Serving Families and Children in southwest Ohio since 1989 Dayton 937-439-4406 Cincinnati 513-914-2971

“Focus on the Rules” – Bruce Bridges as featured in the September/October Newsletter

On the run would be the best description of foster parents.  Running to Doctor appointments, therapists and visits with the biological parents.  Let’s take a moment and look at what the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services has to say about Transportation.

(A)       Any vehicle owned or leased by a foster caregiver and used to transport a foster child shall be maintained in a safe condition and in compliance with all motor vehicle laws. Such vehicles shall be covered by liability insurance in accordance with current state laws.

(B)       A foster caregiver shall ensure that any person transporting a foster child in a motor vehicle shall be licensed to drive that class of vehicle and that such vehicle is maintained in a safe condition according to state laws.

(C)       A foster caregiver shall ensure that a foster child transported in a motor vehicle shall at all times be restrained by a seat belt including both a lap belt and a shoulder belt in vehicles that are so equipped.

(D)       If the foster child is less than four years old or forty pounds in weight, a child restraint seat secured by a seat belt or the lower anchors and tethers for children (LATCH) system shall be used. The child restraint seat shall be placed in the back seat of any motor vehicle that has a back seat.

(1)(2)   An infant less than one year of age or twenty pounds in weight shall be restrained only in a rear-facing position and whenever possible shall not be placed in the front seat of a motor vehicle equipped with passenger air bags.       Children at least one year old and between twenty pounds and forty pounds in weight shall be restrained in a forward-facing position.

(E)       If the foster child is less than eight years of age and less than four feet nine inches in height, the child shall be properly restrained in a booster seat if paragraph (D) of this rule does not apply. The booster seat shall be placed in the back of any motor vehicle that has a back seat.

(F)  If paragraph (D) of this rule does not apply and When the foster child is at least four eight years old of age but not older than fifteen years of age and forty pounds in weight and less than eighty pounds or shorter than four feet, nine inches in height, the child shall be restrained in a belt positioning booster seat in a forward-facing position or in a seat belt including both a lap belt and a shoulder belt in vehicles that are so equipped. The booster seat shall be placed in the back seat of any motor vehicle that has a back seat.

(G)  All children age twelve and under shall ride in the back seat of a motor vehicle that has a back seat and shall not ride in the front seat of the vehicle unless the vehicle does not have a back seat. If a foster child rides in the front seat of a vehicle as allowed by this rule, the foster caregiver must disable the passenger side airbag if the vehicle is so equipped.

(H)       Paragraphs (C), (D), (E), and (F) of this rule do not apply to the foster caregiver who has a signed affidavit by a licensed physician in Ohio or a licensed chiropractor in Ohio. The affidavit shall state that the child who otherwise would be required to be restrained, has a physical impairment that makes use of a child restraint system, booster seat, or an occupant restraining device impossible or impractical, provided the person operating the vehicle has safely and appropriately restrained the child in accordance with any recommendation of the physician or chiropractor as noted on the affidavit.

All of us at Agape appreciate your efforts to help keep children safe and want to say thanks for all you do.



“Celebrating the Past” – Steve Geib featured in the September/October 2012 Newsletter

During these past few months we have had much to be thankful for here at Agape for Youth, Inc.!  As I have shared, the past few years have been quite challenging to non-profits, and Agape has been no exception.  We have come together as a team, met these challenges head on, and weathered these storms of the past years.

Our ship is upright and sailing!! We have added new staff, we continue to be given opportunities to serve youth and families, continue to build our Youth Council, and most recently have established one of the strongest leadership team of administrators in our history.

Agape staff and foster families remain second to none!!  They are focused, centered, and driven to “serve with excellence”!  Together, we have embraced the principles of Strength Finders, and as an administration we are growing together in the Strength Based Leadership model of this initiative.

Agape continues to be blessed with opportunities such as having been named the local charity for the ClubCorp annual event held at the Dayton Racquet Club, along with receiving grants through the Dayton Rotary Foundation, and the Care Source Foundation.  Earlier this year, we were selected as the charity for the Back to Health Center 5k Run, and also continue to be the recipient of the semi-annual food drive sponsored by Dr. Van Merkle at Back to Health that has benefited our reunification families.

