The nonprofit organization that focuses on helping children break the cycle of poverty teamed up with the University of Arkansas at Little Rock twenty-five years ago, and is still growing.
Thursday, October 12, the team celebrated their long-awaited renovated building. The building held the past, present, and future as the previous director, Cheryl Chapman, joined the current director, Ryan Davis, to welcome everyone to look forward to the great things they can achieve through this organization.
“We don’t have a future in this community without the children of this community,” said Ryan Davis in his welcome speech.
Davis has worked in youth center programs for 20 years, so as he puts it, his job is a natural fit for him. The conversation about renovating and restructuring the Children International building first came up a year ago in October 2016.
“We had a very long discussion about how an updated facility would not only help us facilitate better programming, but there’s also a psychological benefit to being able to work in a refreshed space,” Davis said.
The facility has definitely been refreshed. The once-bleak exterior now welcomes you with a brightly painted teal front door. The interior of the building is just as friendly and features bright colors in each room.
The Children International facility is owned by UA Little Rock and is the only one in the United States. Davis stressed the importance of being connected to an urban metropolitan university.
“What made it possible, actually, is the connection to UA Little Rock,” Davis said, “All of the resources that the campus has to offer, they continuously extend to us, and so what it really means is an opportunity for us to continue to be a part of an engaged campus community as well as an opportunity for us to show the university as a beacon on the hill for children who would otherwise not be able to be engaged with it.”
The Children International organization also credits a lot of its success to Cheryl Chapman. During Davis’s welcoming speech he also dedicated the new space to her by unveiling a picture of her working in the new welcome center.