The CALL Executive Director Lauri Currier encourages churches and families to consider how individual support can transform the life of a child in foster care.
By Jillian McGehee | Photography by Jodie Kelly | Hair by Desirae Soto with Just Blow – A Blowout Bar | Makeup by Ashley Springer with Belle & Blush
In commemoration of National Foster Care Month, Lauri Currier, executive director of The CALL, encourages the community to consider how individual support helps foster children. “Every little pebble can make a difference,” she says.
“Imagine this: You’re standing beside a beautiful lake. You have a pebble in your hand and throw it into the lake. Watch the ripples as they move across the water. Notice that ripples do not stop until they reach the other side. You’ve just moved an entire body of water with one little pebble.”
Lauri considers herself a pebble, reflecting on how The CALL was established and how she became involved. The organization’s mission is to educate, equip and encourage the Christian community to provide hope and a happy future for children in foster care in Arkansas.
As an active member of a women’s Bible study at Fellowship Bible Church, Lauri began to realize her life’s mission during a time when her father’s life was nearing an end. She learned that he and his four siblings were abandoned when he was only 2 years old. The children were eventually adopted by a loving, foster family.
“A stable, loving home can make a huge difference in a child’s life,” Lauri says. “My dad was blessed with the gift of a loving family. He grew from an abandoned 2-year-old to an internationally renowned physician. His adoptive family helped him break the cycle of abandonment and abuse. My dad was a wonderful husband to my mother and father to me and my siblings because of the love and stability of a family.”
Lauri participated in a self-discovery Bible class in 2006 and several months later the church shared a video about a new ministry – The CALL.” She served in volunteer capacity before joining The CALL in 2008. “My work with The CALL has involved lots of different roles over the past nine years. I’ve worked closely with families as they have gone through the process to foster or adopt, I’ve developed relationships with churches and helped them build support teams, I’ve coordinated events and worked on resource development and I’ve recruited and supported volunteers. In the role of statewide executive director, I am leading the expansion and organizational development of The CALL across Arkansas.”
The organization has expanded its programs and services from one county to 44 throughout the state. About 5,200 children in Arkansas are in foster care, Lauri says. “Each one of those children has been brought into care at no fault of their own but because of neglect or abuse. They have suffered trauma because of this neglect and abuse. When children come into care, they need a safe home equipped to help them heal from the trauma they’ve suffered.”
The CALL works in partnership with the Arkansas Division of Children and Family Services to recruit, train and support Christian foster and adoptive families to open their homes to children in care. “Our focus is the church – multiple denominations and multiple churches,” Lauri notes. The CALL is recognized by the Christian Alliance for Orphans National Foster Care Initiative as a Bridge Organization – it is a parachurch ministry that facilitates cooperation between the church and the state agency.
“We connect and support families and volunteers with the Division of Children and Family Services. Our local affiliates are boots on the ground in their communities, building local church relationships, recruiting and training local families to foster or adopt and working closely with the local staff at the Division of Children and Family Services to meet the needs of local children in foster care.”
The shortage of foster care in Arkansas has a simple solution, Lauri attests. “There are 6,000 churches in Arkansas. If one family from every church came forward to foster, we would have more than enough loving homes. If one family in every 10 churches came forward to adopt, no more children would be waiting for a forever family.”