Changing the Cycle

You can be a role model when you don’t even realize it. You can change the cycle.

Sandra and Jerry Dollen became foster parents 28 years ago, because they knew it was the right thing to do.

A child they knew needed help and a temporary place to call home, so the Dollens decided to become licensed foster parents to take her in. But the Dollens never anticipated the impact foster care would have on their lives, and they decided to continue opening their home to children in need.

“During the classes and trainings, I knew it was for me. I have always had a connection with kids,” Sandra says. “The next thing we knew, we had five girls in our home.”

Since then, the Dollens have primarily fostered teenagers. Sandra and Jerry always focus on working with the child’s birth parents to safely reunify the family whenever possible.

“We always respect and value the families, and they trust us,” Sandra says. “It’s about working as a team and making it a better world for everybody, especially for the child and their family.”

Over the years, Sandra has been inspired by the way the littlest things can make the biggest difference for the children in her care, even after they leave her home.

“I would sing songs with one little girl at night before going to sleep. I didn’t realize how much that meant to her until she remembered it years later with her own child,” Sandra says. “That was a forever moment for her. It blew me away because that’s something I might normally take for granted. But you can be a role model when you don’t even realize it. You can change the cycle.”

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