Monday, March 9, 2009

Community Service

As a guild, River city prides itself in its pursuit of learning and application of educational skills, offering a forum for discussion and display of a quilter’s expertise. The guild goes one step further in providing volunteer service to the community in hopes of enriching the lives of some of the citizens of the Baton Rouge area.

Parker House

Contact: Darlene Abbot, social worker and coordinator of volunteer services, 578 Caddo Street, Baton Rouge, 928-9398 for any in-kind donations.

What is Parker House?

As a branch of Volunteers of America, Parker House is a local facility for abused children. It is a clearinghouse and clinical treatment facility for children (60) that have become wards of the court through no fault of their own. The immediate solution is to provide a stable home environment at the main facility of Parker House on Caddo St. or through its network of foster care operations. The long-term goal is to either return the child to his parents when it has been determined to be a safe environment or placement in foster care or in adoptive family surroundings. It is not an easy task. Many of this children are “hard to place” due to mental, physical, or psychological handicaps.

The youth population is disbursed into four programs: Parker House (Caddo St.) has seven beds available, Therapeutic Foster Care treats about 20, the balance is distributed between Family-based Services (those at-risk children who may be remanded to state custody) and a new fourth phase, Post Adoptive Care Clinic. The latter phase came into being when it became apparent that children traumatized by abuse often have serious emotional problems that surface at the onset of puberty. Some problems persist even after the child had been placed in a good home environment and had been adopted.

Child abuse is a hurt that seems to linger for a long time. Its effects are long lasting.

Funding is multi-level: Office of Community Services, a state agency, provides 66%, Federal grant monies provide a small portion for clinical time, the other 33% of the operating budget is made up of the United Way, Junior League, Kiwanis, and in-kind donations made by organizations like us. Some of these donations include school supplies, toys, clothing and household items.

What service does the guild provide?

The guild members make quilts to be given to the children involved in the Parker House system. Darlene lets the child select his or her own quilt. It is theirs to keep for always. The population is primarily adolescent, but there are some crib babies. The quilts that are made are usually lap size, machine quilted or tied, sporting juvenile themes such as: cartoons, animals, boy or girl, just about anything. Cheater cloth is fun to use here.