LOUISVILLE, Ky. (KT) – The 10:18 Society, a student organization at Boyce College, partners with Orphan Care Alliance, a Kentucky-based ministry that equips Christians to care for vulnerable children and families, to provide life coaching for children in the foster care system. And because 10:18 Society members are volunteers, their ministry is invaluable.
“If you are a life coach, you are going to be the only unpaid adult in this child’s life,” said Logan Prettyman, president of the 10:18 Society and Life Coach Coordinator for Orphan Care Alliance. “Their therapists are paid, their staff are paid, their foster parents are paid – and they are very aware of that.”
Life coaches can love and support foster children in a unique way specifically because their time is volunteered, Prettyman said, adding that he believes that special relationship is “absolutely needful” in light of the trauma children experience when they are removed from the home.
“A life coach, who is going to be that person seeking to develop them relationally and spiritually, they know this person’s not getting paid,” he said. “They’re not getting anything out of it. They just love me and want what’s best for me. (Foster children) don’t have any other relationship except a life coach that can do that.”
After an interview process with 10:18 Society leadership and Orphan Care Alliance staff, Boyce College life coaches attend training and are paired with a child of the same gender who is between 12 and 21 years old, and approximately six years younger than the volunteer.
“Twelve is where your chances of adoption plummet and then 21 is when you go into independent living,” Prettyman said.
While life coaches at the 10:18 Society commit to at least one semester with a child, the goal is to mentor that individual until he or she ages out of the foster care system.
“We want to be developing their skills, their social abilities, their spiritual lives, and share the Gospel with them for the purpose of their salvation, if we can,” Prettyman said. “We really want our life coaches to be intentional and pursuing (the) real development of these children.”
Prettyman gives new life coaches a journal to record their child’s strengths, weaknesses, goals that they set together, and other information to facilitate intentional relationships. Life coaches spend at least one hour once a week with their child in conditions set by each individual group home or foster home. But they can choose to invest more time.
The Gospel and personal experience with adoption have shaped Prettyman’s passion for life coaching and caring for those who have broken relationships with their families – or who have lost their parents all together.
As a child, Prettyman was inspired by the story of George Muller, a pioneer of orphan care in 19th century Bristol, England, who impacted the lives of more than 10,000 orphans in his lifetime. Then Prettyman’s family adopted three of his siblings from Ukraine.
“Because we were brought into God’s family out of complete grace, we should have hearts of gratitude for that,” Prettyman said. “And if we have hearts of gratitude and really show the fruits of the Spirit, that looks like doing the same thing for those who haven’t been brought into God’s family, but also haven’t been brought into any family.”
For Prettyman, the security of adoption in Christ should lead believers to “model His character of steadfast love and faithfulness to other people, and especially those who don’t have biological parents to care for them.”
The 10:18 Society at Boyce College started out as a student organization dedicated to orphan care but has since expanded to include sidewalk counseling outside one of two abortion clinics in Kentucky and an initiative starting pro-life conversations on the University of Louisville campus.
Prettyman said the organization’s mission is shaped by Deuteronomy 10:18, the group’s namesake: “He executes justice for the orphan and the widow. He loves the sojourner.”
“We are the pro-life organization that essentially wants to care for people from womb to tomb,” he said. “I think orphan care is a big way of how we continue caring for the vulnerable and the voiceless child and (being) pro-life.”
To learn more about life coaching, visit orphancarealliance.com. Follow the 10:18 Society on Facebook and Instagram for more information on its ministries.