Over the course of 40 years in the ministry, Tim and Kate Carpenter have given their lives to selflessly serving those in need.
Before retirement, Tim served as pastor of the Friendship Alliance Church in Callahan, Florida, while Kate, a folksinger and songwriter by trade, has dazzled audiences around the United States as “Mrs. Kate” with puppetry, unusual instruments, and riveting storytelling. Her performances motivate, educate, and entertain with the help of an interactive musical extravaganza.
Upon moving to Marion one year ago to be closer to their son and his family, the Carpenters knew that they wanted to continue to minister, albeit in a different manner.
“We were in ministry for so many years, and we felt like we wanted to get involved in a community outside of the church,” Kate said. “We wanted to step out of our comfort zone…and get involved in something more community based.”
Tim and Kate’s son, Will, and his wife, Jackie, have served as foster parents for many years, which kindled Tim and Kate’s involvement in serving the children of Grant County. A year after settling in Marion, CASA of Grant County came on their radar, and the duo jumped at the opportunity to serve.
“Watching our son and his family involved in foster parenting, and as a pastor, we saw some of the sorrow that goes through a lot of dysfunctional families, troubled families, and families in need, with the children caught in between like little ping pong balls,” Tim said. “We’ve always been open and sensitive to what transpires in those situations.”
After meeting with Executive Director Leslie Hendricks, agreeing to come abroad as volunteer CASAs, and being sworn in on March 18, Tim and Kate accepted their first case on March 24.
While the 30-day training session was difficult at times, Kate stated that it was invaluable to her and Tim in the early stages. Not only did it prepare them for the work they would be doing, but it shined a light on the entire process and their roles within it.
“That was kind of daunting…but when it was over, we were like, ‘Wow, we got through that! It wasn’t really that bad!’ We learned a lot,” Kate Carpenter said. “We thought the training was really, really good, and it totally prepared us for the case we are involved with right now. We learned a lot about policies, terminologies, and things we were just not aware of before – how the system works, the life of a case, do and don’ts, and rights and wrongs.
“We are trying to take all of that knowledge and apply it to what we are doing to our case.”
In the first chapter of their CASA tenure, the Carpenters have been focused on getting to know the four kids they are serving, working diligently to build trust and a rapport with them. Along with a once-a-month check-in with the children they have worked closely with the Department of Child Services to stay on top of developments in the cases, while looking to Hendricks for guidance throughout the process.
The essential work that CASA of Grant County performs for Marion and Grant County is challenging. Despite tough days, Tim and Kate have not regretted taking up the mantle as volunteer CASAs.
Now, they hope that others will follow in their footsteps.
“We are helping, in this case, four children, so that’s four children that needed help that weren’t getting help [before,]” and we are glad to be able to do that,” Tim said. “We are hoping…that more people say, ‘I can get involved to help at least one child in this county that might not have help.’”