What “Homey” Means to Me
Ever since she could walk, our youngest granddaughter, Savannah, would run up to me and throw her arms up in the air for me to hold her. As she learned to talk, she would add the words “hold me”. However, from the mouth of a young child it sounded more like “homey”. After several months, I began to tease her, saying “you know my name is not homey”. Recently, she ran to me, threw her hands up in the air and said “homey.” I picked her up, looked into her big round eyes, and did not say a word. She looked back at me and said, “I know…you name not homey!” At age 4, she still runs to me, arms thrust upward, and asks me to “homey”.
For me, “homey” means comfortable, welcome, friendly, cheerful, family, down-to-earth. As much as possible, we want children and youth who come to Elks Aidmore to experience “homey”, whether it is at the residential campus or in one of our 120 family foster care settings. The Elks Aidmore staff and foster parents work every day to create environments in which children and young adults can feel supported and nurtured. We have an experienced and tenured group of people at Elks Aidmore, who see a mission in making a difference in the lives of others. They possess a servant’s heart. Here are a few examples.
Vickey Hale, the Chief Operations Officer, has been at Elks Aidmore for over 25 years. She served in several job positions prior to becoming COO. She can relate effectively and compassionately to staff, foster parents, the community and, most importantly, our children and youth. She is currently pursuing her Doctorate in Social Work degree from Clark Atlanta. Because of her vast experience in child welfare, she was recently invited to participate as a panel member at the United Nations, focusing on the challenges faced by young women in the foster care system.
Another one of our staff members, who was recently diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, returned to work after a brief medical leave to continue her consultation and service with the agency children and families. Although she struggles physically each day, her heart remains in the important work we do.
Lisa Rudolph, one of our foster parents in the Savannah area, is in the process of adopting three of the children she took into her home through the Therapeutic Foster Care program. By doing so, she creates a “forever family”, a loving environment in which these young people will thrive and grow.
Patti McGrew was recently selected as the Director of Residential Services. With the money raised by the wreath auction at the Aidmore Christmas party in Conyers, she coordinated efforts for our youth to provide food baskets to the needy and personal hygiene items to the homeless during the Christmas holidays. In addition, she spearheads efforts for our young adults to assist in packaging lunches for community children who are out of school during the summer months.
These individuals are just a sampling of the staff members and foster parents who work tirelessly to “heal hearts, restore hopes and rebuild lives.” Our staff and foster parents are the reason Elks Aidmore was chosen as the 2018 recipient of the 2018 Outstanding Agency award presented at the Georgia Conference on Children and Families.
Through Elks Aidmore, we are doing God’s work. We give the praise and the glory to Him. We give thanks to all of you who contribute in so many ways to the mission that is Elks Aidmore.