Our Time, In God’s Hands
For several months, our four-year old granddaughter, Lexi, visited a local farm with her mother. They gathered fresh eggs, rode horses and, in general, just enjoyed being outdoors. Lately, we noticed she was not talking about her visits to the farm. We asked her why. Lexi replied, “One day, we went to the farm and Henrietta was laying scrambled eggs…then, Poof!, she was in Heaven!”
The observations of a four-year old are very sweet and innocent. As our life experiences tell us, very few things in the world just go Poof! and happen. Elks Aidmore has had a string of very good years, expanding services to all corners of the state and increasing the end-of-year financial surplus. It is the result of many factors coming together at just the right time. Please allow me a few paragraphs to give a quick overview of the programs.
The residential program in Conyers has averaged almost 18 young women every day for the past year. Even though small in numbers, the residential program allows us to offer treatment services as part of a larger array of community-based services.
The Transitional Living Program (TLP) served five young adults over the past year, allowing them to experience independent living without staff supervision. While providing an increased level of independence for these young adults, the program “wraps” services around them to support natural community and family relationships. Providing community housing, in areas they wish to live, gives them a greater chance at success in life.
The Therapeutic Foster Care (TFC) program in Conyers is the flagship of the TFC programs. The program has over 60 families serving an average of 85 youth. Due to this incredible growth over the past five years, office space in the Administration Building on the Conyers campus is beyond capacity.
The Valdosta TFC program has reached a milestone, with 20 foster families serving nearly 30 children and youth. Based on projected explosive growth over the next year, the Valdosta office moved to a new location in March. The move will allow the Valdosta program the opportunity to continue its expansion efforts for the next several years. Thanks to Georgia Elks Association Past State President Roy Spiker, and his wife Dixie (Past State President of the Georgia Elks Aidmore Auxiliary) for their “walk-through” of the new Valdosta office and helping to develop a punch-list of items needing attention.
The Savannah TFC program, having recently passed its one-year anniversary mark, had its first foster family approved and its first child placed with that family. Several other families are currently in the process of being approved.
Dalton TFC, the newest addition to the TFC family, opened in mid-February. The office boasts of a very experienced start-up team of Bethany Jackson and Jaime Stafford, both of who have vast experience in the field of foster care and child welfare. We have great expectations for the office to quickly address the foster care need in Northwest Georgia. A special thanks to Georgia Elks Auxiliary Past State President Peggy Holmes-Rhodes for helping find just the right location and negotiating a lease that includes internet, cleaning and utilities.
Kamini Ramcharran has been selected as the new Program Director for Community Services-South. Kamini has been employed by Elks Aidmore for three years as a Family Consultant and, most recently, as a Family Consultant Supervisor. She brings 20 years of experience to her new position. In addition to her work with Elks Aidmore, she has experience as a recruiter supervisor, foster care specialist, mental health therapist, and family consultant caseworker with other child welfare agencies. In her new role, Kamini will be responsible for the offices in Valdosta and Savannah.
In the May issue of the Elks Magazine, Elks Aidmore will be featured in a series of articles about the State Major Projects. Georgia State Homes recently published an on-line article about Elks Aidmore that received 800 hits in the first 24 hours…not a “viral” response, but certainly big numbers for our agency.
The growth and success of the many Elks Aidmore programs is more than just Poof!. It is more than just hard work. It is the result of community-building…the community of staff, the community of governance, and the support of the communities in which Elks Lodges and Aidmore offices are located. Most importantly, it is the result of our community of faith…for you believing, supporting, and praying…for our path the be directed and the light of Elks Aidmore to shine at this point in our history.
For more information about the Elks Aidmore programs, call 770-483-3535