Partners in Care is a group of denominations; Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Episcopal and United Methodist, contacted by the West Virginia National Guard State Chaplain for the initial purpose of assisting the Guard Chaplains in caring for members of the Guard and their families. The reason for this is that West Virginia has no regular military base like most states so when the Guard deploys or returns home there are not those services at a base where the Guard and families live like with regular active duty military in many states. There are several Guard chaplains but only one is full time so there is sometimes a need that cannot be met by the chaplains and the idea is to have churches available to help when asked.
After the denominations approved the Partners in Care idea then individual congregations sign a letter of agreement that basically says that when contacted by the State Chaplain, other Chaplains or one of Partners in Care (PIC) team they will render to the best of their ability the asked for assistance and while they may invite those being helped to their church they can not make participation in their church a requirement of that help.
Congregations are still being asked to sign up to be a PIC congregation and information on that can be obtained from the Lutheran representatives on the PIC team below.
After PIC began the team was meeting at the Guard with General Hoyer, who is their commanding General, when he asked us to help him with Challenge Academy, which is run by the Guard and is a 26 week in residency program for 16-18 year old WV youth who are in need of academic help, goal setting, life coping skills and other parts of growing into adulthood. During the program each student must have a mentor who will meet with them during the program, is trained by Challenge Academy and maintains a year long relationship with them after graduation and reports on progress regularly to the Challenge Academy. There is sometimes difficulty getting suitable mentors for the students and now PIC has also added this to their work with the Guard, when again asked to do so. You can find out more information about the Challenge Academy and mentoring from the Lutheran representatives and no letter of agreement is need for this part of PIC work.
The PIC team asks you if your congregation does not have a letter of agreement with PIC to do so and to also seek more information on mentoring and to volunteer to do so and help give our youth a second chance at life.