Monday, March 31, 2008

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Oprah's Big Give: Utah
Last Update: 3:07 pm
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Every Sunday night, Oprah challenges people to make a difference. And that “Big Give” attitude is hitting Utah! ABC 4 is teaming up with community volunteers to change someone’s life. We’re surprising someone who’s paying it forward without expecting anything in return! See what happens Sunday night after Oprah’s Big Give on ABC 4 News at 10.
OUR COMMUNITY PARTNERSWe couldn't do it without them! Here are just some of the great companies and people volunteering their time, money and services. Another reason ABC 4 is proud to say "this is where we live!" Start your home on the right Foote!
MEET THE THILL FAMILY...ALL 16 OF THEM! John and Cayce Thill have two biological children, have fostered 32, and adopted ten from foster care. Many of these children have special needs due to neglect, abuse or drug addiction. The Thill’s have a positive impact on both the child from foster care and the birth parent. Cayce personally works with birth parents who are struggling, teaching parenting and coping skills to help them get their children back. Recently, the Thill’s returned an 18-month old baby to her mother and continues to support the mom by babysitting while she is at work or needs a break. As foster parents, John and Cayce understand the importance of finding time to re-charge individually as well as spend quality time together as a family. This can be difficult with the demands of a large family and limited resources. So John came up with the idea of a week long Foster Family Retreat funded by private donations. He worked with the Utah Foster Care Foundation and the first retreat was launched in the fall of 2003 at BYU Aspen Grove where John works as a chef. The camp was a huge success and has become an annual event with over 400 people who are able to attend. One family says this retreat helped their child from foster care to finally bond and open up to the family. Another says the retreat allowed them to re-charge and helped them decide to re-license as foster parents. The Thill’s are providing what children in foster care throughout Utah need the most: families who will keep brothers and sisters together, adopting children from a variety of cultural backgrounds and supporting birth parents who are working to have their children returned to them. How do their two biological children feel about all this? Their 15-year old Kodey says she didn’t realize just how much she could love until these children came into their home. And Josh has a soft spot for his younger siblings, allowing his 3-year old sister to call him “Joshy,” which is not acceptable by any other friend or family member. The Thill’s dream is to have a dining area and table large enough that all 16 members of the family can sit down and eat dinner together.

'Oprah's Big Give' helps Orem foster family

Reported by: Barbara Smith Last Update: 9:30 am
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OREM, Utah (ABC 4 News) - Oprah Winfrey’s new show, Oprah’s Big Give, challenges ten contestants to make dreams come true for total strangers. She challenged ABC 4 to do the same in our own community, taking ten-thousand dollars from Oprah, and making it so much more! So, the first order of business was to find and organization, project, or person doing something extraordinary in Utah who could really use some help. We received hundreds of truly great ideas. After careful consideration the winner was the Thill family, nominated by the Utah Foster Care Foundation of Utah! John and Cayce Thill have two biological children and have adopted fourteen from the foster care program…but that’s not all…over the years they have been the foster parents of 32 children! When the Utah Foster Care Foundation asked them what they wanted more than anything else, they asked for enough space and a big enough table to accommodate their very large family. (Right now, they have a fold up table that they put up and down for every meal. They have to move living room furniture to get everybody to the table at one time.) They believe that a family that eats breakfast, and dinner, together can work through just about any problem. Studies back up their intuition. It has been shown that families that dine together have fewer problems with drug abuse and the children get better grades! In the coming days you will see more of the Thill family as many people in our community come together to make their simple but meaningful wish a reality. People interested in learning more about how to become a foster parent and adopt from the foster care program can visit the Utah Foster Care Foundation’s web site at For more information on Oprah's Big Give: Utah, go to this link.

1 comment:

Shane said...

You and your wife bring to me new meaning of the scripture John 15:12-13 "...Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." Thank you.