During the past 11 years, Allan Folmar has spent every Friday night dedicated to the homeless youth population in King County. He has worked with homeless children and teens, providing them with food, blankets, and referrals to other agencies, friendship, and counseling. He has also been a volunteer chaplain with the County’s Sheriff’s office, as well as with the Renton Police and Fire Departments, the Tukwila Police and Fire Departments, King County Fire District 20 Fire Department, the Boeing Fire Department, and the Sea-Tac Airport Disaster Response Team. There, he aids victims and survivors at accident and crime scenes, provides care and comfort to families of people who have just died, makes difficult death notifications to families, diffuse confrontations, and counsels law enforcement and fire personnel.
Folmar works with the Fishermen’s Club, which just went independent after being under the umbrella of the Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission for many years. Under existing Washington State law, it is difficult for an agency to provide a bed for the night to anyone under the age of eighteen. Folmar and his team see children as young as age ten homeless, so they carry cell phones and referral phone numbers for drug and alcohol intervention agencies and halfway houses. He and his fellow volunteers offer food and blankets along with hope.
The hope that Folmar offers is an opportunity to change their lifestyles. Many of the children who live in the street have been sexually, physically, or verbally abused at home. Others are children whose parents deemed them out-of-control and gave up on them and have had them removed from the home. Allan works to make all the youth feel comfortable. He is a considerate and calm influence to young people who are used to suspicious glances from most adults, hostility, and the danger of the streets.
In addition to volunteering with the street ministry, Folmar works full time as a volunteer chaplain serving as one of the nine volunteer chaplains with the King County Sheriff’s Office, and serving with two other chaplains with the other departments listed above.