Be A Bridge, this year’s theme of the EVOLVE Gala, reflects the legacy of Centers for Youth & Families and its continued commitment to all Arkansans. Friends and patrons will gather for an evening that recognizes the mission fulfillment work, the people who make it possible and the Champions of Hope. Chairmen Priscilla and Keith Harvey are excited to celebrate their friends, future leaders and an organization that provides comprehensive, integrated care that promotes physical, emotional and social wellness.
The couple shares a devotion to the welfare of children. Priscilla remembers working at the Arkansas Department of Human Services in Garland County. “I was a caseworker for children placed in the foster care system and came to understand the need for therapeutic facilities for children.” Keith reflects on growing in the neighborhood with Stepping Stone, Inc. – a predecessor of Centers for Youth & Families. “I learned the need for foster care because of it.” Keith and Priscilla determined civic leadership as a priority in their family values and reveal, “The Centers aligned with all of our goals for giving: a well-run, impactful and cost-conscious organization focused on children and families in Central Arkansas, particularly serving foster children and children in need of psychiatric care.” It started with monthly donations and evolved into more meaningful community service.
The Centers Foundation Director Melissa Hendricks met Keith and Priscilla during an interview for the neighborhood publication Hillcrest Life. When she learned of the couple’s interest in Centers for Youth & Families, she introduced Keith to The Centers Foundation Board of Directors. As Uniti Group, Inc. Senior Vice President & Deputy Counsel, Keith and a team of industry experts build critical communication infrastructure that connects the world. Similarly, he is devoted to being a bridge for underserved Arkansans and the work of Centers for Youth & Families. Priscilla serves on the EVOLVE Gala auction committee, and together they volunteer at the annual Halloween festival. Melissa affirms, “Priscilla and Keith Harvey are dedicated and committed to their community, with their words and their actions, and understand the importance of providing an opportunity for success for all children.” With mutual admiration Priscilla states, “At the end of the day, it’s really very simple what The Centers offers our community and constitutes its greatest contribution: compassion and support.”
Established in 1884, Centers for Youth & Families is the oldest continuously-operating nonprofit organization in Arkansas. Melissa expands, “We serve more than 4,000 people from almost every county in Arkansas each year, from babies to older people, with services across a mental and behavioral health spectrum.” The portfolio of services includes child + adolescent residential care, therapeutic foster care, day treatment programs, substance use treatment programming, prevention services, outpatient counseling, and a 24/7/365 crisis hotline.
Presented by Uniti Group, Inc., proceeds from the EVOLVE Gala support these life-changing programs at Centers for Youth & Families. It will be a night of celebration and recognition. A highlight is the presentation of 57 young men who have completed a year of service through the Champions of Hope program as well as the Hero of Hope – Del Boyette. Priscilla notes there are so many people responsible for cultivating a healthy future for the most vulnerable Arkansans. “It is in the love and care that staff gives each child that walks through the doors.” A service made possible through heroes like Del and Karen Flake, board of directors like Matt Buchanan, or committee members and volunteers purchasing school supplies. “Every volunteer and staff member for The Centers is a bridge that allows children and families in need to reach the other side.” Keith concludes, “The reward of working with The Centers is being reminded that so many people will answer the call to make sure that The Centers can continue to do the excellent work for our community.”