For more than 20 years, CASA of Northwest Arkansas has been serving kids right here in our community who need someone to be an advocate on their behalf. Kids who are abused or neglected face many things that are hard for them to process. CASA volunteers come along side of those kids during a time when they most need someone to look out for them. Advocates help make sure the kids get to dental and medical appointments. They make sure that their home environment is safe. They check in with the school to see if there are any needs. Basically they serve as a voice for each child to make sure that the court orders for each child are being followed.
Several months ago I got to meet with the staff and house parents at Cookson Hills and hear about all that God has been up to. I also got to tour their beautiful property where kids come to heal. When you pull onto the property at Cookson you instantly feel peaceful. I spent the good part of a day there and had no desire to leave.
Home. It’s something that many of us take for granted. But for some, home is a dream that seems unobtainable. That's where Habitat for Humanity comes in. Since the first Habitat house was built in the early 1970's, more than 800,000 families now have a home.
They say that time is relative. The span of a lifetime is long, unless a lifetime is only 99 days. Matt and Ginny Mooney know how short 99 days is. It’s the number of days they got to share life with their first born son Eliot. In the course of 99 days the Mooney's became a family affected by disability and loss.
After becoming Eliot’s parents they felt God prompting them to provide a place where others facing disability could find hope and community. In 2007 99 Balloons was formed to provide a place of inclusion for everyone, no matter what diagnosis they were facing.
When I think back over my life about the things that have made the biggest difference to me mentoring is at the top of the list. The men and women who have poured into me through the gift of their time have shaped my life.
I always notice it when the temperature turns colder, the ringing in the air. I’m sure you’ve heard it too as you're trying to complete your Christmas errands. Maybe like me, you’ve dug cold fingers into your wallet looking for some change to drop into the Red Kettle. Its become as much of a Christmas tradition for me as putting up the tree and making cookies with the kids.
Sometimes pain can be the catalyst that God uses to completely change the course of our lives, and for Sammy that’s exactly what happened. Sammy lost her best friend since 3rd grade, Deborah, in 2012. Deborah had been adopted and Sammy wanted to do something to honor her memory that would help other foster kids like Deborah. That is how the DEB project was born.
When my grandmother was in her final days of life I was afraid to go see her. As a young woman I had never experienced the loss of a loved one and I didn’t know what to expect. But when I walked into her hospital room to say goodbye there was something that felt “right” about it, and although my heart was hurting it was also filled with peace. Death comes to all of us, and when it does come there is something comforting about having people beside you to help answer all of your questions and provide your family with the care they need.
For more than 15 years patients and their family members have turned to Circle of Life for care and comfort. It’s clear when you walk through the front doors at Circle of Life that patients and families come first. From the beautiful surroundings to the friendly staff you instantly feel welcomed and cared for.
The NWA chapter of The American Heart Association is making an impact in our community by changing the impact of heart disease. While we would all like to believe heart disease will never affect our lives, statistics prove that isn’t likely. Heart disease is the leading cause of death among Americans.
He was sent to the office because he had been caught stealing, but when they question him about the incident they realized he wasn’t a bad kid, he was a hungry kid.
The SnackPack for Kids Program Coordinator, Bonnie, was sharing with me an email she had received from a school counselor at a local high school. A teen boy had been sent to the office for stealing another kid’s lunch. As the counselor tried to get to the bottom of the story she realized that this was more than a disciplinary issue… it was a hurting kid who was scared of facing another weekend with nothing to eat. That’s where Bonnie and the team at Samaritan Community Center came in. Now, this young man doesn’t have to worry about where he’ll find food every weekend, because he’s being supplied with a weekly SnackPack every Friday.