestone foster parents.
“As Felicia was explaining her idea I kept thinking of the Genie in Aladdin. Every time he came out of the lamp he would say, ‘Poof! What do you need?’ and that’s exactly what Felicia wanted to do!” said Holly Spencer-Trueman.
Just like that the group had a name—the Genie Team—and a purpose. But where would they find the genies?
Felicia had an idea. She headed to the Strongsville United Methodist Church to talk about her idea and see if she could get any volunteers. Her church congregation loved the idea and wanted to help however they could. Those who were interested in becoming genies went through a vetting process, were finger printed, attended a training with Holly and then were ready to start granting wishes!
Over the last year, the genies have cleaned gutters, provided rides, repaired drywall, cleaned, done the laundry and cooked countless meals for OhioGuidestone’s Foster Care Families.
“The Genies are willing to do anything because they care about the foster kids and their families,” said Felicia. “It’s rewarding to know there’s a need and you’re able to help fill it.”
The Genie Team is currently based out of the Strongsville United Methodist Church but they want to grow the team and expand to other churches. If you’re interested in getting involved with the Genie Team or finding out how you can become an OhioGuidestone foster parent, contact Holly Spencer-Trueman at 440.260.8319.