Volunteer energy is so important, especially in the prevailing winds of state and federal budget cuts. Our children’s facilities (three residential treatment centers and one refugee shelter) each have a Director of Volunteers—we call them DOVs―who coordinate the volunteer efforts of the individuals and groups generously serving the children of LSS. A DOV is also in charge of organizing foster care fundraising and special events for our 16 foster care offices throughout Texas.
At the treatment centers, the DOVs touch the lives of the abused and troubled young residents every day, arranging activities and creating memories for the kids to take with them when they leave. Recently, Nelson Children’s Center in Denton and Krause Children’s Centerin Katy both celebrated prom nights, and the excitement among the kids has never been higher.
The day before Krause’s prom, a note appeared under DOV Tawana Goodwin’s door. Scanned here (but hard to read) it says:
Dear Mrs. Tawanna, I just want to say thank you for everything that you’ve been doing for me and others but most of all thank you for PROM because what I’m experiencing now I haven’t seen or done in the free and all because you, the great woman God’s made you into, thanks for working and helping me when you where busy and tired and wanted to go home. So I thank you! I admire you and preciate you also thank you. Mrs. Tawanna your awesome.
“The pampering and attention the kids get for the prom is an all-new experience for them, believe me,” said Tawana, who gets almost as excited about prom as the kids. “They may not tell you or show you, but they really appreciate what we do!”
Prom is just one example of how volunteers step in to help at the centers. In 2010 alone the DOVs worked with more than 7,500 volunteers whose tasks ranged from huge facility renovations to Easter egg hunts and guitar lessons – all labors of love on their own time. The DOVs also give tours, take on speaking engagements, and generally help to raise awareness and financial support for the centers.
Now it’s time to introduce the LSS DOVs and their habitats (flying North to South):
Rebekah Chase Poling―Nelson Children’s Center in Denton
Lisa Brown―New Life Children’s Center in Canyon Lake
Tawana Goodwin―Krause Children’s Center in Katy
Joanna Villarreal―Bokenkamp Emergency Children’s Shelter in Corpus Christi
Whitney Flynt―alighting at foster care offices across Texas
These professional role models devote their hearts and hands to feathering the nests of the children at our facilities, sanctuaries of help, healing, and hopeful futures.