Tina Thornton- Step Up Foster Youth Mentors- San Diego Ministry Leader
From the time she was very young, Tina knew that she wanted to foster and adopt. That journey led her to go through the foster and adoptive process. However, starting a new job that was much more demanding, then she anticipated, the timing was not right. Nevertheless, her desire to serve foster youth was strong and she looked for other opportunities to impact the lives of foster youth. That lead her to mentoring, the one-on-one relationship with a foster youth she was looking for.
She started with one brother and then over time started to mentor the younger brother and that was the beginnig of a 10 year mentoring relationship with her boys. She discovered that the Rock Church had a mentoring ministry, became involved, and started to take on more and more responsibilities until she was eventually asked to lead the ministry. After prayerful consideration, she knew that was what God wanted for her life. It has turned out to be one of the biggest blessings of her life to serve foster youth and young adults. For her work with foster youth, Tina was awarded the 2016 Volunteer of the Year Award from the City of San Diego for the Foster Youth Mentor Program. She looks forward to continuing to bless more youth with mentors, advocates and resources to walk by their side as they navigate life and the foster care system.
Lisa Gilbert-Walker - Founder - Step Up Foster Youth Mentors
Step Up Foster Youth Mentors was founded by Lisa Gilbert-Walker, born of a single mother, who experienced first hand life in foster care. She was placed in multiple foster homes until she was adopted at the age of three. As many foster children do, Lisa felt like she was lost and did not belong. At age 30, she accepted Christ and His healing power. That is when she first experienced HIS gift of real love and a true sense of belonging.
Through her personal experiences and career choice as a social worker, she saw many youth experience something similar and she wanted to find a way to do more. Lisa felt that with a Foster Youth Mentor by their side, these youth would have the support and encouragement they need. This would also allow them the opportunity to see Christ's light to shine through. Step Up Foster Youth Mentors was born. This ministry is one of the original ministries of The Rock Church.