From December, 2009

NWANews.com – Homeless Population Grows At Rogers Schools

From NWANews.com


Homeless Population Grows At Rogers Schools

Friday, December 25, 2009

The Rogers School District has faced an increase in homeless students this year, and the district’s director of counseling expects the number to keep increasing.

The district makes a special effort to accommodate homeless students, providing clothes and bussing them from other school districts so they can stay in the same school.

The number of homeless students, 188 as of August, is likely to increase over the winter, as more previously unidentified homeless families seek shelter and families lose their homes in fires, said Linda Haley, who oversees counseling in the district.

…read entire article by clicking this link


How can you help?

On the front lines – Jon Woodward shares some thoughts

…Jon Woodward is the Executive Director of Seven Hills Homeless Center & we asked him to share a few thoughts on homelessness in NW Arkansas & a few simple ways that our community can help.


A single woman falls off a ladder has to go on medical leave from her job.

A mother abandons her husband and children when he loses his job.

A waitress is down-sized.

A family’s transportation fails and a job is lost.

A family cuts every expense that they can and still can’t afford their rent and utilities.

A man finishes his 30-day program and has no place to call home.

A mom goes on medical leave as she struggles to find answers for her autistic son who needs to be seen twice a week in Little Rock.

There are many different ways people become homeless. A few that we helped this month are listed above.

How does this change?

Needs must be communicated to those who care and want to help. Time must be invested in mentoring relationships with individuals and families who need guidance. Resources must be devoted by our community in services that address the core issues of our homeless neighbors: affordable housing, accessible healthcare, and an improved transportation infrastructure.

The common thread in all of theses situations is that our systems don’t know how to identify those who, if given help over a particular hurdle, will use the help to springboard toward independence.

Obviously there is no crystal ball to use, professional judgment and common sense can lead us toward making investments in individuals and families who really want to do better for themselves.

Meet immediate needs. Mentor a family. Use your influence to direct community resources toward core issues.

Thanks,

Jon Woodward, Seven Hills Homeless Center


We are so thankful for people like Jon who are standing in the gap and pouring untold amounts of energy to serve our community.  We encourage everyone to spend a little time learning more about them and to find some practical ways to help.

Simple donations such as canned foods, coffee, blankets and gloves go a long way at Seven Hills.  Of course, financial support is always beneficials.  If you’re in Fayetteville, spend a few minutes to drop by their day center and ask for a tour to learn more about their mission.

Connect with Seven Hills via their website and on Twitter

Help Portrait in NW Arkansas


12/12/09 saw Help Portrait come to NW Arkansas in the form of Help Portrait NWA.  Help Portrait is a movement of photographers who are using their time and energy to give back to the under-resourced in our community.  What an incredible expression of love for our community by people using their gifts and talents to serve.

The amazing crews from Novo StudiosAdaptive Creative where the driving energy behind making Help Portrait happen in NW Arkansas.

40/29 Covered the story of one local family who had their photos taken today:  Families in Need Get Free Pictures

More stories, videos & photos coming soon, but check out their story as it happens on Whrrl…

a Community D.C.

Four months ago, Jody Thorton (owner of JJ’s Grill) & Scott Page (Community Pastor at Fellowship Bible Church) sat across the table from each other with the shared desire to help meet the needs of the under-resourced in our community.

The dreamed of a way to freely collect & redistribute needed staple items to local shelters and the initiatives currently associated with operations at Cobblestone Project.  A few months later we caught up with them standing in that very place.

Joshua Segraves kicked off our initial Community DC initiative based on a Green Room conversation…

read that story…

This is part of the “Connect” part of our mission statement…

Shared at the Green Room in December,

This is a place for…

For more information on how to get involved in the Cobblestone Project D.C., please visit the DC Initiative page.

Photograph’s courtesy of ServiamPhotography.com

Our Step Christmas Challenge


We are excited & thankful to one NW Arkansas family that is issuing a Christmas Challenge to help support the Our Step program and provide homes for those without.

What is Our Step?

Our Step is a collaborative housing initiative started by Seven Hills Homeless Shelter, Northwest Arkansas Women’s Shelter, Samaritan Community Center and the Cobblestone Project to provide people and families assistance in breaking the cycle of homelessness and domestic violence by eliminating the initial costs to secure affordable housing.

