Real Stories

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Imagination Library

Dolly Partons’s Imagination Library for Faulkner, Van Buren and Perry Counties. This program is an early literacy program that sends an age appropriate book each month to a child from birth to age five free of cost. This helps our community have home support for parents and to improve school readiness

Bethlehem House

Bethlehem House seeks to encourage, equip, and motivate homeless and nearly homeless individuals and families to take the necessary steps to improve their life situations. Bethlehem House has a program called the Community Outreach Program. This program provides services to individuals living below the poverty level in our community. They serve a nightly soup kitchen and food pantry. They provide dinner which is nightly at 6:00 p.m. and the Soup Kitchen serves an additional 30-40 individuals nightly. The Outreach Program also provides showers and hygiene essentials to those in need.

Roxanne and Rocky are homeless. Without a stable place to live, they generally hop from one place to another. They've been living like this for the last few months. Roxanne is an amputee and in a wheelchair. Rocky has been looking for work, but it's been hard for him because of his background. Most nights, they come to Bethlehem House for a shower and a meal. They also come to see friendly faces and hear a word of encouragement. The services that Roxanne and Rocky are receiving from Bethlehem House are allowing them to still feel 'human' and have some dignity at this low point in their journey.

Women’s Shelter of Central Arkansas

The Women’s Shelter of Central Arkansas Inc. is Faulkner County’s only domestic violence emergency shelter. The Women’s Shelter of Central Arkansas provides a promise of hope, and a haven of safety for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in Faulkner County, Arkansas and surrounding areas.

Maggie and her two girls came into the shelter in July and were able to stay for two months. Her twin daughters that were with her were enrolled into school immediately after arriving. Maggie has a physical disability so she is unable to work, but is receiving disability checks. Her daughters were helpful to her and both got a job and helped provide financial assistance. Within two months, they both had steady jobs, Maggie was preparing to begin online courses for continuing her degree, and they had found an apartment through Conway Housing Authority. The shelter was able to help connect this family with resources in the community to assist them in transitioning out and furnishing their home.

Community Action Program for Central Arkansas(CAPCA)

The Community Action Program for Central Arkansas (CAPCA) is committed to educating eligible participants by providing quality services which empower lives, expand self-reliance and increase community involvement. CAPCA also has a program called the Emergency Food Assistance. The United Way Emergency Food program works together with The Emergency Food and Shelter Program to help fund their food pantry to provide supplemental food assistance to extremely low-income households.

There was a woman who came in, her husband had just passed, and she was having trouble with getting her Social Security situated. When she came in, she told the Food Pantry Coordinator that she had not eaten in almost 2 days because of her food allergies. We told her that the boxes had already been made but we could go through it, take out things she was allergic to, and replace the food items with something else. She sent us a note thanking the Food Pantry Coordinator and CAPCA for the service that we provided to her and she was extremely thankful that he took the time out of his day to make sure that she had the food items she needed and wanted and could actually eat.

Children’s Advocacy Alliance

Children’s Advocacy Alliance is to provide hope, healing and a voice of justice for abused and neglected children in our community. They have a program called CASA. This program is for our advocates to speak up for the kids in foster care to make sure that their voice is heard. These CASA advocates provide consistency and stability in time of turmoil. Without them, the children would linger in foster care and may not receive all of the services they need.

We were assigned to a case involving seven children. Their mother was killed and because there was no appropriate family at the time, they were placed in foster care. One child was placed with a grandmother, one child was placed with her father. leaving five children in care. The father of these five kids had a history of domestic violence with the biological mother of the children and had been in prison. Knowing the odds were stacked against him, he still fought to gain custody of his children. In the end, DHS and the ad litem were considering moving toward termination. The CASA advocate was the only person in the courtroom advocating for this dad to be given a shot to prove he would take care of his kids. The judge gave him a few more months and the dad did everything necessary to prove that he would do what it took to get his kids back. The case is closed with these five children happily placed with their dad and doing well. If the advocate hadn't been willing to stand alone in her recommendation, these kids might still be waiting on a forever family.

