In the Summer of 2015, the Pastor of the Bethesda Missionary Baptist Church, acted on his vision and bought a 3400 square foot house, two blocks from our sanctuary, that had been used many for benevolent purposes, to fulfill the dream of housing young people exiting out of the Arkansas State Foster Care System. Most people know that at age 18 children with no family have few options when they reach that milestone. Most of them are there because of one of many factors: death of parents, drug use or unfit parent, abusive parents or placement in foster homes where something similar might possible happen.
Our ministry chose to work with the State and provide care for the maturing children leaving the system to help them learn to function as adults, get any education, learn skills/a trade/ get a job, and to become useful members of society. Our work is done under the care and direction of intelligent, caring, loving and interested parents and grandparents.
Sound practical and near impossible? Yes, but we were making strides in the right directions - until the early morning of April 24, 2017 around 1:15 a.m. when our current hopes and dreams went up in flames and smoke...! The house where we were currently housing, mentoring and molding the young men in our care was set on fire and was almost entirely destroyed by the fire. The City of Little Rock placed condemned signs on the building later that morning. I later that morning authorized a company to come and immediately board up the property to avoid any chance of someone coming in and being injured in the carnage that resulted from the destruction. What was once a thriving ministry running on fumes, love and donations from good folks is now but an empty burned-out shell.
The building, or what's left of it, needs to be demolished, torn down and the land reclaimed so we can rebuild. We are not giving up on the dreams, the hopes and the needs. The property is a total loss.
We have been in operation at that location since August 2015. Our first resident moved in around October of that year. So far we have welcome 13 young men in D.Y.M.O.I. Manor, which stands for "Developing Young Men Of Integrity". The ministry intends to works with both young ladies and gentlemen but so far we have only had a house for the young men. Building a place to house the young ladies is part our next better plan. That is why we're here.
We need the help of everyone who cringes at the idea of so many young people being lost to drugs, crime, the streets in general and certainly, like here in Little Rock, Arkansas, to the graveyards. We must do all we can to stem the tide and stop this constant flow from birth to home to street to oblivion. We took on the job because no one else seemed to want it. We have raised children and participated in the lives of our grandchildren. We have loved them all. Have we been successful all the time? No. Does that mean we stop trying? No. That simply means we try a different approach depending on what each child needs just like each of you had to do with each one of your different children you loved, raised and cared for. The difference is with us is that these children belong to the community, the city, the state, the nation... not just us. The parents failed or lost their way. The foster parent or system failed them so now we have to make up for where things were left out. What things you ask: Interest, Attention, Care, Concern, Teaching and most importantly... Love.