January 18, 2012 Edition

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Participating in the $25,000 Walmart Foundation grant presentation to The Children's Shelter were (from left): Tim Hammack, Fran Cavenaugh, Kari Shanks, Judy Turnbull, H.T. Moore, Emily Hathcock and State Rep. James Ratliff.

Shelter receives $25,000 grant

John Bland

The Children's Shelter in Walnut Ridge has received a $25,000 Walmart Foundation grant.

Judy Turnbull, shelter board president, said she is grateful to the Walmart Foundation for this grant, which will be used to finance a program that can make a big difference in the lives of the children.

"Children who come to the shelter have lost their self-esteem and self-confidence - everything they know," Turnbull said. "This program will help give them the life skills to bring all that back, teach them that they are somebody and can do anything."

The program is called "Kids Connection Too," said Emily Hathcock, grant writer for Lawrence County, who wrote the grant for the shelter. Through the program, they will learn life skills to help reduce their risks for such difficulties as juvenile delinquency, teen pregnancy, dropping out of school and drug abuse.

Based on their situations, children in shelters are often at higher risk to succumb to these difficulties, Hathcock said.

Along with Turnbull and Hathcock, others at the shelter Monday for the Walmart Foundation grant presentation were: Kari Shanks, local Walmart manager; Tim Hammack, area Walmart marketing manager; Fran Cavenaugh, shelter board member; H.T. Moore, volunteer shelter attorney; and State Rep. James Ratliff.

"I was really proud that our company was able to help out," said Kari Shanks. "I see the need."

While the shelter began as a dream of Judy Turnbull, it is now an institution that involves many different groups and organizations. "Everybody is invested in the shelter," Shanks added.

"Money is always an issue. The need is constant," said Shanks, adding that the community does a great job supporting the shelter.

Since the shelter opened on June 1, 2009, it has served over 400 children from 25 counties. The 5,500 square-feet shelter is licensed to accommodate up to 12 children at a time, who are allowed to stay for up to 90 days.

Hathcock explained that the grant money will be used to train and subsidize staff, as well as to purchase materials. The program lasts for a 12-week time span. Children at the shelter will be able to enter the program at any time in the 12-week cycle, which will be repeated four times.

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