Cabarrus County Nonprofit Open Hearts & Homes Hosts Children From Eastern European Orphanages
Mar 29, 2017 04:46PM ● Published by Melanie Heisinger
Over 200 people welcomed 52 orphans to Charlotte for 5 weeks to spend time with families.
Gallery: Open Hearts & Homes for Children [17 Images] Click any image to expand.
Curious about this volunteer organization, we reached out to the North/South Carolina Coordinator for OHHC Michelle Ziner. Not only is she locally based in Harrisburg, Michelle and her family have four biological children, three adopted from Cabarrus County foster care, as well as two adopted from Ukraine.
Michelle was able to answer a few questions we had about the OHHC and its mission.
Tell us a little about the Open Hearts & Homes for Children program. How does it work?
Once the team interviews the children, their photos and short bios are available on the OHHC website. Potential families view the children and select who they would like to host.
What are your goals for the program and where do you see it heading?Although we are a hosting agency and not an adoption agency, our goal is to give orphans the opportunity to possibly find a forever family.
We have been told by orphanage directors that you can walk through the building and point out the ones that have been hosted. They hold their heads higher, have more hope for their futures and they know down deep that someone in the world loves them. With each program, we observe so many children being lifted out of despair just by being loved by a family.
What's something people usually assume about the program? What do people usually assume that's incorrect?
Just as people would go on a mission trip and others would support them financially, this is a mission trip coming to your home. Many do fundraisers or online fundraising sites and become fully funded. God is serious about orphan care so we see time and time again, support coming to families when they doubt it is possible.
We periodically receive partial scholarships and donations to help offset the cost of hosting.
What is your personal favorite aspect of the program and its mission?
Just four years ago, we were the only host family in the Charlotte area and had no support or friends that had gone before us. This past program, we brought 52 children to Charlotte and Cabarrus County. To see that many children coming to families exceeded my greatest hopes for growth of this program in such a short time. Just from the last 3 programs alone, 21 children have or will be adopted to this area. This is the fastest growing area of all the areas served by OHHC.
What's one of your most memorable moments while working there?
When is the next hosting opportunity?
The program will run from approximately June 24-August 4th.
Is there another way people can get involved?
For more information, contact Michelle Ziner at firstname.lastname@example.org.