Most Impactful Board Member
Central Missouri Foster Care & Adoption Association

For most of us, a fender bender is a minor hassle in our day. However, for Tisha Spencer, owner of Firehouse Design, it was a life-changing experience when she backed into the car of a young lady with four kids inside. A few weeks later, this same lady walked into her Sunday school class at church. These two chance meetings with DeAnna Alonso would change Spencer’s life, and the life of foster families in this community, for the better.

Alonso, who was fostering her nieces and nephews at the time, was just starting a support group for foster parents in Jefferson City when she connected with Spencer, who had the idea to turn one of the rental properties Memorial Baptist Church owned into an office for the recently formed Central Missouri Foster Care & Adoption Association. It was a big idea that took a little convincing.

“We rallied the church to be able to use one of these rental houses for a bigger purpose. I kept thinking if we could just give them a little footing, we could help them grow,” says Spencer. “But then when you have an idea, it’s also your job to get it done.”

Spencer, along with her husband, Scott, and several volunteers, poured their time and physical labor into making the “little red brick house” a great start for CMFCAA. In 2009, Alonso moved into her new office and shortly after formed a board for CMFCAA. Spencer has served on the board for nine years now, a time that has included walking hand-in-hand through the organization’s tremendous growth from obtaining nonprofit status to renovating a second building to hiring 11 full-time staffers. Despite the growth, it continues to be a family affair.

“This has always been a family mission for us, including my husband and two girls,” says Spencer. “That’s true of all the staff. Our kids are serving alongside us and learning how important it is to help others, especially foster kids.”

When asked why she serves and her impact as a board member all these years, Spencer points to a higher power at work.

“I’m biblically called as a Christian to serve widows and orphans, and I’ve always had a heart for kids,” says Spencer. “I grew up with an amazing home life, including two parents to guide me along the way. When I think about kids who have lived through terrible situations and the possibility of never having a forever family . . .  how could I not help?”

The chance meeting with Alonso 10 years ago would change both of their lives. Both their growing friendship and Alonso’s transformative story touched Spencer’s heart forever.

“DeAnna’s personal story of abuse and entering into foster care and years of struggling impacted me so much,” says Spencer. “It made me want to help her help kids in the same situation. She’s meant so much to me. Her story is the real success story here.”

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