City of Fort Smith Spotlight of the Month is..
Fort Smith Children's Emergency Shelter
The CES serves area children age 6 to 17 who have been removed from their home by the Department of Human Services due to neglect and/or abuse. It provides shelter and care, in a safe and structured home-like environment and allows kids in crisis the opportunity to “just be kids.”
In the past 20 years, the CES has served more than 3,752 children and cared for their emergency needs. The CES serves approximately 300 children a year and have recently implemented its “Shoes that Fit” program. This program gives each child the opportunity to pick out and purchase a brand new pair of shoes when they come to the CES. The “Shoes that Fit” program allows funding for shoes that fit their feet, fit their personalities and allow them to fit in at school. This program not only serves a need but helps the child feel cared about.
Last October, the CES expanded its mission to rally around the young adults “aging out” of the foster care system and created an independent living program, GetREAL24. The restorative, empowering, alternative living, equips foster care youth, 18 and older, to live independently in the shelter’s 24-unit apartment complex and gain the life skills necessary to become contributing members of society. The young adults get to define what success looks like for them and learn how to apply for jobs, budget, cook, communicate with landlords and even sew. Learning these skills helps these young adults to have a more successful future.
You can help make a difference – I did! - Wendy Mathis