Posted on Hometown Headlines – January 29, 2018
On any given day, more than 350 children are living in foster care in Floyd County. It’s a growing crisis that Restoration Rome seeks to help combat through the development of a one-of-a-kind hub for foster care services to meet needs of the children and to reduce the long-term effects of trauma in their lives.
“More and more people are starting to recognize the severity of the growing foster care crisis in Rome and Floyd County. These are our children and they need our help to navigate this traumatic time in their lives. Restoration Rome is a way to bring the necessary service providers under one roof,” says Jeff Mauer, who co-founded Restoration Rome with his wife, Mary Margaret Mauer, Ph.D. Restoration Rome is a ministry of their bigger organization, Global Impact International.
In 2016, Global Impact International, in partnership with the City of Rome, acquired the old Southeast Elementary School on Crane Street in Rome to create the Restoration Rome Center for Foster Care Services. So, while they have the roof, they now need the funds to transform the building.
“We have a 50,000-square-foot facility and 90 percent of it needs to be repurposed for our comprehensive care center. This will be a foster intake and triage facility…the first of its kind in the state,” says Dr. Courtney Cash, vice president of Development and Community Engagement.
“We will partner directly with Floyd County Department of Family and Children’s Services (DFCS) so that when children are removed from their home, they are brought here to the intake center where we can provide a place of comfort, examination and assessment to help determine a regimen of care and help reduce the impact of both immediate and long-term trauma to the child.”
To launch the build-out campaign, Global Impact International/Restoration Rome in partnership with Heritage First Bank will be hosting the inaugural ‘Hearts of Hope’ Celebration on Tuesday, Feb. 13. Deemed “a different kind of date night,” the invitation-only event will bring community leaders together for a festive evening of live jazz, appetizers and a chocolate buffet, as well as a presentation on the plans and vision for Restoration Rome’s future.
“Heritage First Bank is honored to serve as host for the Hearts of Hope Celebration. Via a unique collaborative with other well-known organizations in our area, Restoration Rome does so much for so many. We share the same commitment to making our community a place where individuals and families may thrive and reach their fullest potential,” says Ryan Earnest, president and CEO of Heritage First Bank.
“The Heritage First family considers it a privilege to be involved, and with the presentation of a ‘Different Kind of Date Night;’ we hope that our partnership in the event will serve as a platform to significantly enhance its reach of services and exposure throughout our region.”
The event will held in the lobby of the bank’s main office at 501 Broad St. Attendees will enjoy a Valentine-themed atmosphere. Following the event, couples can then take advantage of a dinner specials at one of three Broad Street restaurants: Harvest Moon, La Scala Mediterranean Bistro or Crawdaddy’s.
“We decided to offer something unique on Feb. 13 since Valentine’s Day is on Wednesday this year and most folks have church commitments. It should be a very fun evening and gives us the opportunity to share our vision and hopefully get the community involved to support our efforts,” says Cash.
Interior demolition already is under way with a demolition day held this past Saturday. Construction is set to begin in the next 30 days. They hope to have the Comprehensive Care Center complete in a few months. The next phase of renovations includes the collaborative office space for 10-15 children’s service agencies followed by creation of a health clinic, and then a family resource center all within the walls of the center on Crane Street.
“We are so thankful for the City of Rome, local churches, DFCS and Juvenile Court administration, and the other amazing children’s service partners, who are helping us turn this vision into reality. This is truly a collaborative effort to transform our community,” says Mauer.
“With continued support of the community, we will see fewer children enter care, more state approved homes for children in care, and strengthened families reunified with their children.”