The generosity of our Sponsors has been overwhelming to say the least!  Thanks go out to Anthem, Vectren, Horan and Associates, WesBanco, Matt Scarr, PNC, SouthBrook Church, and Key-Ads for their continued generosity and financial support.

“Agape Strong” and Strength Finders 2.0, both initiatives being the mindset of Dr. Pam Gulley, our Development Coordinator here at Agape, are becoming a cornerstone to the future foundation of Agape.

I have had the pleasure of knowing and working alongside Dr. Gulley for over 10 years.  Dr. Pam has served as a trainer, consultant, advisor, and those who know her, “an entertainer” always leaving us laughing and uplifted, at Agape. She has also become a close friend to me, and to my family.  It is with mixed emotions that I announce Dr. Gulley’s retirement as the Development Coordinator with Agape.  Dr. Pam’s home base is Columbus, and her private practice has grown to a place that it requires her full attention.  Please know Dr. Pam, while absent from the day to day operations of Agape, will not be gone totally from Agape.  Look for a return and very special engagement next year.

This past week, as Dr. Pam gathered her belongings on her final day, we reflected on some great memories she has had here at Agape.  Once again, she moved me to tears.  Not tears of sorrow, tears of joy, (actually from the laughter) that we have been so very blessed to know and work with this wonderful professional.  Never one to say good-bye, (neither am I), she departed saying “see you soon”

It’s a good day here at Agape, and in the spirit of Dr. Pam, “see you soon”.


“Focus on the Rules” – Bruce Bridges – Featured in the November/December 2012 Newsletter

This month’s focus is Children’s Rights, and a foster parent’s obligation to adhere the standard set forth by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.  Many of the following “rights” seem like common sense, but in today’s ever more complicated and confusing society it never hurts to review.

Children’s Rights (the following apply to foster caregivers)

(A)       No agency, foster caregiver or residential facility or any employee of an agency or residential facility shall in any way violate any of the following rights of children:

(1)       The right to enjoy freedom of thought, conscience, and religion or to abstain from the practice of religion.

(2)       The right to reasonable enjoyment of privacy.

(3)       The right to have his or her opinions heard and be included, to the greatest extent possible, when any   decisions are being made affecting his life.

(4)       The right to receive appropriate and reasonable adult guidance, support, and supervision.

(5)       The right to be free from physical abuse and inhumane treatment.

(6)       The right to be protected from all forms of sexual exploitation.

(7)       The right to receive adequate and appropriate medical care.

(8)       The right to receive adequate and appropriate food, clothing, and housing.

(9)       The right to his own money and personal property in accordance with the child’s service or case plan.

(10)     The right to live in clean, safe surroundings.

(11)     The right to participate in an appropriate educational program.

(12)     The right to communicate with family, friends and “significant others” from whom he is living apart, in accordance with the child’s service or case plan.

(13)     The right to be taught to fulfill appropriate responsibilities to himself and to others.

Thanks for all you do.


“Dear Agape Family” – Rodger Stauffer Featured in the November 2012 Newsletter

Dear Agape Family,

I am very excited to have had the opportunity to meet many of you at our Oct 23 parent meetings.   I so appreciate all of you and the commitment you have shown the children that we serve.

In reviewing information about Agape as I continue the process of settling in as the Foster Care Supervisor I found some very interesting and exciting statistics.  Many of you may not know this but, on average only about 45 to 50 percent of foster youth nationally make it out of the foster care system in a positive manner.  Many go AWOL, land in group homes, find themselves hospitalized, get in trouble with the law, or simply linger in the system.  Typically about 40% of youth will successfully reunify with families with another 8% – 10% being blessed to find an adoptive family.  But that leaves 50% to struggle as mentioned above.

I was thrilled to learn that in the past 12 months Agape has had 86 youth leave our system and nearly 70% of those youth left successfully.  You all as a group have helped 36 children to reunify with their birth families, 16 youth to become adopted or be adoptively placed with a forever family and another 5 youth emancipate successfully from the system at the age of 18.  Those are remarkable numbers and they speak to the dedication and commitment of our faster families and the quality of care and support services being provided by our Youth Specialists.


