Jay Bailey’s selfless commitment to improving lives of children captured the attention of Cingo. We are proud to award Jay our Circle & Shield award, the Cingo way to honor the quiet heroes in our community.
In 2010, Jay Bailey’s heart was full. He was comfortably settled in a world that revolved around his two healthy daughters and his beautiful wife Kathy, who had recently learned her rare cancer was finally in remission. While there were certain to be trials ahead, Jay was ready for a new challenge.
How could he best give back to a world that had so blessed him and his family?
This desire to give back was stirring in Kathy’s heart, too, and the couple quickly came together on what this new challenge would be: Better the lives of children through foster care. It’s a challenge they’ve embraced together, with the support of many, and a journey that led to a Laurens County-based branch of Families 4 Families, founded in Loganville in 2012.
“Our No. 1 priority is to introduce children to a normal, loving environment,” says Jay, who played an important role in establishing Families 4 Families to serve foster children in Laurens County and 17 other area counties. An inadequate number of approved foster families in the area meant that children were sent to other regions of the state. “We’re trying to keep kids from losing their parents, siblings and everything that is familiar, down to the school system. We are recruiting faith-based families here that will take sibling groups and keep their lives as stable as possible.”
It’s a mission supported by a cast of many. Lewis Miller, executive director of the Laurens County Families 4 Families, spends hours every week speaking to area churches to recruit families willing to go through the process of becoming an approved foster family. On-going support is provided by Families 4 Families founder Wayne Naugle from his base in Loganville. Lewis’s wife, Jill Miller, a registered nurse, is a case manager for the organization.
And Kathy rallies volunteers to keep the clothes, infant supplies, toys and, eventually, casseroles in stock to make accepting foster children as easy as possible, especially on the first day.
“What we noticed when we started bringing children into our home is that they came with what they had on their back, nothing more,” says Kathy, whose family has welcomed numerous foster children into their home, including two half-brothers that she and Jay adopted. “Since its inception, Families 4 Families shared the vision of supporting foster families from Day 1. Your very first night can be consumed by a Walmart run, and nobody has time to plan for dinner. We want to provide whatever help we can.”
Families 4 Families is in its fourth month of operations in Laurens County, and already has 13 children placed with five local families. All of them sibling groups.
“Lewis is out there telling the churches we’re open for business,” Jay says. “All the pieces are falling into place.”
Meet Jay’s family: Jay and Kathy are in the center of this photo, taken by Final Touch Photography in Dublin, Georgia. Jay and Kathy’s children are, from left, biological daughter Tinsley, 15, with adopted daughter Naudiah, 2, on her lap; adopted sons Colby, 10, and Brendon, 6, who are half-brothers; and biological daughter Jaycie, 13.
About Circle & Shield
Cingo means to surround and secure — to protect. That’s what we do. And we have a lot of respect for those who take it upon themselves to make protection a part of what they do, too. That’s why we’ve launched Circle & Shield, our award to a member of the community who helps make the world a better place, a safer place.
Click here to nominate someone for Cingo’s Circle & Shield. We'll do the rest.