Photography by Dero Sanford
Each year, EVOLVE celebrates the evolution of Centers for Youth & Families. It reflects the organization’s continued mission fulfillment work, more than 100 years strong, and the ability to adapt to meet the most critical needs of Arkansans. Chairmen Tami and Brian Bean will welcome guests to an entertaining evening of the Capital City’s rendition of NBC’s The Voice – featuring musical acts by local artists in a fun and friendly competition. A highlight is recognition of the Champions of Hope, the organization’s youth leadership program, for their hard work and dedication creating a better community.
Dr. Brian Bean initially experienced the transformative programs + services of Centers for Youth & Families as a University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences student. He explains, “The resources that The Centers provides are essential for the children, youth and families of Arkansas to live happier, healthier lives and prepare for a more positive future.” The family’s tenure with the organization spans more than 25 years, most recently their sons participated as a Champion of Hope.
Centers for Youth & Families is the oldest continuously-operating nonprofit organization in Arkansas. From its beginning as the Children’s Aid Society to The Centers that served 5,200+ Arkansans last year, the vision of Centers for Youth & Families remains steadfast – building healthy children, families and communities. Centers for Youth & Families CEO Melissa Dawson elaborates, “Youth in our care learn how to cope with behavioral health challenges. They work through past trauma and learn to enjoy life again.”
The Champions of Hope was developed as an extension of the organization’s values – family, respect, excellence and hope – with an ideal of cultivating a deeper understanding of the challenges many families experience. The curriculum addresses timely social issues including depression, suicide prevention and human trafficking as well as ways to better advocate and change the conversation surrounding mental health. This diverse group of young men shares a finite focus on civic leadership and community service. Tami elaborates, “Two of our sons have participated in the program. It offers a unique opportunity to engage with The Centers and support the mission through volunteering, learning and participating in philanthropic events.”
It represents a vision for the future as the next generation of patrons. Centers for Youth & Families Foundation Director Melissa Hendricks explains, “The young men in our program are tomorrow’s leaders. We believe developing a sense of empathy with the tools to help create solutions make the Champions of Hope our HOPE for the future and the sustainability of the organization. The Beans have embraced the program and their sons are a testament to the power of knowledge combined with a heart for service.” Tami adds, “We are grateful to The Centers for helping us prepare our sons for the future. Champions of Hope is incredibly important to our family; we can’t wait for our third son to participate. This has become a proud Bean family tradition.”