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A 5-year-old Our House resident can’t get into our child care because it’s full. She finds out that what is being built behind the playground is just for her and for other kids like her who are waiting for our youth programs to have room for them.

Check here each month for updates on the construction of our new children’s center.

Tie One On has a record-breaking year despite the threat of an ice storm.

Our House currently has 54 team members. Meet two of them in this issue.

6-year-old Immory writes his wish for his future. Kids, parents, staff, & Our House supporters have been writing their wishes for Our House’s future on cards that are displayed on a constantly-growing wall.

302 E Roosevelt Rd; Little Rock, AR

We celebrate the short life of a 4-month-old resident of The Shelter.

Read about a few of our recent volunteers & in-kind donors.


Look here for one-click access to every issue of our newsletter.

newsletter design & photos by Amanda Woods, an Our House VISTA except page 15 slideshow: additional photos by Salee Black © 2013

The new Children’s Center will be filled with sunlight from the large windows, which also let in the view of Our House’s first playground. The space between the playground & the Children’s Center will be landscaped with bike paths & a basketball court.

by Georgia Mjartan, Executive Director

Behind The Shelter are a playground, an expanse of grass, benches, and an area of asphalt that we’ve converted into a makeshift basketball court. It’s the backyard for our community. It is also a perfect observation point from which to watch the construction of our new Children’s Center. Since July, when construction started, I’ve frequented a certain spot on the back side of the playground where trees were cleared as part of the tank removal process that cleaned up our land where our new center would stand. It was just before noon on a beautiful day when I headed over to my overlook point. As I stood there taking photos, I heard a voice behind me say, “Do you know what that’s going to be?” It was a young mother sitting with her daughter at the bottom of a slide. “Yes. It’s going to be a children’s center.” Surprised to see this mom on campus in the middle of the day with a five-year-old, I asked my own question. “You guys must be new to our Shelter. You know, we can help your daughter get into school. Have you gotten help with that yet?”

The mother sighed. “Her birthday is a week too late. She missed the deadline for school this year, so we need child care. It’s one of the reasons we’re here. I just couldn’t afford it.” “Oh! That’s no problem. We have a child care center here. Your daughter can go for free. That way you can go on job search.” And then I realized what was going on. This was not a new family who didn’t know the ropes. Our child care center was full. We had no spots. Mom explained that she had indeed gone down to our existing child care center and had been informed that our center was just not big enough to meet the need—to meet her need. While she was explaining this to me, her daughter came around to the edge of the playground, to where I was standing, with a question of her own.

“So, that building is for children? Children like me?” “Yes! It’s for children just like you.” I stood there with the little girl for about ten minutes watching cranes put steel beams in place. Watching sparks fly as tiny men way down the hill welded together a center that would be big enough for every child who comes to Our House. I told the little girl all about the things that would happen inside the center—about music classes and art and children just like her learning to read. “Will there be lunch in there? I’m hungry.” “Yes! There will be lunch.” With that, we concluded our conversation and headed inside The Shelter for lunch.

This spring there will be plenty of room for this little girl and lots of other kids her age in this room, which will be the 4- & 5-year-old room in the new Children’s Center.

I was sitting a few chairs down from the little girl and her mom, but I was close enough to overhear a conversation between and another girl, a few years older than her, who was home from school with a cold. “Did you see that thing they’re building? I know what it is!” “What?” The nine-year-old asked. “It’s a building just for us. They’re making it just for us. And there’s going to be music and art and reading.”

“ Left: Board member Drew Weber reads his Our House wish to the Our House Community Council before adding it to the wall of wishes written by our kids, parents, staff, & supporters. Like many others, his wish for Our House’s future is that our society’s negative, stereotypical view of homeless

She was right. We are building it just for her. And for the 19-month-old who has been going on job search with his mom, Sarah, for the last two weeks because we don’t have room for him in our toddler room. And for Gracie, who moved out of The Shelter last week and can’t keep coming to child care because we don’t have any more community spots open and she’s a community kid now. And for the dozens of kids who we had to turn away at the end of the summer because we didn’t have space for them to keep coming. We are building that building just for them.

” people will disappear, & that the discrimination they face will disappear along with it. Right: While our community builds its paper wall of wishes, the construction crew finishes a cinderblock-&-glass wall of the multipurpose room of our Children’s Center.

Aprons hang on mannequins, waiting for the live auction to start.

Brittan Sanders, her husband Justin, & her parents Pat & Rick Elimon look at the aprons she made for the silent auction.

Star Miller, painter

Tie One On By the Numbers $139,385 Raised for Our House 450 People Attended

Our Club apron by 17-year-old William

109 Artists Designed Aprons 380 Items Donated $13,800 Raised in Live Auction $19,585 Raised in Silent Auction 48 Committee Members

detail of a mixedmedia apron by the Our House Art Therapy group

bidding on an apron by Salee Black

Click Play to open a slideshow of more photos of this year’s Tie One On.

We are all saddened by the loss of little Byron. He was greatly loved by the Our House community, the staff, and most importantly his family. Byron was a sweet and happy baby, was easy-going, and loved to be held. He was the youngest and only boy in his family, which included his mother and two sisters. He will be remembered by his big bright smile and the joy that it brought to us all. Byron passed away with many people who loved him close by. Even though he was only with us for a short while, his memory will live on through the many lives he touched.

photo: Byron in Little Learners, November 21st

hometown Russellville, Arkansas education English Major, Senior, UCA Our House staff since August 19, 2013

My responsibilities are integration & logistics of the new children’s building, & coordinating & maintaining campus safety.

The sense of accomplishment after every new project. Knowing that it’s going to last & make an immediate difference really makes my job worthwhile.

