From May, 2009

The number of people homeless in NW Arkansas has grown +10% since 2007…

It is estimated that on any given night approximately 1,287 adults and youth in Benton and Washington Counties are homeless.

Click on the image below to download a copy of the 2009 NW Arkansas Point-In-Time Census

For ways to help there are amazing organizations working to end homelessness.  May we recommend…

Seven Hills Homeless Shelter

all are welcome to visit the Cobblestone Project Green Room for discussion

The Cobblestone Project in partnership with JustOne is currently holding Laundry Love Projects in Rogers & Fayetteville the first Friday of every month.  Opportunities to volunteer are plentiful.

Made possible by The Community and Family Institute located in the University of Arkansas Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice and the United Way.

Link to KNWA News Story:  http://nwahomepage.com/content/fulltext/?cid=93421


Thank you so much for such a valuable resource.

For more information please contact:

Kevin M. Fitzpatrick Ph.D., Director

Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice
University of Arkansas
Old Main 321
Fayetteville, AR 72701
Email: kfitzpa@uark.edu | Twitter:  @kmfitzpat
Telephone: 479-575-3777
Fax: 479-575-7981
Web Page: http://sociology.uark.edu/4241.php

The power of one…

The following email was receieved in response to our “Deeply Saddened” posting regarding comments as to the ability of one person to make a meaningful difference in our community.

With permission from Terri Rose, I asked if we could post these comments because I feel there is power and truth in her words.  Truth that one person can really make a difference for others that can mean life or death.


From Terri Rose,

I wanted to add my sentiment to your Cobblestone Project update about the interview in the paper.

I work for the Arkansas Crisis Center, as the Public Relations Coordinator.  We operate the states only 24/7 suicide hotline.

I don’t think that most people realizes what one time, or one chance opportunity to volunteer can mean to someone else.

As for our organization and what we do, that one person that answers our phones as a volunteer, might be the only one person that has taken the time to show they care, and in turn save a life.

For us, one shift of 3-4 hours might sometimes save up to 4 or 5 lives, literally.

Our mission is to restore hope, empower people, and save lives. I personally have spent a Christmas morning volunteering at Seven Hills with my 3 children, and I can’t express you the gratitude and humbleness I saw in those individuals there that morning.

I don’t normally speak out on posts, but the message you’re talking about hits close to home for me. It really irritates me that someone would so carelessly make a comment in print that would effect someone else’s perception of volunteering at any local organization.

Sure the problem is bigger than one person, but if we all stand up and lend a hand, it will improve it overall.

Okay…….off my soapbox.


Did you catch that?  Four or Five lives potentially saved in one three to four hour shift…unbelieveable and inspiring. 

Their call center receives over 5,000 calls a year. 

Wait, 5,000 calls a year? 

That’s a whole lot of pain, but the comfort and help that is provided is all volunteer driven.  That means it is people helping people, or one person helping one other person.

I would say that the power of one person being available to answer a phone is worth a tremendous amount.  Afterall, how can we possibly count the cost of one life that is saved? 

You can’t…you simply can’t.

Thank you to Glad Manufacturing Plant in Rogers!

It was a beautiful day at the Glad Manufacturing Plant in Rogers today as The Cobblestone Project was the beneficiary of Glad’s community investment grant to help sustain Laundry Love Project and expand Shear Kindness.

It has been so exciting to see both of these programs grow as they have touched so many people since they started in Sept 2008.  And now it’s even more exciting to see the community rally around them in support.

Currently, Laundry Love Project is providing approximately 250 people a month with clean clothes, meals and friendship. At the same time, Shear Kindness has given the gift of love, dignity and respect to approx. 50 women and children.

Thanks to the Glad team for making that possible…we are humbled and encouraged by your incredible generosity.

Deeply saddened (ref: NWANews Article – An Inspirational force to believe in)

We were was glad to hear that the Benton County Daily Record was running a series on homelessness in NW Arkansas. It’s a huge issue that needs our attention as a community, and so we’ve been anxious to read the stories since the series started.

