Women & Children First breaks the cycle of domestic violence – providing crisis intervention, safe shelter, legal advocacy and emotional support that are critical resources for families. Kristen Belew believes that these fundamentals for a happy + healthy life are something everyone can support and everyone deserves. “When it comes to eliminating domestic violence, our mission is as clear as black and white. We won’t stop until domestic violence is no more.” Chairmen Kristen and Barrett Belew will welcome guests to the Women of the Year Gala in celebration of the organization’s legacy and continued mission fulfillment work.
As parents of young children, Kristen and Barrett defined their own family values that help guide decisions. “We created values that we want our boys to have as they get older; we want those values to impact the way they treat people and how they approach life,” Barrett elaborates. His parents encouraged him to find and connect with good people. “People who you can trust, who are honest and who will hold you accountable.” The couple has friends and colleagues who reflect these priorities and they support organizations that empower fellow Arkansans.
Barrett was introduced to Women & Children First through his work at HoganTaylor. “I’ve been committed to Women & Children First since day one. Over the past three years, I have learned so much about domestic violence in our community and state. There has never been a greater need to help women and children with a light at the end of the tunnel.” Kristen adds, “The leadership at Women & Children First is a highly motivated and passionate group.” She recognizes intrinsic qualities that are necessary to improve the welfare of women and children. “Safety and security are the cornerstones of life. If social needs are not met, we cannot expect people to be productive members of society.” This requires strategic and thorough cooperation among related agencies with the expertise to address a myriad of symptoms.
For more than 40 years, the state’s largest domestic violence shelter has transformed lives with a continuum of services that relies on strong community partnerships. Collaboration is evident at the Arkansas Children’s Clark Center for Safe & Healthy Children and with Children’s Advocacy Centers throughout Arkansas. A centralized location to address immediate needs is a critical component to providing a safe haven for clients. Women & Children First Campaign of Courage Chairman Cathy Browne elaborates, “The necessary momentum is in place to create the most comprehensive center in Arkansas. The Family Peace Center has the support of city, state and federal officials.” The organization introduced the Campaign of Courage in the midst of the pandemic, when this most vulnerable population – women and children in abusive relationships – were incredibly isolated. “Our timing for the campaign placed this public health crisis in the conversation with more than 15 agencies across the state.” Cathy realizes it’s the shared vision – a brighter future for fellow Arkansans – that makes Campaign of Courage possible and it is constituents, like Kristen and Barrett, who will continue the Women & Children First legacy of service. “We have the foundation to make the Family Peace Center a reality – it’s no longer just the dream we considered five years ago. Kristen and Barrett represent the next generation of advocates devoted to removing the obstacles for women with a safe and secure place filled with love.”
The Campaign of Courage will be a highlight at the Women of the Year Gala. The evening will also recognize Inviting Arkansas for its unwavering commitment to Women & Children First. “Inspired by their spirit, the atmosphere will be meaningful and fun,” Barrett adds. “We will enjoy smooth grooves and lively entertainment by Mayday by Midnight with a grand celebration of the people invested in Women & Children First.” The purpose of the gathering and the mission of the organization will remain paramount. Kristen adds, “To meet the foundational needs of safety and security for women and children on the worst day. I honestly can’t think of any work more impactful to society. Arkansas is infinitely better because of Women & Children First.”