InterFaith Works!--Respite Care to Foster Care Parents

Interfaith program to assist and foster care parents and children.

Community Contact Information:
Congregation B'nai Israel
Elmira, NY


  • Build interfaith connections within the community
  • Provide tangible service to the community, through respite care for foster care parents.

InterFaith Works! provides a day of highly educational, entertaining and nurturing activities for foster care children, allowing parents time off to catch up, rest and renew themselves.

Preparation and Project Implementation:
Every other month, a day of activities is provided for 30-60 children, ages 4-16. Each of the participating congregations takes a turn hosting the program, planning the day’s events and providing a home-cooked meal. Funding for the program is covered by the Department of Social Services of the County, in addition to funds donated by congregations and vendors. The program works closely with the agency that runs the Foster Care program.

The InterFaith Works! Program includes:

  • Day trips, including an excursion to a local science museum; 
  • Arts and music programming; 
  • Cultural programming, including a program which "flew" the children to Japan, Zaire, and Israel to experience the foods, sights, music, language and cultural activities of each country.

InterFaith Works! has increased awareness of the foster care program, its needs and role. The program has gained wide support among foster care parents. Many of the children, while in foster care, are returnees. Strong, meaningful relationships have been built between returning children and volunteers. It has been strikingly moving to witness the levels of trust shared, and the impact these relationships have had not only on the children but the volunteer staff as well.