I’m constantly surrounded by some of the most generous & honest people I’ve ever come into contact with. Someone is always teaching me something new. To be involved with education reform & improvement in Arkansas & the U.S.

My father. He’s one of the most respectable men I’ve ever known. If I turn out to be half the man he is I’d consider myself & those around me extremely lucky.

Play guitar & video games.

I don’t like cookies, cake, or ice cream. I do like Reese’s peanut butter cups, though.

Compassion & tolerance.

To be remembered for something worthwhile.

hometown Dallas, Texas education Elementary Education BA with Specialization in Early Childhood, Baylor University family husband Jeffrey Ipsen community involvement Chenal Civitan previous jobs Pre-K & Kindergarten Teacher, After-School Program Director, Program Specialist Our House staff since June 13, 2012

Baby-sitting at age 12. I maintain a functioning, safe, & positive physical space for the children & team members of Little Learners Child Development Center.

How much it feels like a family. I felt an instant connection from day one.

Most of the time I spend with my husband, Jeff, & our dog. Often we travel to Dallas to spend time with my family.

I always wanted to be a teacher. I played school in my bedroom until all hours of the night, even on school nights!

My dad was my hero. He showed unconditional love not only to his family but also to his friends, community, & strangers alike. He was truly an amazing man.

Respect for self & others.

You can now use your Kroger card each time you shop at Kroger to give to Our House without spending an extra dime. The donation costs you nothing, and you still receive the normal savings and Kroger rewards points that you would normally get, but every time you make a purchase with your card Kroger will donate to Our House. Click here to register for a Kroger account. Once you have created an account with your card, click here to access the enrollment page. Then follow these steps: 1. Click under the list that includes Arkansas. 2. On the next screen, use the term “Our House.” 3. Select the bubble next to “Our House 302 East Roosevelt, Little Rock, AR Organization Number 81246” from the search results. Click . You have successfully helped us give hope to the working homeless and their families. Please share this and invite your friends to help us get more people signed up.

by Niki Hitt, In-Kind Donations VISTA & Ezell Breedlove, Volunteer Relations VISTA

Whole Foods Whole Foods chose Our House as a site for their first official Little Rock Kids Day of Service. This was an opportunity for customers, team members, and kids to help promote healthy communities and healthy eating. It was a Kids Day full of educational activities and healthy snacks for Little Learners and Our Club. The Little Learners sit down to choose their juice flavor to go with their salad, carrots, popcorn, banana, and cookie made by volunteers from Whole Foods. The volunteers also brought crafts, games, and face painting.

UALR First Year Experience Students Director of Housing & Associate Dean of Students/Executive Director Debbie Gentry & her class of first-year students prepared meals for Our House’s Parenting Class and helped organize the donations closets in the Women’s Dorm and in Little Learners.

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More We Less Me The organization provided warmth for the residents by hosting a warm clothes & coat drive. We appreciate their efforts to provide winter attire & enjoyed their fun personalities during their delivery.

Cathedral of St. Andrews St. Andrews donated turkey dinners to help serve over eighty families in our CAFSI program. Their generosity relieved a lot of stress so families can enjoy the holidays.

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Individuals Cathy & Al Alexander Sydney Alman Anonymous Donor Gay Anthony Amy & Hamlin Au Miranda & Phillip Baker Patricia & David Blick Arthur Paul Bowen James Britt Marie Bruyneel Cindy & Joseph Bures Kathy Chronister William Collins Dana Crouch Spencer Davies Emily Davis Oscar Davis Jill & Matthew Dozier Martha Eshleman Sabine & Ruskin Falls Lenlie Freeman Tanya & Brian Giles Mary Ann Grabiel Denise Grace Rachel Green Halina Hale Theresa & John Hall Rosemary Hallmark Alison Hayes Julia & Lyle Heim Daniel Hernandez Natalie Hill Richard Hinson Wanda Hoover Ben Jackson Janet Jones

Helen Kaiser Max Kane Barclay Key Melanie Knight Dr. Karen Konarski-Hart Doris & Mark Krain Eugene Levy Christopher Love Lynn Luther Heather Mazander Paulette McConnell Jillian McGehee Jo & Presley Melton Carol Miller Molly Miller Cathy & Michael Moran Janet & J.P. Morbeck Benjamin Nice Cara Nolan Rebecca Norris Coleman Peterkin Jr. Ike Peters LeaVonne Pulley Lee Razer Janice Rice Terry Richard Evelyn Rose-Jones Deanna Rust Kristian Smith Anne & David Suitor Kathleen Sumbles Steve Taylor Marianne Tettlebaum Kathryn Thomson Jeffrey Trowbridge Bridget & Andrew Upchurch

Ramona Walker Angel & Drew Weber Dr. Sherece West-Scantlebury & Joe Scantlebury Mary & Scott White Elizabeth Whittington Hardy Winburn Congregations Cathedral of St. Andrew Christ the King Catholic Church Church of the Immaculate Conception First Baptist Church Pulaski Heights United Methodist Church St. Anne Catholic Church St. Luke’s Episcopal Church United Methodist Church Corporations AT&T Hyden, Miron, & Foster, PLLC Kroger Government City of Little Rock: Reentry Program DHS—AmeriCorps DHS—ESG HUD: Supportive Housing HUD: Transitions Non-Government Grants Caterpillar Foundation Heart of Arkansas United Way May & Stanley Smith Charitable Trust United Way—CAFSI

Capital Donations Anonymous Donor Amy Bressinck Bratcher Kevin Bratcher Renay & David Dean Sharon & John Denery Susan & Dave Hoffpauir Melissa & James Cooper Riley Jr. Jessica & Blake Rutherford Billie & Skip Rutherford Lareda & Danny Smith Angel & Drew Weber Mike White Elizabeth & William Woodyard

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December 2013  
December 2013  

Our House December 2013 newsletter