Boys and Girls Club of Faulkner County
The Boys and Girls Club is a place where kids go after school to play and wait for their parents. Their main goal is to inspire and empower all young people. They do this to help students realize their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens. The parents of Michael and Gabriel don't have any family in the area. They both work odd hours and split who can pick the boys up on which day. Michael and Gabriel are at the club every day and they stay almost till close every night. Without the club, the boys would go home to an empty house and fend for themselves. At the beginning of the school year, Gabriel was struggling with his temper and expressing his frustration. Each day our program director would check in with him, have him be a "helper", made sure he got his homework done and talked him through the things that upset him. Today Gabriel has become such a sweet club member. At the club they eat lunch, they work on their homework, they spend time with their friends, and most importantly they are safe with our staff. Their attendance relies, like 99.9% of our club members, on the club's ability to pick them up from school. Most people don't have the luxury of leaving their job to pick their kids up from school, our transportation system is a blessing they cannot afford to lose.
Faulkner County Council on Aging, Inc.

The Faulkner County Council on Aging, Inc. strives to identify and meet the nutrition, social, and transportation needs of senior adults. Our goal is to help them remain healthy, active, and independent thus enhancing their quality of life. Transportation is a key component in their mission. Faulkner County Council on Aging provides transportation from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (M-F). All of their buses, which are obtained at minimal cost to the program and the community through the AR Highway & Transportation Dept. are equipped with wheelchair lifts. They have provided this service for 43 years at no cost to the seniors.

One of the gentlemen that comes to the Conway Center, almost every day is legally blind. His wife still works and before he started coming to the Conway Center almost 3 years ago, he sat at home just listening to the television which he is unable to see. For the past 3 years we have transported him to our senior center in the mornings. He has a cup of coffee, exercises in the fitness center, visits with friends, enjoys music, and has a hot delicious lunch. He navigates beautifully within the facility, and when he needs help with something he has plenty of friends to guide him. He has also used the bus service to go to medical appointments. Without the Conway Center transportation service, he would still be sitting at home listening to his television.

Child Care Aware

Child Care Aware of North Central Arkansas wants to enhance the quality and availability of child care by advocating for children, families and providers, and providing support to parents, providers, employers and communities. Since July of 2012, their top priorities have been working with child care facilities to improve the quality of care and raise the professional bar.

Child Care Aware has helped Cradle Care with the Connecting With Infants curriculum. They have let Conway Cradle Care use the Adventures in Toddlers state certified curriculum for children 18 - 36 months resource center. The Child Care Aware made Cradle Care succeed more into the Connecting With Infants curriculum.

Community Service Inc.

The Community Service Inc. wants to be a  leader in providing quality services to youth and their families that will empower them to attain success in their homes, schools, vocations and communities. Their program Youth Mental Health Program includes many services that helps many youths in the community.

Allison began services when she was fourteen year-old after being arrested for bringing alcohol to school.She and younger brother had been adopted by her grandparents when she was three years old because of her parent’s drug abuse.  Although Allison had contact with her mother on and off throughout the years, her mother was in and out of prison due to an addiction. Allison’s grandparents were terrified that she was following in her mother’s footsteps.When work began with Allison she had problems with her anger, her attitude and an all around lack of respect for her grandparents. It did not take long for Allison to open up about how she felt about her situation at home, about her mother and about being bullied at school. As always, a team approach was used w/ Allison’s case and our intervention specialists took care of Allison in the school and even met with school officials and Allison to help resolve some of the problems she was having with being bullied. After, she was able to meet her mother in prison she started to improve more and more each day. Ten months later, CSI has proven that she is doing very well and that she only has to come once a month now.

Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship Fund

Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship Fund is to enable single parents to achieve self-sufficiency through post-secondary education. Their program provides financial and emotional support to local single parent who are seeking education and training to reach greater employment opportunities and provide better for their families. The Single Parent Fund of Faulkner Co. scholarships are often used for transportation, childcare, utility bills, rent, and books. Their students are taken seriously, encouraged and supported.

Marcia is the single mother of three daughters, two of whom have special needs. She received two single parent scholarships from the SPSF of Faulkner County, a United Way of Central Arkansas partner agency. In the year before her graduation, she supported herself and her three children on $27,000/year while working and going to school full time. She graduated in December with her nursing degree and is now supporting her family on a starting salary more than double her previous annual income.

Faulkner County Juvenile Court

The Faulkner County Juvenile Court wants to provide intervention to court-involved youth to prevent future delinquency, rehabilitate the juvenile, and empower the family to encourage positive, appropriate behaviors that will help the youth of our community to contribute to society on into adulthood. They have a program called Girl Scouting in Juvenile Court where they try to intervene in young girls lives to address the risk factors that often bring them to our court.