I am humbled to be a part of this team and to have the opportunity to witness firsthand the great work that our families are providing to our youth.  You all are AWESOME!!!!  Please know that I will begin slowly contacting many of you individually as I start the process of trying to personally meet all of our families.  I have heard wonderful stories from our Youth Specialists about all of you and now look forward to hearing what all of you believe that Agape does well and what you think we may be able to do even better.

With the foundation we have here at Agape and the strong families that stand ready to care for children I know we are going to accomplish great things for children and families as we move forward. Please know that I stand ready to support all of our families as I appreciate the work you do.

If you have any questions at all you may contact me at 937-439-4406 ext. 37 or email me at



“Appreciate Today” – Steve Geib Featured in the November 2012 Newsletter

While I had originally written on an entirely different topic for this article, the events of the past couple of days has moved me to go another direction.

Have you ever heard the saying “in a blink of an eye”?  This phrase is used to refer to great occurrences, as well as devastation in one’s life.  A financial windfall, to the loss of a friend, each has significant impact to our lives.

By now, you are already asking, “where are you going with this”?

Thinking about “in the blink of an eye”, there is a point I hope to make. We live in a light speed pace, where it seems, (at least to me) that the older we get, the faster the days, and years go by.

This past week, Hurricane Sandy brought a level of devastation unrealized in my life, and the lives of many of our friends, and family. Billions of dollars in property loss, job loss, possession loss, and the loss of those memories we cherish from pictures, videos, along with the comforts we may have taken for granted most every day.

This reminds me of a number of years ago, when many of us experienced the loss of power in the Dayton area for nearly 10 days as a result of Hurricane Ike. What I remember as significant was that in the midst of this “inconvenience”, and having no means to cook, or watch TV, we actually went outside and met our neighbors.  For over a week, each night we gathered, cooking together on our grills, and getting to know one another, even though many of us had lived beside the other for  years. We spoke of how thankful we were that this storm that had devastated other areas of our nation, only minimally inconvenienced us. We also shared about our families, and our lives. Just as quickly as this event brought us all together, we just as quickly went back to our previous ways of life once the power came back on.

“In my walk I have come to see that there are times in life that we may become so consumed with life distractions, that we forget to separate ourselves from these distractions, and as a result fail to acknowledge both the celebration and the challenges others are going through.”

Honestly, I have been personally confronted by, and further saddened that there have been times in my own life where being thankful for what I have has come from the perspective of what others have lost.

In closing, I believe my point is that I will work to challenge myself to, and to encourage each of you as well, to make it our goal to truly appreciate today, where we are, what we have, and as well also appreciate that “in the blink of an eye” it can all change…….

Appreciate today,


“Agape Strong”

Agape for Youth Logo best resolution


Hide not your talents. They for use were made.

What’s a sundial in the shade?”
— Benjamin Franklin

Developer…..  Empathy….. Responsibility…..  Belief….. Adaptability

People who are especially talented in the Developer theme recognize and cultivate the potential in others. They spot the signs of each small improvement and derive satisfaction from these improvements.

People who are especially talented in the Empathy theme can sense the feelings of other people by imagining themselves in others’ lives or others’ situations.

People who are especially talented in the Responsibility theme take psychological ownership of what they say they will do. They are committed to stable values such as honesty and loyalty.

People who are especially talented in the Belief theme have certain core values that are unchanging. Out of these values emerges a defined purpose for their life.

People who are especially talented in the Adaptability theme prefer to “go with the flow.” They tend to be “now” people who take things as they come and discover the future one day at a time.

How amazing that we can clearly document that Agape for Youth, Inc. is a strong agency because the staff exhibit talent in cultivating the potential of others, through an understanding of how others feel and because the staff take ownership of what they say they will do and follow-through.  Staff is committed to honesty and loyalty as core values that are unchanging and give them a purpose for the life they lead.  Agape staff is “able to go with the flow” and are discovering the future one day at a time.

Isn’t it a comfort to you as a foster parent, a foster child, a community referral source, and all other stakeholders to know that you are working with an Agency that is AGAPE STRONG?