Creating Champions

Jay Gadberry dedicates his time and energy to Champions of Hope for Centers for Youth & Families

By Alexis Nalley | Photography by Rett Peek

   For more than a century, Centers for Youth & Families has been building healthy communities across Arkansas. Through its comprehensive programs and services, CFYF continues a legacy of providing resources that reflect the organization’s values: family, respect, excellence and hope.

   As a member of the Centers for Youth & Families Foundation Board of Trustees, Jay Gadberry says his mother Charlotte Gadberry instilled these beliefs in her family which inspired him to first start volunteering. “She is devoted to improving Little Rock and making it a better place through her service and non-profits, including Centers,” Jay reflects.

   Jay dedicates his time and energy to the organization’s youth leadership program – Champions of Hope. This volunteer society provides young men an opportunity to serve as stewards of CFYF and, Jay believes, it changes their perspective. “Champions of Hope is a unique program with a huge upside that exposes young men to the work that Centers does,” Jay says. “At the same time, our Champions of Hope are taught leadership skills and the importance of philanthropy and community service.”

   The Champions of Hope curriculum addresses timely social issues – depression, suicide prevention and human trafficking – and offers ways to better advocate and change the conversation surrounding mental health. Jay recognizes the value of improving the welfare of all Arkansans, and hopes these young men will utilize the invaluable life lessons that the Champions of Hope program provides to them. The significance of Champions of Hope is the investment “in the lives of these young men and helping them develop goals to be successful in life, business, and making their community a better place by exposing them to the many needs and opportunities around them to serve and help others,” Jay explains.

   Each year, EVOLVE celebrates the evolution of the Centers for Youth & Families as the oldest operating nonprofit organization in Arkansas and generates support for its continued mission fulfillment work. Proceeds fund resources like the Therapeutic Foster Care Program, which was the first in Arkansas and remains the largest in the state today, helping place almost 100 children into loving and nurturing foster homes each year.  A highlight of the evening is recognition of the Champions of Hope for their hard work and dedication to creating a better community. “It is rewarding to me to see 30 gifted young men find and realize their potential in themselves and their city.”

Inviting Arkansas

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