What is challenge?  Watch their story & find out how you can help.

Here’s how it works…

  • For every dollar donated to the Our Step program (up to $10,000) and matching amount will be donated.  For example, if you donate $50, a matching $50 will be donated for a total of $100.
  • If the full challenge is met, a total of $20,000 would be donated to the Our Step program.
    • $20,000 would provide funding to place a minimum of approx. 20 people (individuals & families w/children) into affordable housing.
  • Challenge ends on Dec 31, 2009.
  • There are two ways to participate financially in this challenge
  • On January 1st, we will announce the total amount raised in this challenge.

For more information…

  • Visit the Our Step initiative page
  • Send an email to OurStep@CobblestoneProject.org

Thanks so much and off we go…

 

Update on Oct story “Family of 5 without Parents is in Need”

In early October we were alerted of a situation here in NW Arkansas that captured our hearts.  A family of 5 children that were without their parents was in need of some big help.  In order to help, their grandmother offered to serve as their caretaker; however, the living situation had forced her to spend the nights on their porch in order to create room inside.  If you missed the original story, you can read it here “Family of 5 without Parents is in Need

Since then It has been truly remarkable to see how our NW Arkansas Community has rallied around to help this family.  Here is a quick update of what you have all done.

  • All the kids have new clothing, coats, shoes, bedding, books & toys.
  • There is a “new” sofa for the grandmother and she is sleeping inside now.
  • One of the boys who was sleeping on a piece of foam now has a bed.
  • There is a small chest of drawers that now holds the children’s clothes.
  • There are some small groups who are planning on taking the family to Chuck E. Cheese.
  • There are toys set aside for Christmas and some people are taking care of the rest of the needs
  • Lisa is getting some special time with the girls and is having a girl party in the coming weeks.

On the construction side

  • Wayne Hull is heading up the construction at the house and foundation is being set right now.
  • There have been donations from Home Depot & Lowe’s.
  • There are crews standing by for framing, electrical & roofing
  • Donations received for the family will be used to cover other construction needs

Needless to say spirits are up for the family & hope is present and real because of what you have all done.  Lisa has been the true hero through out all of this because without her none of this would be happening.  She’s amazing.


At this point, all the immediate needs are met.  If new needs arise, we will be happy to share them.  Again, thank you all.  Truly amazing.

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An Old Man’s Hat that Changes Christmas?

Last night a small group of friends, old & new, gathered in a rock house in Fayetteville to get a head start on the celebration of this coming Christmas season.

However, this night was different from most because rather than a traditional holiday gathering that was spent eating, drinking and laughing, it was an evening to drop $10 and a small slip of paper in the “Old Man’s Hat” that was by the door as you entered.  This small slip of paper recorded each person’s favorite charitable organization, and towards the end of the evening one organization was to be drawn to receive the money in the hat.  From the moment the evening started and before you could even come in and take your coat off, you knew that the evening wasn’t just about us.

This idea developed a few months ago out of a continuing conversation about how a community of people could gather and focus on returning Christmas to maybe what it was intended to be all along.

The belief is that Christmas is really a time for anticipation, hope, joy, peace, family, community and the realization that the reason that all of these things exist is because a small baby entered the world to continue a story of rescue and redemption.  This is a story that has been told from the beginning of time itself and today finds its’ way to us here and now.

This conversation ebbed and flowed and eventually took the form of Christmas Change.  Christmas Change is a collective of people interacting, creating, dreaming and expressing what it means to “return to the foundational story of rescue and redemption…as we use our resources to spread good news to those in desperate need.”

Last night this expression found it’s form in an old dusty hat piled high with tiny white slips of papers and little more than pocket change to most.  As the slips were drawn from the hat, to our surprise the last one held the name of the Cobblestone Project.  It is a truly humbling honor to be entrusted to use this money to serve those in our community when they find themselves in a time of need.  We anticipate the moment when hope will fill the eyes of those who may be without because of an old hat at the door way.

But the best part?

It an evening that a small community of people came together with the desire to celebrate the season in a way that changes our focus away from ourselves and returns it to what matters most.

So the next time you gather, consider placing an Old Man’s Hat by the front door while you celebrate a season of change that points towards a life of return.