There was a particular quote in today’s article NWANews.com “An inspirational force to believe in” that deeply saddened us though.

Mr. Mac Childs, who we feel is doing some good work, made the following statement:

 

“Some might gain satisfaction by donating one day of the year serving around the holidays,” Childs said. “But that’s not what (uprooted homeless folks) are looking for. You can’t help the homeless through The Salvation Army or Seven Hills. That’s just bureaucracy. It’s a setup like a Band-Aid and a joke.”

The reason we are saddened and even bothered by this quote is that we struggle to see how this is beneficial to the stated cause and am afraid that it can actually work against those that are helping people? We are deeply worried that it only hurts the very people that we are all trying to help.

The Cobblestone Project has developed a relationship with Jon Woodward (Exec Director of Seven Hills) over the past 9 months, and we have had the incredible privilege of trying to help Seven Hills in their mission of serving the homeless.

We know that these comments undoubtedly break not only his heart, but also the hearts of those people who rely on the Seven Hills Day Center everyday to be a place of rest, relief and hope.

Seven Hills is an incredible organization, and the partnership principle that is diligently pursued as a result of Jon’s leadership is inspiring. That is one of the primary reasons we sought out Seven Hills as a place we can learn from and help.

(Cobblestone Project interview with Jon Woodward in Nov 2008 during a Bentonville High School food & coat drive)

Jon Woodward has stated on many occasions that “homelessness is a larger issue than any one person or agency can solve”. We would hope that Mr. Childs would agree with this statement as an important principle in the need to rely on teamwork and not try to do it alone.

We do feel, however, that he can act alone in sharing love, giving dignity, granting respect and pursuing steps of partnership, not just with Seven Hills or the Salvation Army, but with the City of Fayetteville, the United Way, and other Churches in NW Arkansas (as well as the countless other people trying to brings solutions and relief for the homeless).

We think we should be cautious about potentially allowing any lines to be drawn over who has the “better” or “right” solution. Working together is the only way to maximize resources and talents to meet this common goal.

We absolutely agree with Mr. Childs on the point that it takes individual people helping individual people, and when like-minded people band together to help their efforts are multiplied. Sometimes those multiplied efforts create organizations and centers to attempt do the most good.

Mr. Childs, we have no doubt that your role is necessary and we are sure you are doing amazing things. We don’t want those to stop or be hindered in anyway whatsoever.

However, could we collectively and humbly reset the rhetoric and approach a common ground with one goal alone? A goal to bring relief, hope, dignity and love to those that may need it the most.

We are well aware that six months from now we may have a series of negative or catastrophic events happen that are outside of my control where we, too, end up homeless and in need of help.

If that does happen, we know that the first places we would go would be Seven Hills or the Salvation Army…and now we are encouraged to know that we could find rest and help from you as well.

that’s an inspirational force that we can truly believe in…

——

Mr. Childs, we would like to offer our resources to you for any comments or clarifications you may have so that we may move past any short term and repairable issues that may have arisen from today’s article. We can only hope that this is an extreme case of comments being misinterpreted and taken out of context.

iPROMise Joy!

iPROMise started as a desire in the hearts of two high school girls (Rebekah and Catherine Falge) who wanted to make a difference in lives of other students where they went to school.

These creative students learned that Cobblestone Project had been given some formal gowns during the June 08 Clothing Donation, and they wanted to use them to give some girls the gift of prom who would not otherwise be able to attend.

So, without hesitation, the dream started big…a dress, hair styled, makeup, dinner, and even a photographer.

With the help of some faculty at the local high school, seven beautiful students were identified. A few weeks later these beautiful students received a beautiful dress, a beautiful make over and most of all a beautiful night just to be alive.

Finally, the big day arrived.

On Saturday, April 25th, we brought in our very talented team to get the girls ready. We met at the Clarion and set up various stations for hair and makeup. It was amazing…nervous faces relaxing into shimmery smiles, wind-blown hair curled and set perfectly in place, everyday clothes exchanged for stunning gowns.

