Vera Lloyd Presbyterian Family Services
Photography by SARAH ODEN | Shot on Location at AC HOTEL BY MARRIOTT DOWNTOWN LITTLE ROCK
Vera Lloyd Presbyterian Family Services is an organization with a mission to heal, prepare and empower children, youth and families. The enduring commitment of the Riggs family helped established the organization and remains instrumental in shaping the vision and future of Vera Lloyd Presbyterian Family Services. Marci Riggs continues this legacy of service.
The family’s association with Vera Lloyd Presbyterian Family Services dates back to Marci’s remarkable great-great-grandmother, Lulu Jackson Williamson. Lulu, along with other compassionate women from Monticello, established a daycare in 1910 for the children of mothers employed at the Monticello Cotton Mill. Marci retells, “This nursery, which provided emergency care for abandoned twin girls, soon transformed into a permanent home for abandoned children and the beginnings of Vera Lloyd.” Lulu served as the superintendent, treasurer and fundraiser – writing solicitation letters to churches, businesses and individuals. Her spirit and devotion to the children in her care earned her the nickname “Mother Williamson.”
Marci’s great-grandmother, Charlotte Williamson, also championed the cause of Vera Lloyd Presbyterian Family Services. Williamson Hall, a prominent building on the organization’s campus, stands as a testament to the permanent impact. Marci shares, “It represents a part of my family history. Helping displaced children who just need a loving place to lay their heads at night is a wonderful family legacy.”
For Marci, one of the most rewarding aspects has been her role on the Vera Lloyd Presbyterian Family Services Foundation Board of Directors since 2016. She enjoys helping manage the organization’s endowment and providing invaluable support of fundraising efforts. “I love working with professionals who are committed to helping children who, through no fault of their own, need a helping hand. Seeing them thrive in the environment at Vera Lloyd is like nothing else I have experienced.” Vera Lloyd Presbyterian Family Services CEO Donna Mahurin adds, “Vera Lloyd provides a safe home where our residents not only have their basic needs met, but also receive behavioral health services, cultural enrichment opportunities and resources to help them plan for their future.”
Marci Riggs and her family’s devotion to Vera Lloyd Presbyterian Family Services reflects the power of kindness allowing the organization to flourish and provide a safe haven. Donna concludes, “We will continue to meet the ever-changing needs of Arkansas children, youth and families by expanding existing or implementing new programs. Serving foster and at risk youth can be challenging, but our staff ensures that our campus always feels like home. Our founder Lulu Williamson called Vera Lloyd a home back in 1923. We were a home then, we are a home now and we will continue to be a home that changes and saves lives.”