We Dreamed, We Believed, We Achieved
Several years ago, the Georgia Department of Human Services tried to eliminate residential centers like the one Elks Aidmore has in Conyers GA. The DHS focus at that time was to place each child in a foster family…a noble mission, and worthy of support. But, for a variety of reasons, not every child “fits” into a foster family. For over thirty years, Elks Aidmore had operated solely as a campus-based program. The future looked bleak, as the agency received fewer and fewer referrals for residential placements. Instead of rolling over, the agency set out to reinvent itself.
The Greek poet Christianpolous once wrote, “they tried to bury us; they did not know we were seeds.” Indeed, the agency has sprouted, creating one of the fastest growing therapeutic foster care programs in the state of Georgia. After initially developing the Therapeutic Foster Care program in the Conyers office in 2012, the program was expanded to Valdosta the same year. In 2016, another office was opened in Savannah. In 2017, a fourth office was opened in Dalton.
Having served only 12 children in 2010, the agency last year served over 250 children and families throughout Georgia, providing 1.2 million hours of service. Although the residential treatment program is designed for young women (primarily 16-21), the Therapeutic Foster Care program serves more males than females and most of the children being served are under the age of 10.
On the most recent “report card” from the Office of Provider Management, Elks Aidmore programs scored at the 90th percentile or above. Three of the Elks Aidmore programs scored above the 98th percentile.
The Elks Aidmore Board of Trustees recently passed a budget of $8.1 million, the largest budget ever proposed by the agency. The budget is designed to serve an additional 40 children and youth in 2017. The agency goal is to provide 1.4 million hours of services to over 300 children and their families.
Our gratitude is extended to the Elks Aidmore Board of Trustees, Elks Lodges, Auxiliaries, community and individual supporters, and agency staff. Our thanks to God, as always, for lighting our path. We dreamed, we believed, and we achieved! “They tried to bury us; they did not know we were seeds”.