Showing Gratitude to Our Foster Families with a Day of Games, Giveaways and Fun!

Great Circle’s Community-Based Services team serving central and northeast Missouri hosts 2021 Gratitude Fest!


Gratitude Fest was rocking Columbia’s Twin Lakes Pavilion on May 8 – all to celebrate foster families who open their homes to children needing stability and support. The annual event is hosted by Great Circle’s Community-Based Services (CBS) team that works with foster families and children in central and northeast Missouri.

Though the weather was a little chilly, about 40 Great Circle staff, volunteers, community partners and 200 families and children gathered for a day filled with games, giveaways, face painting (thanks to Columbia artisan Ines Hernandez), food and fun!

Celebrating with staff and community partners is the best way to thank our dedicated foster parents and the children who are welcomed into these family homes. "The event is a great way to honor all of them, and especially to thank our foster parents for providing guidance and love as they care for children who often are dealing with significant traumatic life experiences," says Bea Stewart, the Central Region's CBS director.

Held in early May to celebrate April as Child Abuse Prevention Month and May as Foster Care Appreciation Month, the first Gratitude Fest was in 2014. The COVID-19 pandemic sidelined the event in 2020, so our CBS staff was primed to make the 2021 festivities memorable!

Great Circle is grateful for the support of many community partners, including Bikers Against Child Abuse (BACA), Columbia Safety & Supply, Lions Club, Optimist Club and Shoes From the Heart, which donated items for Gratitude Fest and volunteered at the event. The hard work of our CBS team, which spent several weeks planning the event, paid off, with this year's Gratitude Fest being the best yet in terms of the number of donations and volunteers! "It keeps growing in size every year!" says Bea.

Gratitude Fest speaks to Great Circle’s mission to inspire life-changing hope and healing.  Through a wide range of family-focused programs, our CBS professionals work daily to strengthen families and help communities throughout Missouri and eastern Kansas thrive.  To learn about other community- and family-focused programs, click here