Photography by Lori Sparkman Photography
Fellow Arkansans – neighbors, colleagues and friends – are sharing a light of peace, kindness and generosity that makes The Natural State a little brighter. Inviting Arkansas and Methodist Family Health celebrate individuals who illuminate our community with goodness. Nominate someone today for a future feature that SHINES.
“We don’t turn any kids away. We help everybody – no matter the situation.”
Rudnick Caldwell exemplifies a visionary leader. His thoughtful nature places people as THE priority for a promising future. His realization and cultivation of the potential in kids spans decades and began with his role as a tutor for neighborhood kids. However, this narrative must be prefaced with a fact – the initial “tutoring program” was 16-year-old Rudnick helping his younger sister with her schoolwork.
The improved grades and related success of Rudnick’s sister quickly spread and the tutoring program expanded to include more than ten neighborhood children – free of charge. Parents of his young charges sent snacks and other goodies to show appreciation and keep them motivated. Impressive results continued; Rudnick was making an impact in his community as a young, high school student.
Rudnick recalls this memory as a defining milestone in his own pursuit of a career in education. Through a network of job opportunities, he was introduced to Methodist Behavioral Hospital – the only nonprofit behavioral hospital for children in the state, and a cornerstone of Methodist Family Health’s continuum of care. Almost ten years later, Rudnick has an impressive tenure at the hospital. He joined the team of experts as a behavioral instructor and worked with the kids receiving care and services from Methodist Family Health. Many of these children, ages five to 17 years old, are abandoned, abused, neglected and struggling with psychiatric, behavioral, emotional and spiritual issues. Methodist Family Health’s President and CEO Andy Altom explains, “Rudnick has such a positive impact on the little boys in our care. They follow him around just longing for his approval and respect.” Staff, volunteers and patients also recognize his outstanding level of care, which led to Rudnick becoming lead behavioral instructor. Leadership at the hospital soon realized Rudnick’s heart for service could not only inspire clients, but his fellow team members as well.
Accolades continued and Rudnick soon became a trainer for new employees throughout Methodist Family Health’s continuum of care. This role is an appointed position. Orientation trainers share the Methodist Family Health mission + vision with new team members – preparing them to become true ambassadors for the organization. Methodist Family Health Director of Communications Kelli Reep jokes, “I didn’t know one thing about our mission or the teaching-family model we use, but Rudnick quickly got me up to speed.” She affirms, “This role is no small feat – you have to be a special person who knows the values and teachings of the family model to teach it so effectively to others.”
Currently, Rudnick serves as a program consultant at Methodist Behavioral Hospital and the psychiatric residential treatment center in Little Rock. Although his duties are more administrative, adolescents at the hospital are a priority that Rudnick considers his responsibility as well as an opportunity to cultivate the next generation of leaders “Rudnick makes the kids feel like anything is possible… He helps them acknowledge their self-worth and personal potential.” Kelli adds, “When Rudnick is on duty, it’s going to be a good day.”
Rudnick’s wife Shareka and their children Rudnick Jr. and Skyla reside in North Little Rock and continue to make a positive impact in their community.
Sponsored by Methodist Family Health | Nominations accepted at Foundation@MethodistFamily.org
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