A Volunteer’s Journey

Any and all non-profits have to have passionate volunteers! And one of our most amazing volunteers is our very own Keith Jones! Keith and his wife Natasha have 7 children(yes all biological!) and they live here in Little Rock. They do so much for this organization and they are proof that we can all do something to help!

“My journey with The CALL started with being added to a prayer team back in the Fall of 2007 after a presentation at my church. The next Spring an email asking for volunteer trainers caught my attention, and was quickly affirmed by my wife. We had 3 kids under 3 and did not feel God calling us to foster or adopt at that time, but I was a trainer at work so this was an opportunity to use my gifts for the ministry. I faithfully trained 2-3 weekends a year for the next 4 years and in the process started to help Michelle Douglas coordinate the trainings. When Michelle joined the Statewide CALL shortly after its launch, I officially became the Training Coordinator for The CALL of Pulaski County.

Training and coordinating training has allowed me to see how God’s plans are greater than our plans. Shortly before I started volunteering as a trainer, I began a Masters degree in Instructional Systems to increase my knowledge in developing training and understanding how people learn. I thought I was doing this to help my career, but I have since moved into more of a project management role at work and have found that I use the things I learned in my role as training coordinator, helping train new trainers, at our yearly summit meetings, and in other ways. God has also blessed my family by helping our kids see the needs of other families and the value of serving others. It has not always been easy and my wife Natasha can tell stories of hard weekends with the kids as the enemy attacked her patience as I was away training, but God has been faithful to use this to shape us in ways we never could have imagined.”

 

-Keith Jones Our PRIDE Training Coordinator

Family waiting room revamp!

There are endless opportunities to serve and help out the community that supports foster/adoption.  Austin and Mandy Carter lead a team from their church, Sylvan Hill Community, to renovate the southwest DHS office’s family waiting room. This is an area that many children and families pass through on a day to day basis. They saw an opportunity to provide a need ofr families and they jumped on it! The reason? Here’s  why!
“We believe that as the church we are all called to “do something.” We cant all Foster/Adopt, but we can all do something. With the ultimate goal of reunification in the for front, what a great way show some love and support to the families that pass through the door, and to make a sometimes hard visit a little more inviting. Our hope for this room is hope. That is the design behind the “Dream Big” theme. The two rooms we have renovated were not in the best shape, with hand-me-down toys and furniture. We believe this can play a role in the interaction between the parents and children. We hope that the renovated rooms can spark a little hope for the future, and not for just the families, but also impacting the staff that walks by this room everyday.” – Austin and Mandy Carter

CALL Mall needs

”We started the CALL Mall at Central in a closet over 10 years ago in an effort to be more like the early church and share with those in need. It has been such a huge blessing to see people give what they can and and then to see others benefit greatly from that gift. About 3 years ago, our CALL Mall burned to the ground, and it seemed such a daunting task to start it up again. But God blesses us with volunteers and a large enough space to make our CALL Mall better than its ever been before, and more accessible to those who need it. God has blessed us with a great opportunity and we are so thankful for it!” -Tammy Beck one of our CALL Mall coordinators

 

Our CALL Malls are always in need of donations and helping hands. This is such a huge resource for our families whenever they get placements. Here is a list of things that are the biggest need right now and information on where to donate!

  • Boys Shirts (Long sleeve and warm for winter!) – Size 5-8
  • Everyday/tennis shoes boy and girls size youth 1-6Items that need to be new. Please no used items
  • Underwear, panties, socks, pajamas, diapers, wipes, pull-ups, toothbrushes, toothpaste, hairbrushes, soap.
  • And volunteers to come help sort and organize!!!

 

 

Local Churches Revitalize DCFS Visitation Rooms

Few things are as impactful to reunification as visitation times. These are the moments when a biological parent or sibling can see their family with whom they have been separated due to the child entering DCFS custody. Most of these visits happen within DCFS offices in an assigned “visitation room”.
Due to the huge impact these visitation rooms can have on family reunification, two local churches have revamped the visitation rooms at Pulaski County DCFS’ offices.
We want to say a HUGE thank you to Sylvan Hills Community Church and Sylvan Hills Church of Christ for meeting this need in such an incredible way!
The following article was published by the Arkansas Democrat Gazette by Paper Trails columnist Sean Clancy:

“At the Arkansas Department of Human Services office on East Washington Street in North Little Rock, there is a room where children in foster care meet with their biological parents during supervised visits. It’s called the visitation room.

Every time Morgan Adams went there, the state of the space left her dejected.

“I thought, ‘My goodness, this is where children hang out with their parents, and it’s not OK,'” says Adams, 38, who lives in North Little Rock with her husband, Scott, their three children and their 9-month-old foster son. “It was very dirty with piles of toys and a couch that shouldn’t even be on a street corner.”

Although the room is a place for families to engage and connect, sometimes parents don’t show up.”Not only are the children left feeling sad and rejected, but then they’re in a gross room,” Adams says. “Our thought was that we can’t control the parents’ choices, but we can control the environment to an extent and the aesthetic impact it has on a child.”

Adams wanted to do something. As she was talking to friends about what steps to take, she learned of a plea from The Call, a faith-based group that works with adoptive and foster families, to fix up the room.

“I instantly replied that I would do it,” says Adams, a member of Sylvan Hills Church of Christ. “I knew I could get people to help, whether it was my church family or my family and friends.”

She started a registry at Amazon.com for items to spiff up the room — things like a TV, DVD player, a play kitchen, table, chairs, games, toys, a wall-mounted hand sanitizer station and a new sofa. Almost everything was bought within a couple of days, she says.

New floor tiles were installed, the walls got a fresh coat of paint and on Aug. 2, volunteers redecorated the area. A second visitation room was to be fixed up Saturday by volunteers from Sylvan Hills Community Church.

Adams hopes that the project influences others who want to lend a hand.

“Funding for these types of things is not there, and this is a group of people really overwhelmed with cases. They don’t have the time to reach out for help. I think that should be on us, on church groups and community groups to step up and say, ‘How can we help you?'”

Working with the state as a foster parent has also given Adams a greater appreciation for what caseworkers do.

“I have a whole new level of empathy for what they are dealing with every day,” she says. “They are literally in the trenches. They’re doing really heavy stuff, and it’s been a joy for me to get to know the people working in that office and to take on some of their perspective.””

You can read the full article here.

 

While the article was published before the second room was completed the following week, Sylvan Hills Community Church completed an incredible revamp as well (see pictures below)! We want to thank both Sylvan Hills Community Church and Sylvan Hills Church of Christ for their incredible work!

 

Visitation Room #1

Sponsored by Sylvan Hills Church of Christ

Image may contain: indoorImage may contain: indoorImage may contain: living room and indoor 

Visitation Room #2 

Sponsored by Sylvan Hills Community ChurchImage may contain: indoor

The Byerleys: God’s Approval

“To those trying to make a decision about fostering and/or adopting, I would like to share our experience in brief.  My wife and I were told about The Call and went to a meeting at a church.  At the meeting we got the information and the opportunity to put our foot forward in the direction of opening our home to the orphaned children in Arkansas.  We soon realized in the training the seriousness and severity of the situations leading to a child being placed in foster care.  We became aware that this was going to be more of a ministry that requires God’s help.  Once we began with our first placement we felt an almost indescribable assurance of God’s approval and blessing.  We soon found out the common goal of all was to reunite these kids back to their parents….We may foster and/or adopt more but what I like is the fact that we made the decision based on what we can do and what God wills us to do.  We’ve learned it takes courage to make this decision but ultimately it is God’s approval that really matters.  I hope our example helps and encourages you in this great endeavor.” -Jeffery