Abused and Neglected Kids Benefit from Adopt-A-Room Program

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The Northwest Arkansas Children's Shelter provides a temporary home for abused and neglected kids and the Adopt-A-Room program hopes to give them dream rooms to help with the healing process.

There are 21 bedrooms and only four have been adopted and transformed in the teen girl wing. There's artwork on the walls painted in bright colors such as orange and purple.

"Each room that has been adopted has its own personality,” said Greg Russell, director of marking for the NWA Children’s Shelter. “It's the same thing with our kids. They have their own personalities and respond to things differently. So we love the fact that they each have their own stamp."

Volunteer coordinator Gretchen Laffoon said the program was born from the kids' feedback.

"We do an exit interview with them and there were using words like dorm and hospital to describe the room," Laffoon said.

The 24-hour emergency shelter provides a has an on-site school and offers counseling services. Children can stay at the shelter up to 45 days.

Around 500 kids, from newborns to teenagers, will call the shelter home every year.

"Our kids have been through traumatic experiences, they have been subjected to neglect or abuse,” Laffoon said. “So our goal is to program an area where the hurt can begin to heal."

To adopt a room, you provide the labor and materials. It came be done by individuals, families or groups.

"A minimum of what we are asking for is new bedding, paint, new curtains if it doesn't match the bedding they select and of course a new bulletin board," Laffoon said.

A coat of paint goes a long way and makes a difference in the lives of neglected and abused kids.

Russell said the shelter has a $3 million annual budget, and they have to come up with 80 percent of that amount.

"Things like this where the community steps in and helps us with things that we ordinarily have to spend our resources on is the reason we can do amazing things with our kids," Russell said.  

The goal is to make this a long-term program to keep the rooms modern and maintained.

According to shelter leaders, the most someone spent on a two-person bedroom was $400. Other than bedroom, living areas and bathroom can be adopted.

Groups/individuals seeking to adopt a room or obtain more information may contact Volunteer Coordinator Gretchen Laffoon at glaffoon@nwacs.org or 479-795-2417, ext. 315.

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