Allen Elkins is the campus director at Arkansas Baptist Homes for Children in Monticello.
I once heard it said, “You have to see it, before you see it, in order to see it.” I wonder if Hannah Hyatt was able to see it 129 years ago. I truly believe she was able to see that there were hurting children who needed help, so she helped. She donated her land to start an orphanage so that children would have a place to live. Arkansas Baptists took up the challenge then and have continued to build up the campus to what it is today; because that is what Arkansas Baptists are good at doing.
I can’t help but wonder, did Hannah Hyatt see this coming? In 2024, our flagship campus in Monticello, Arkansas Baptist Homes for Children, celebrates its 130th birthday and we will celebrate in strength! The ministry of this campus has experienced incredible growth and expansion. For the last three years, we have provided four foster homes specialized in keeping large sibling groups together and those homes will continue to function as such. Brothers and sisters need each other as they navigate the challenges of being in foster care. Foster parents are there to help them walk those miles and to partner with the biological parents as we work together towards reunification.
We are excited to be launching an Explorers Academy site to our campus ministry. Explorers is the newest division of ministry at Arkansas Baptist Children and Family Ministries. As a trauma-informed preschool for ages newborns to pre-K right here on campus, we will be able to serve the children of our community in an even greater capacity.
The celebration doesn’t stop there! We are also adding Desired Haven Family Care to our campus ministry. Desired Haven Family Care is the stability program of our ministry that provides advocacy for at-risk families. Two of our homes on campus will now serve as family care homes, allowing us to provide stability for up to 12 families at a time on our campus. The families in the program receive life skills training in the areas of spiritual growth, relationships, finances, health, housekeeping, parenting, and time management. Most importantly, they’ll receive the Gospel. Pastors in our community are thrilled to have this ministry helping serve families in our community.
Finally, we will have a Connected Resource Center available to serve foster and adoptive families in the Monticello area.
So, Hannah, thank you for the vision of donating your farm to love on children, and thank you, Arkansas Baptists, for helping us to become 130 STRONG!