Leaders of three area organizations are poised to launch new residential facilities for those in need
These are the true stories of people who refused to take no for an answer.
A teenage girl visited a children’s home and felt immediately compelled to open one of her own, despite her young age and seemingly insurmountable financial hurdles.
A couple discovered that human trafficking was happening right here in our city and stepped up to stop it, ignoring the chorus of naďve assertions that it was only a problem overseas or in larger urban areas.
A group of parents of children with special needs banded together to dream up a way to provide for their sons’ and daughters’ long-term needs, even though nothing of the kind had ever been done in Louisiana.
In the face of colossal obstacles, and though it took years to see their dreams take shape, these moral visionaries persisted with single-minded determination. And now, in a remarkable if coincidental convergence, each of the three concepts is set to become concrete reality in the coming months. That stubborn insistence on staying the course is paying off in a way that will help a host of Louisiana residents—as well as people from outside our borders—improve their lives.
“It hasn’t been easy or perfect,” says Vicki Ellis, that 14-year-old girl who now, 20 years later, is executive director of the soon-to-open Christian children’s home known as Heritage Ranch. “You go to people and you share your vision and they pat you on your head and say, ‘You don’t know what you’re getting into.’ They want to save you from yourself. But others knew what it would take and were still willing to help. So now it’s not just me.”
At Heritage Ranch and the other two new area entities, Hope House for human trafficking victims and St. Andrew’s Village for developmentally disabled adults, community support has been key to carrying out their founders’ plans. Volunteers have labored and sweated, taking on tasks as simple as raking leaves and as complex as constructing houses; others have opened checkbooks or coordinated fundraisers. Having that kind of help assures these leaders that their facilities will become a fundamental part of the Louisiana landscape.
“Because of the volunteer effort and everything that has been donated, it really is amazing what we’ve been able to do,” says Laura Domingue of Hope House. “It’s been so encouraging and inspiring to see that.”
The wide-open spaces of Heritage Ranch will serve as a sanctuary for children in crisis
Human trafficking victims will find a haven for self-renewal at Hope House of Louisiana
A choice community
St. Andrew’s Village promises adults with special needs the freedom and support to thrive