Posted by Doreen Higgins on Jul 17, 2017
Mary Fuller, the Executive Director of the Savannah area for the Lutheran Services of Georgia, told us on Wednesday morning about the services provided by this organization. Mary has a Masters in Social Work from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and has extensive experience working with families with newborns to teenagers.
The Lutheran Services of Georgia is based in Atlanta, and the Savannah office serves, in addition to Chatham County, the counties of Effingham, Bryan, Liberty, Bull, and to a more limited extent, Glynn and Camden. Its work is with children and families, and it has an enormous impact on children in need. This work encompasses family interventions, foster care, adoption, refugee services, disaster relief, and the search for host homes for people, especially children, with disabilities. The Lutheran Services, she emphasized to us, serves everyone irrespective of their faith. Funds are raised from United Way, private foundations, the community, churches and fund raisers.

Foster care and adoption are a major part of Mary’s work. “It takes a long time,” she said, “To set up an adoption; matching children and families is hard.” Many adoptive families want babies, so older children are harder to place. The myriad requirements of children with disabilities raise further obstacles – daily needs, medical issues, emotional barriers, education, even safety – all present barriers to fostering and adoption. Families willing to take a child with disabilities have to be trained to deal with him or her to avoid disruption from misunderstandings and fear. Documentation is also an issue with children who come to the US from other countries.

The Lutheran Service is also a national refugee service. Mary said, “One day we’ll be told they’re coming, then they’re here, and they need accommodation, they have to get a job, and maybe language or education, training or qualifications are lacking – we work with the school system and Savannah Tech to help as best we can.”

We realized that Mary has an unbelievably difficult task; she asked for volunteers to help with some of the tasks. We also were told there is a fund raiser, a golf tournament, in October. Any donations may be directed to a specific part of the work of the Lutheran Services of Georgia; it’s hard to imagine a more worthy cause or a more difficult task.

Come meet our members and listen to the message of our speaker. Our Wednesday morning (7:15 AM) meetings in August will be at the Marshwood Club. There is a $13 courtesy fee for the buffet. For more information, please contact President Toni Marwitz (598-4514) or go to our web site, or the "Skidaway Rotary" Facebook page.
Below is a photo of President Toni and Mary Fuller