Our Time, In God’s Hands
After a long day of meetings recently, we were heading to dinner with some of our Elk friends and supporters. On the way to the restaurant, my wife, Teresia, asked me if I had called ahead to make a reservation. I had, of course. She asked me in whose name I put the reservation. “I put it in my name”, I replied. “Abe…A-B- E”, I spelled it out for her. As though she didn’t know my name, or how to spell it? She still laughs about that one, sharing the story as often as she can.
For those of you who have been keeping up with Elks Aidmore over the past few months, there is no need to spell out for you the many exciting things that have been happening.
The agency finished the fiscal year ending on June 30, 2016, in the black for the third year in a row. The Board of Trustees approved the FY17 budget, a record budget totaling $6,835,894. Over the past six years, with the expansion of services and moving those services into other parts of the state, the budget has grown an average of $1,000,000 per year.
Over 80 children and youth are being served in foster families through Therapeutic Foster Care out of the Conyers office. Almost 30 children and youth receive services from the Valdosta office. The Savannah office is officially opened and actively recruiting foster parents in that area. An office in Dalton will open in the first quarter of 2017. In Region 11, Elks Aidmore has been contacted about the possibility of expanding services to Brantley and Ware counties. Over half of those receiving services in these programs are under the age of 10.
Approximately 25 children and youth are enrolled in the Community-Based Alternatives for Youth (CBAY) programs, allowing them to remain in their families and communities while support services are wrapped around them.
On the residential side of services, 18 young women reside on the campus in Conyers, with another half dozen being supported in transitional housing and community apartments.
Overall, the various programs of Elks Aidmore reach over 160 children and youth each day. Including their extended families, Elks Aidmore is “healing the hearts, restoring the hopes, and rebuilding the lives” of more than 1,000 people. At the end of the FY16 fiscal year, Elks Aidmore had provided over 1.2 million hours of direct services to Georgia’s children and their families.
We have been blessed. We are thankful. We give God the praise and glory. The agency has several years of success in building a solid foundation for the future. We know there are several opportunities for the continuing the growth of Elks Aidmore, expanding the mission of the agency and reaching more people in need of services We also know there will be many challenges in maintaining the quality of services and sustaining the financial strength of Elks Aidmore.
The French philosopher Voltaire wrote, “Faith consists in believing, when it is beyond the power of reason to believe.” We will continue to have faith. We will continue to sing songs of thanks. We will continue to sing songs of promise. We will continue to follow God’s plan. He has made this our time!
Abe Wilkinson, Elks Aidmore CEO