Northwest Arkansas Children’s Shelter volunteer groups and individuals now can help give abused and neglected kids “dream rooms” to help create 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.”
Benefits of adopting a room
In addition to being an excellent group opportunity that promotes team-building, leadership and creativity, sponsorship benefits of adopting a room include:
- Group name recognition in NWA Children’s Shelter Main Lobby.
- Recognition in the Children’s Shelter’s newsletter, annual report, website and/or social media outlets (Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, etc.).
- Photos and information for volunteer groups to include in their public relations materials.
- Volunteer groups will be invited, but not required, to assist with any upgrades to their adopted room(s) (e.g. painting, furnishing, etc.)
Requirements for adopting a room
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.
What rooms/areas need to be adopted?
Groups may adopt one or multiple rooms, depending on their interest. Available areas include:
- Boys’ Wing (ages 5-12): Six bedrooms and the living room.
- Girls’ Wing (ages 5-12): Six bedrooms and the living room.
- Teen Girls’ Wing (ages 13-17): Three bedrooms and the living room.
- Infant & Pre-school Wing (birth to age 5, boys and girls): Eating area, hallways and two therapy rooms.
- On-site School: Hallways.
- On-site counselor’s office and conference room.
What can groups do in the rooms?
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. Here are some ideas:
- Basic paint (on all walls or an accent wall – calming colors, please).
- Decorative paint (murals, stripes, etc.).
- Decorative applied vinyl wall art.
- Crown molding.
- Window treatments.
- Decorative wall art/accents.
- New bedding.
- Area rugs.
- Clamp lights/night lights.
- Clothing hampers.
- Storage bins/containers.
- Additional furnishings (such as beanbag chairs or other plush seating options).
How to adopt a room
Groups/individuals seeking to adopt a room or obtain more information may contact Volunteer Coordinator Gretchen Laffoon at firstname.lastname@example.org or 479.795.2417, ext. 315. Additional information is available at www.nwacs.org.
About Northwest Arkansas Children’s Shelter
The Northwest Arkansas Children’s Shelter is a private, non-profit organization that provides 24-hour emergency residential care to children and teens from throughout Arkansas who are victims of abuse or neglect. The 48-bed Children’s Shelter, which currently serves about 500 children per year, has served more than 6,600 children since opening its doors at Vaughn (southwest of Bentonville) in 1993. Children may stay up to 45 days in a six-month period, until they can be placed in foster care or return to their families. For more information, visit www.nwacs.org.