Local organization bringing 60 orphans from Ukraine to U.S. for summer stay
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) -- You can change the lives of children, just by giving them a safe, loving home for the summer.
60 orphans in Ukraine are waiting for their chance to come to the United States.
A local organization is behind the effort, and is looking for families to help make a big difference.
In a war-torn country, caring for orphans often goes by the wayside.
"Many of the environments and facilities are dilapidated and run down," said Chad LaForce, who's organizing the effort with his wife, Liz.
The kids have a bleak life ahead of them in Ukraine once they're forced to leave the orphanage at age 17.
"50% of them are dead before age 21. Another 25% end up in drug abuse, human trafficking or incarceration," LaForce said.
Chad and Liz are hoping to turn that around.
They've created an organization named Force for Christ.
It connects kids overseas who don't have a home with families in America.
"We have over 60 orphans that are available for hosting through our agency that are coming over this summer," said Chad LaForce.
The Ukrainian orphans, ages 7 to 16, arrive in July and stay for up to 5 weeks.
15 host families have committed but they need more.
"I think it's a great experience for them to come in the summer to a place like the U.S. and get out of the orphanage, experience a loving family, have a great vacation and leave that whole environment and lifestyle behind," said Chad LaForce.
"We do a home safety check on them, background clearances, we do references, they have to come to a training we offer," said Liz LaForce.
Some families may choose to adopt the kids.
However, that's not the overall goal.
"It gets them connected with caring people, in a country where there are resources, where they can build lifelong relationships and have some sort of support structure as they go on through their adolescence and graduate out of these institutions," said Chad LaForce.
It's a force for change in the lives of the orphans but also for their host families.
"It's all together been amazing as host parents, and now for us being able to travel and meet these kids, it's been transformation in its qualities for us and for them," said Chad LaForce.
You can also learn more at the upcoming Child Welfare Awareness Conference.
It's happening Saturday from 9 to 5 at Grace Fellowship Church in Kalamazoo.
Proceeds from the event will go to effort to bring orphans over from the Ukraine.
Click here for more information.