Without any of the stylists or makeup artists seeing the girls in their dresses before starting, every makeup color used and every hair style given was a perfect match to the color and style of the individual girls and their dresses. Each one left looking like a princess..some with eyes full of tears, feeling more beautiful than they ever had before.

As if that is not enough, the true beauty of iPROMise that sets this event apart from others like it is the fact that we hope to inspire a change in way the girls view their ability to make a difference. For every dress we give, we have a simple request of each girl in return: that they promise to remember this day and “pay it forward” to someone else. We want them to remember the kindness given to them and the joy they felt through this whole process and pass that same type of kindness and joy on to another when the opportunity arises.

The true beauty of iPROMise that sets this event apart from others like it is the fact that we hope to inspire a change in way the girls view their ability to make a difference. For every dress we give, we have a simple request of each girl in return: that they promise to remember this day and “pay it forward” to someone else.

We want them to remember the kindness given to them and the joy they felt through this whole process and pass that same type of kindness and joy on to another when the opportunity arises.

Some were fulfilling their promise in the middle of our event as they served their new friends. Others, have already expressed a desire to donate their dress back or to return next year and help us with the next group of girls. The cool thing about that?…for some of these girls, those kindnesses don’t “count” as their promise…yea…they get it.

Part 1 of the Story…Really, is this true?

Part 2 of the Story…Prom Day

 

iPROMise would like to give a special thanks and recognition of selfless giving to the following:

  • Rebecca and Catherine Falge…for dreaming big and loving on your peers through a day of beauty. You girls are incredible!
  • Stefani Falge…for encouraging your girls to make a difference and showing them how to pull it off
  • Check My Closet...for helping our girls find their dream dress…within our budget!
  • Lethal Lure…for donating alterations when needed
  • Sarah Ernst…for hair and make-up…everyone was beautiful
  • Sharon Harl…for the name iPROMise which captures everyone’s heart so incredibly
  • Erin Russell, WellQuest spa…for donating your incredible makeup artistry and even giving each girl a tube of the lip gloss they wore for a touch-up after dinner!
  • Sandra Brody, Mia Bella Salon…for donating your time and amazing skills to create stunning and unique hairstyles for our girls. You saw us through to the very end…thank you!
  • Table Mesa…for your generous donation of dinner gift certificates for our girls who didn’t have other dinner options. Wow…what a treat!
  • Erin Stein…for your creativity in putting our logo together. It’s perfect!
  • Jeff Cazzell, PacPrinters…for donating our amazing banner. Who knew that much hot pink could look so awesome?!
  • Barbara Tillman, The Clarion…for giving us a wonderful space to get all the girls ready at the same time. Your staff was incredibly helpful all day long!
  • Gary & Leigh Anne…who made this possible long before the idea even existed
  • Our community friends who donated financially to allow us to purchase dresses when the size needed was not available in our stock of dresses. You know who you are, and we are so grateful for your generosity.

May’s Rogers Laundry Love Project

May’s Laundry Love was exciting to say the least. With huge thunder storms rolling in, and tornado warnings over our area it got a little crazy! As usual, we had all machines full and going by the start time. This was a problem when the power went out and messed the cycle of the washers up. Mechanics had to be called to get everything up and running again.

Lucky for us Catfish John’s had provided dinner. So, as the rain poured, winds blew, and power flickered our clients and volunteers were able to enjoy a great meal and the company of one another.

Two specific clients stand out. One a woman who had fallen on hard times and had heard of us at the Samaritan House. She said her washer had broken, and she didn’t have the funds to repair it. She had been wondering what to do, because her clothes were beginning to smell like mildew. She was so thankful for the chance to have clean clothes and linen again. Another woman who has been with us since February donated a bottle of detergent and fabric sheets so we could continue to help others as we’ve helped her. That was amazing!

A need that was brought to our attention was personal toiletries. We had passed out basic essentials in March, and we now have families asking if we have those items again. So our team will try to start collecting those again.

We are continually amazed by the need, and so thankful for the opportunity to serve. So, until the day the battle of poverty is won, we’ll see you next month.