Wednesday’s Child: Immerse Arkansas brings support, services to teens aging out of foster care

Wednesday’s Child
January 01 2022 12:00 am

November is National Adoption Month, and we are dedicated to helping kids find families through our Wednesday’s Child Series. But what happens for those who never find a home and age out of the system? Immerse Arkansas provides the help these young people need, as they step in as the family they never had.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Visitors walking into Immerse Arkansas are greeted by Regina Jones at the front desk.

She has a heart for those she welcomes in because she once walked through the same doors.

“I was 20 years old. I came in in 2018 ” Jones recalled, remembering how her life immediately changed in a moment. “After getting into Immerse, I was placed into one of their homes, and I received my first job.”

She is one of so many who have been impacted by the work of Immerse. They help people between the ages of 14 to 24, many of whom are teens who aged out of foster care and didn’t have anywhere to go.  

“They come from different backgrounds and have dealt with significant trauma,” Immerse Arkansas program director Ardelia Rodgers explained. “What is missing is that constant person in their lives that want to make a positive impact.”

Immerse offers emergency shelter and a youth center called The OC, which was recently renovated and re-opened in August.

“Young people can come in and get a hot meal, take a shower and do laundry,” development director Sydney Foster said. “We have programming with life skills and coaches to help people walk through their goals.”

 A big part of their program offers coaching and mentorship.

“We really strive to pair every youth in our programs with a mentor,” Rodgers said. “Someone who will be constant in their lives and someone who will provide guidance, support and encouragement.”

They assist with everything, from finances and budgeting to helping find housing and get a job. They are getting young people back on their feet and on the right track.

“What’s significant in these relationships is there a sense of healing,” Rodgers noted.

For Jones, she says without Immerse she can’t imagine where she would be now and is forever thankful for their help.

“I am so thankful for Immerse,” she said. “I came a long way and I appreciate them and love them.”

Immerse is currently in need of mentors and volunteers to help young people. If you are interested in volunteering or would like to help in any way, head to ImmerseArkansas.org.

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