The CALL Support Center

pictureA year ago, this coming November, we met with representatives from Mercy Hospital to discuss the potential use of one of their properties. Right across from Central Mall in a quite, tree lined neighborhood, they owned three houses. They were originally kept for visiting doctors to stay in but one property wasn’t in use any longer. They affectionately called this house on Ellsworth Road, the Baggot Street House. Named after the original property in Dublin, Ireland which was a refuge for distressed women and which later became the Convent of Mercy.

They told us how, in the 1800’s, Catherine McAuley was gifted the property and began to use it to care for the poor in southeast Dublin. She taught disadvantaged children, nursed the sick and housed needy women in her community. The Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy grew out of Catherine’s work and in the 1980’s interest in the original house increased and the Sisters of Mercy began an international restoration project. Today, Catherine’s spirit lives on in The CALL Support Center, or as our friends from Mercy call it, the Baggot Street House, right here in Ft Smith.

Mercy wanted to continue Catherine’s original work of providing for the disadvantaged. They reached out to The CALL because they knew we were already working with some of the most disadvantaged in our community, children and youth in foster care. They wanted to provide a a clean and safe place for DHS to conduct visitations between children and their families. A collaboration between Mercy, DHS and The CALL was born, that would allow us to have our office space and The CALL Mall in one location while we would provide upkeep and furnish the house for visits.

We moved in last November and began to schedule visits in January of 2019. So far, we have had over 100 visits! The response we get from the

visiting families is that they are happy to have a space that feels like home. They come in, hang out in the backyard, make a cup of coffee and even cook breakfast while they visit with their children. Some children come to visit with their biological families and they come with their foster family to get diapers or frozen meals from The CALL Mall. This helps the children feel comfortable and secure, in a familiar place.

Our partners at DHS also enjoy the Support Center, Michelle Tenny, PA said,

“Before places like The Call, we were having visits at the DHS office, fast food restaurants, and parks. These places did not allow for quality family time. Parents are more comfortable and prefer The Call. I’ve noticed they are more confident with their parenting skills while in a home setting and have more opportunities for learning parenting skills. I’ve also noticed kids are more comfortable. In short, The Call is a wonderful place and has helped this community enormously. I know that I am extremely grateful for this home and the wonderful ladies that work there.”

The CALL Support Center also provides a way for churches, individuals and businesses to directly impact their community. By volunteering or donating you can directly be a part of what The CALL, Mercy and DHS are doing to help disadvantaged children, youth and families in our community. The work of The CALL is 100% privately funded and largely done through volunteers. If you would like to know more about what we do, I encourage you to attend our 7th Annual Restoring Hope Fundraiser Banquet on October 3rd.

For registration information contact crawfordsebastian@thecallinarkansas.org

AUGUST UPDATE FROM THE CALL COORDINATOR

UPDATE FROM THE CALL COORDINATOR
Last week I took my children to the swimming pool, and one of our foster moms was there with her children and a toddler who is currently in her home. We had been there for about an hour when a mom and elementary-aged boy came through the gate to swim. I saw the little boy spot the foster mom from a distance. He ran over to her and gave her a big hug and called her “Aunt”. I knew he wasn’t her biological nephew, so I deduced he must have been in her home at some point in time. This little boy had been in her home; he had been placed in foster care at birth and hers was the first home he knew. I am so thankful to report that he was reunified with his mother and has been with her for years.
For the next couple of hours, I watched as this little fella swam and played and hollered, “Mom, watch this! Aunt, watch this!” I saw a mom who was genuinely excited to see the woman who cared for her newborn baby. What started years before as a person in dire need of help and change crossing paths with someone willing to help in a deep and sacrificial way, was now a mutual friendship. The two ladies pulled their chairs beside each other and caught up on life. Two moms at the pool with their kids, enjoying each other’s company and catching up on life.
When I left that day, I felt an overflowing joy in my heart. Not all stories unfold as this one has, but I am grateful that the story for this mom and boy has been one of healing and reunification. It is the Lord’s mercy and grace shown through a foster family willing to care for a child and minister to his mother faithfully, no matter how the story unfolded.
– Amanda Bush
Cleburne County Coordinator

Back to School Ready

On August 4, we had some wonderful, generous people donate their time, talents and facilities to get our families ready for back to school with haircuts, manicures, pedicures and gift certificates.  Thank you to the people who made this happen!

  • Becky Bird, Organizer – State Beauty
  • Krystal Cox – Top Notch
  • Omar Elorza Soriano – About Face & Hair
  • Sonya Harmon – About Face & Hair
  • Lauren Veazey
  • Theresa Thomas – Y’all Come Back Salon
  • Shelly Boyd – Hot Springs Sports Medicine
  • Jeffrey Jester
  • Judith Klinbeil

10th Anniversary Family Reunion

The CALL in Saline & Perry Counties celebrated 10 years of serving in our community with a ‘Family Reunion’ for families who have fostered or adopted from foster care, volunteers, and supporters.  We enjoyed a meal of fried chicken or crawfish boil (from Riverside Grocery), green beans donated by Gina’s Catering, desserts from our local churches, soft drinks from Coca Cola, and water bottles from Big Red Stores.

Sack races, inflatables from Midtowne Church, face painting, baggo and other activities provided entertainment while parents visited & enjoyed a pleasant evening!

The CALL is thankful for the response to the foster care crisis in our community with:

  • 632 Families attending Information Meetings to learn about foster care
  • 272 Families completing the required training to foster or adopt
  • 195 Families opening their homes to children in foster care
  • 141 Children adopted into their forever families
  • Hundreds of children fostered by families recruited by The CALL

THANK YOU to our sponsors who made the event possible:

 

Annual Sponsors:

Crawfish Boil