No. 241



Several weeks ago we had an outstanding presentation at our Lions Club given by a wonderful lady by the name of Lou Strain. She spoke with deep passion, without notes, for almost thirty minutes about a program called HAVEN. Haven stands of Help for Abused Victims in Emergency Need and it is a program licensed by our state Department Of Human Services as a residential shelter for female children. Lou was the programs first director and she has been the guiding force behind its success.

While most area residents know about HAVEN, I felt it would be of interest to my readers in other communities across the nation. Obviously, the needs of abused and neglected girls are being met by the state or some other organization but what the good people of Conway have done is above and beyond the call of duty. Whats really important is that some precious young people are the benefactors. If what Im going to share with you could inspire just one similar effort, it would make me very, very happy.

Here is the story. As a resident shelter, HAVEN is licensed to provide long-term residential services on a twenty-four hour basis to abused and neglected female children and adolescents ages six through eighteen. The purpose of the program is to provide these services to victimized children where the childs family cannot or should not stay together and group care is chosen as the primary program of care for the child because foster homes or more appropriate placements are not available.

HAVEN opened its doors as an emergency shelter in August 1986 and almost 400 children have been served since this time. It was begun by the Conway Junior Auxiliary after an investigation determined an overwhelming need for a shelter for abused children in the area. The Junior Auxiliary bought a home located at 612 Center Street and it was redecorated by volunteers. A Board Of Directors made up of leaders in the community was formed and Counseling Associates, Inc. was given administrative responsibility for the HAVEN program.

Because of the need for more space, in 1994 our local hospitals Board Of Directors invited HAVEN to move into a vacant mansion that it owned next door called Frauenthal Estate. This home was built in 1913 for Jo Frauenthal, a citizen who contributed in many ways for fifty-four years of his life to the building of Conway.(Your community has people like this too.) The Frauenthal Estate now, thanks to many individuals, businesses and local groups, will have a special place in the hearts of children who found themselves bruised, battered and alone.

Here was a wonderful example of the power of an idea as the Junior Auxiliary swung into action, mobilized the entire community, and developed a plan to take the new residence and the grounds and turn it into a place of pure elegance. The Frauenthal Estate has now become the HAVEN DESIGNER HOUSE and is located 631 Western Avenue in Conway.

The people of Conway cared enough to give their very best but something Lou Strain said really caught my attention. She said her big fear was that the residents would trash the place but nothing was further from the truth. These girls, most of whom came from terrible backgrounds, took great pride in their luxurious new home and have kept it as immaculate as the day it was finished. Something special happens in the hearts of others when we care enough to give the very best. (EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034.)