One of the participants has had problems with anger since she was very young. She came to the court through a school fight and continued to have conflict after her adjudication. She is in her second semester of Girl Scouts and has taken to heart the anger management portion of the curriculum. She has her Anger Management Plan (AMP) written down and carries it with her. Using this plan, she has an agreement at school with the administration that she can go to the office to put herself in "timeout." There have been no further fights and through journaling her anger she has identified targets and times that she was at fault, rather than the other person. She said that also she would not get to participate in the end of semester flag ceremony if she were suspended or incurred further delinquency charges.

Conway County Center for Exceptional Children, Inc.

Conway County Center for Exceptional Children, Inc. everyone to achieve their individual potential through the implementation of developmental and age appropriate activities designed to meet specific needs. They accomplish this by providing services to developmentally disabled preschool children in the area. They have a program called, “Step by Step”. this program provides services for children from birth to five years of age who experience developmental delays, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, mental retardation and/or autism. The Step by Step program is an integral part of the Perry County area. It is the only program for preschool special needs children in Perry County. It also serves the entire county by providing transportation for children to/from the Center daily.

A current Step by Step parent had gotten a call from an extended family member’s caseworker asked me if would be willing to take guardianship of 3 children, ages 2, 4, and 6 years old.We live in Perry County, Arkansas and I work in Little Rock at a major hospital. Even though I have a great support base locally, my nieces and mother all 3 work and/or attend college. I had no idea what I was going to do for childcare, nor how I would get all 3 children transported daily. Then I found The Center for Exceptional Children in Morrilton. They tested both boys for developmental delays and promptly let me know they have a “sister” center in Perryville that also provides transportation. With all of the worries our situation entailed (court dates, developmental delays, home accommodations), I have never worried about my boys during the day. I am able to drop them off in the morning as I bring their sister to the elementary school and the Step by Step van returns them in the afternoon to my adult niece until I arrive home. In addition, the onsite nurse ensures me that if the boys fall ill during the day I will know immediately; and the therapies the boys receive onsite keep me from worrying about the logistics of getting to and from different providers. I know that the children and I are extremely fortunate to be able to be part of the Step by Step family!

Community Connections

Community Connections has a program called Autism Resource Center of Arkansas. This program serves children and young adults with and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) their families, and the professionals who work with them. They have chose to focus on five prospects which are Educational Videos, Camp Connect, Sibshops/ Respite Care, Autism Resource Library, and Young Adults with Autism.

Jenna Belle, 13, has been attending Camp Connect for about 6 years now. Camp Connect is a week-long day camp for children with autism, in Conway, AR. It is run by an Occupational Therapist with student therapists as assistants. Camp Connect has given Jenna Belle a chance to truly connect with other children, learn of and share common interests and learn to build the relationships that she often struggles to develop. The friends she makes at Camp Connect have become some of her most treasured friendships. Now, when she sees these friends at other events, she no longer feels like a side-liner but like a participant in her own social life. As spring approaches each year, Jenna Belle begins to ask and get excited about that year’s Camp Connect.

Conway Cradle Care

Conway Cradle Care(CCC) empowers expectant/parenting adolescents by meeting the developmental needs of their children, providing opportunities to further their education, and encouraging independence through parenting and life skill mentoring. The CCC has a program called Adolescent Parent Mentoring Program that seeks to encourage and support adolescent parents to excel as students, independent parents, and active community members.  

Tyra moved to Conway in August 2017 with her 11 month old son. She had dropped out of her previous high school when she found out she was pregnant, and had only completed her high school education through the 10th grade. She was 19 years old, but wanted to return to high school and get her diploma! Tyra visited with the Conway High School counselors and enrolled in a nontraditional student program known as HUB. She would be able to complete 13 needed classes online at an accelerated pace. Her counselor introduced her to Conway Cradle Care for childcare services. She set goals with her Mentor during individual mentoring sessions, and worked hard towards achieving them. She set goals to get her Driver’s License, get a job, make new friends, and graduate high school. The CCC Mentoring Program Director (MPD) helped Tyra study for her driver’s test, and the CCC Executive Director took her to take the test. She passed! A volunteer tutor helped her create a resume during tutoring. She got a job the next week! Most importantly, Tyra worked diligently every day on her schoolwork in HUB, and she completed all her courses in March! She walked as a 2017 high school graduate!