Northwest Arkansas Children’s Shelter volunteer groups and individuals can help give abused and neglected kids “dream rooms” and an environment that facilitates the healing process.
In response to feedback from volunteer groups seeking to make more “permanent” contributions to and impressions on the children it serves, Northwest Arkansas Children’s Shelter has created an “Adopt-A-Room” Program.
This program provides civic, business and community groups an opportunity to “adopt” rooms within the Children’s Shelter, with the intent to surprise the kids, ease a fear, bestow a comfort, give a grin, create a positive environment, design rooms with a “home-like” feel, brighten up common areas and encourage the healing process.
So far, three rooms on the Teen Girls Wing have been transformed, and officials are ecstatic over the results. The program was developed by and is administered by volunteer coordinator Gretchen Laffoon.
“We want the children in our care to have positive experiences that will help counteract some of the negative circumstances they have experienced that may have played a part in bringing them to us,” said Steve Schotta, the Children’s Shelter’s Executive Director.
“And certainly, the atmospheres in their personal living spaces are critical. Our kids spend a lot of time in these rooms, and we want them to be inviting, appealing, comforting – and even fun – spaces that look and feel more homey than institutional. The results so far have been absolutely stunning. It has been amazing to see the products of our volunteer groups’ imaginations. And the response from our young ladies has been better than we could have hoped. They absolutely love these ‘dream rooms.’ It has done wonders to lift their spirits.”
Groups who participate in the NWACS Adopt-A-Room program agree to:
• Provide the labor to decorate their selected room(s).
• Provide all materials and supplies needed to complete the project.
• Work with the Volunteer Coordinator on scheduling and room needs.
• Allow the Children’s Shelter’s management staff to approve design/color choice in advance of the scheduled work day.
There are 23 rooms and several hallways in need of adoption. The basics already are in place. Groups adopting rooms may focus on fun and décor. Bedrooms have two beds, two desks (Boys’ Wing & Girls’ Wing only), two chairs and two chests-of-drawers. Living rooms have couches, chairs, tables, etc. Groups are encouraged to paint and provide decorative elements.
Groups or individuals seeking to adopt a room or obtain more information may contact volunteer coordinator Gretchen Laffoon via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.