Jessica Hayhurst, Reporter
Jamie Collier, Editor
Several Berry students have committed to volunteer at Restoration Rome, a new organization focused on restoring the foster care system in Rome and Floyd County.
Restoration Rome partners with the Division of Family and Children Services (DFACS), as well as local churches, to serve as a resource for families who foster or adopt children. Some of their services include after school care, foster parent training and career guidance for birth parents. Several Berry College students have volunteered with this organization since its beginnings in May 2016. Currently, Restoration Rome is looking to raise awareness among college students to recruit more volunteers.
“College students are a wonderful source of energy, new and creative ideas, and passion,” director and founder Mary Margaret said. “Those (students) we have had the pleasure of working with are willing to do whatever is needed and maintain a wonderful attitude.”
There are about six current Berry students who volunteer to work at Restoration Rome. Hours are flexible to work with students’ schedules so they can come in anytime they are able to help. There are a variety of areas for students to get involved in at Restoration Rome including social media and public relations, photography, event hosting, and other workday jobs.
Junior Emily Smith volunteers 5-6 hours a week.
“Because it is so new, (Restoration Rome) has many different ways that you can get involved,” Smith said. “You are not limited as to how you can help.”
The organization hosted a kickoff event in May 2016 at Berry College to raise awareness and recruit more volunteers. They will be planning more events in the future to get Berry students involved. The hope is that, with the help of college students from the community, Restoration Rome will continue to grow even more rapidly.
“Restoration Rome is a hub for everything foster care,” Callette Hollingsworth, director of the after school program, said. “We will house a comprehensive care center which will include intake of children removed from their home, visitation center for children and their biological parents, a medical clinic, services for biological parents, training for foster parents, and adoptive services.”
As the foster care center of Rome, the ultimate goal of Restoration Rome is to lower the number of foster care children in Rome and Floyd County. Currently, there are about 400 kids in the foster care system. The organization has plans to expand to reach further into the Rome community in order to help these children.
“Restoration Rome will transform the foster community, and will help to ease the crisis that we have in Floyd County,” Hollingsworth said. “I also anticipate that we will help to start other Restoration communities in cities around our state and country.”
If you are interested in helping with Restoration Rome, you can visit restorationrome.org to find out more about the work they are doing and how they are impacting the community.