Month: April 2020

Adding LIFE to Our Garden

Special Volunteer Opportunities Blossom at ACH

Even with the COVID-19 outbreak, volunteering is still the heart of ACH. Without our volunteers, we would not have the support we need for our children and families.

During the pandemic, young adults in our care created a volunteering initiative by founding a gardening club sprouting from the Wichita campus! Clients and staff from the LIFE Project have come together to form the Sprouts Gardening Committee, to spruce up the community garden, which will continue to grow beautiful flowers and fresh fruits and vegetables for all clients who live on campus. The young adults will be able to log the hours they spend working on the garden to go toward volunteer credits.

Young adults from life noticed that the campus garden looked a little rundown. Instantly, they had a desire to bring it back to life.

 “They just want to beautify the garden on campus, and they seem very passionate about it,” said Cassie Morgan, a LIFE Project Mentor. “We’re very excited.”

What is the LIFE Project?

ACH’s LIFE (Learning Independence from Experience) Project is a program that builds self-confidence and self-sufficiency in young adults ages 18 to 21 who are homeless or are in extended foster care. They live on our Wichita campus where they are given guidance, support, and assistance in developing life skills—such as applying to college, entering the workforce, and preparing to live independently.

Sprouting Hope

The garden committee could not have started at a better time. Before the pandemic, many of the clients were applying for jobs but, because of shelter in place, plans were put on hold. With all the uncertainties, the garden gives them a way to unwind and destress while volunteering, while at the same time providing sustainable products for our residential clients.

“I think they enjoy getting out of their rooms, getting away from the TV, and just digging in some dirt,” Cassie said.

Cassie is most looking forward to the sense of community and teamwork the committee will bring.

“I think this is another unique way that we can connect with clients with other areas of campus,” Cassie said. “I see so much beauty in that.

Cultivating LIFE

Several of the young adults from the LIFE Project were strolling around campus one evening and noticed that the garden looked a little run down. Instantly, they had a desire to bring it back to life.

“We set a time to meet,” Cassie explained. “Four clients showed up and they took it from there.”

So far, the committee has been pulling weeds and refreshing the soil in the garden. For now, they are going to focus on planting seedlings. They even have plans to add artwork.

“A lot of our clients that are a part of this garden project are extremely artistic,” Cassie said. “We are always looking for ways for them to try a new art skill.”

Eventually, they hope the garden will produce fruits and veggies for everyone at ACH to enjoy.

Help Us Grow!

For the garden to flourish, the Sprouts Gardening Committee needs a helping hand from our community.

We are currently asking for in-kind donations that include seeds, plants, soil, and gardening tools. For the safety of our clients, all donations must be new and unopened and through appointment only.

Schedule a Drop-Off

Got a green thumb? Tips and tricks from gardening clubs and horticulturists could really help our budding gardeners and are most appreciated!

Send Us Tips

Perseverance Through the Pandemic

ACH adjusts care during COVID-19 outbreak

Right now, times are scary for many as the world is dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak. In this time of darkness, ACH is working to bring light, positivity and security to the families and children of Tarrant County. We’re also joining with others to bring needed resources.

For ACH, “Kids can’t wait,” is not just a mantra, but what drives our staff to adapt during this crisis to provide the best care.


In ACH’s Foster Care and Adoption program, staff is working to maintain social distancing as much as possible, including working with therapists to have more teleconferencing sessions with families.

However, ACH follows the law and is still doing home visits for biological family visits, as does the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services

“ACH’s foster care, adoption and kinship staff will continue to ensure all our homes are safe and all children and families are cared for,” said Stella Maggs, Director of Foster Care and Adoption. “We are supporting and thinking outside the box to provide whatever our clients need at any time. It’s a new experience for all.”

Families Together

ACH’s Families Together program is also working to incorporate social distancing as much as possible. Families Together provides temporary housing for mothers and children who have been displaced due to domestic violence.

Staff have been modeling social distancing by staying six feet away from each other as well as keeping clients informed on safe and healthy practices.

“We remain in communication and present for our clients,” said Olga Luna, a Families Together Case Manager.

Because many of the Families Together clients are dealing with depression and anxiety from trauma, Olga said the uncertainties that come from the outbreak have been especially hard on them.

“We continue to inform about reliable sources for information in the wealth of mixed messages online,” Olga said. “We are also encouraging healthy ways of coping with the stress and exploring ways to stay connected even with social distancing.”

The children in Families Together also have difficulties dealing with the outbreak and having to keep a distance from others.

“They often time will run up to staff to hug us as soon as they see us,” said Olga “With those that are old enough we are informing and encouraging distance hugs.”

Youth Emergency Shelter

The COVID-19 response puts a financial and emotional strain on many families that can lead to an increased risk of child abuse and neglect. Find out how to RECOGNIZE THE

If you suspect abuse, use the Texas Abuse Hotline Website. A hotline is provided for cases requiring a response
within 24 hours.

ACH’s on-site Youth Emergency Shelter has been taking preventive measures to keep youth safe from COVID-19. The Youth Emergency Shelter, currently the only one in Tarrant County, is an immediate safe haven for youth 10-17 who are runaways, homeless or human trafficking survivors.

Shelter staff have taken steps to create an isolation room should a child become symptomatic.

“There has been an increase use of board games, arts and craft activities, and kids are cooking with the staff more often and have especially enjoyed baking cookies and other desserts for the shelter,” said Sharon Soh, the Youth Emergency Shelter Clinical Manager.

We need your help

While our staff has been amazing at persevering through this crisis, help from our community is always appreciated and makes a big difference in the lives of our clients.

ACH is currently in need of in-kind items such as hand sanitizer, all-purpose cleaner, and Lysol/Clorox wipes to help keep our families and children clean. We also need puzzles, board games, card games, and craft supplies.  For the safety of our clients, all donations must be new and unopened and through appointment only.

Schedule a drop-off!

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