HERMON, N.Y. (WWTI) — September celebrated Kincare Awareness Month, and New York State’s Kincare Coalition recognized foster families.

This was through the annual CURA Awards, which honor kinship families in the state. A kinship family is a form of foster care where close relatives or friends open their homes to at-risk children.

The Morin’s, who call St. Lawrence County home, was the only family in the Northern and Central New York regions to receive a CURA Award.

Donald and Wendy Morin have lived in the North Country for 27 years, but 15 months ago, their lives changed forever when they made the decision to provide kincare for their three grandchildren.

“We didn’t think twice,” Donald Morin said.

“We just wanted to make sure they were safe, secure, and have an environment they can feel safe in,” Wendy Morin added.

Their grandchildren, ages eleven, nine, and almost eight challenged them with new obstacles. Donald also fell severely ill for several months.

However, as stated by Avery Sharlow, the Morin’s Case Planner from Fostering Futures of St. Lawrence County, their priorities never changed. This is why Sharlow nominated the family for a CURA Award this year.

“Donald and Wendy have known the family their whole life. They raised one of the parents, so that’s a big thing for them,” Sharlow explained. “I think that they generously just deserved [the award] all-in-all. Their selflessness is just them in one piece. They didn’t really think about it. They just said yes.”

This decision, according to the Morin’s, has been encouraging and has marked only the beginning of their journey in supporting the foster care system.

Both Wendy and Donald agreed that after their grandchildren are reunited with their parents, they will open their home to more foster children in the future.

“It’s inspired us because children need help,” Donald shared. “There’s a lot of children out there that don’t get it. I’m hoping this will be our legacy… taking care of foster children.”

Wendy added, “Yeah. Just instilling them with what they need and giving them pride in themselves.”