The ACH Women’s Auxiliary dates back to 1962. Here’s a story of one member who joined some 30 years later and is still actively involved.
Sheila Owen learned of ACH through a friend in the early ‘90s. She was working and had a child but still felt the calling to get involved in the community. When her friend told her that she could volunteer and bring her daughter, that sounded doable. At that time, All Church Home, which would later become ACH, had a group residential home on Summit Avenue. Members of the ACH Women’s Auxiliary were invited to holidays and birthday parties for the children in ACH’s care so the kids could experience a family get-together.
In those days, Sheila and family could actually take the kids to outings like miniature golf and other activities that let them share in the fun. And back then, the kids were often at the Summit location until they aged out of foster care, so the Auxiliary members were able to build up a relationship with them.
Still, it was hard to come home from work and want to provide quality time for her two daughters and attend Women’s Auxiliary Meetings. One night, she told her daughter she was going to skip the meeting because she was just too busy. Taylor, her daughter who had accompanied her mom on many a visit, said “Mom, you have to go—you can’t miss that meeting!”
Sheila Owen (left) with daughters Taylor and Courtney.
When Taylor went on to college, it was Sheila’s younger daughter, Courtney, who would join mom in events like the Holiday Store, where ACH kids could pick out gifts for their family and youth care specialists. Mother and daughter would help out by helping the kids shop and even wrap their gifts for them.
Sheila is glad that both of her daughters understood that not all kids are as lucky as they were. And she’s grateful that they learned how good it feels to help others.
Sheila was glad to see ACH move on to placing children in foster homes, so they could grow up in a family environment rather than a group home. She welcomed the approach of preserving families and now of placing children with extended family whenever possible. She believes in change for the better, but we’re grateful one thing hasn’t changed: She’s still actively involved with the ACH Women’s Auxiliary.
Want to make your own history in the Women’s Auxiliary?
ACH Child and Family Services can trace its beginning to 1915, when a group of women dedicated to providing a safe home and hope for a good future to orphans and destitute women with children founded the All Church Home for Children.
In 1962, Board President Mrs. Ben L. Bird formed the Women’s Auxiliary to provide love and attention for the children living in ACH’s care.
The Women’s Auxiliary was reinstated in 2015 to support children and families served by the organization through service opportunities and advocacy in our community.
Women’s History Month is EVERY month at ACH and we are thankful to all who give hope to our children. Find out more here.