17 May 2021 Answering The Call
By Becky Bell
Making a difference that will live beyond her is the goal of Louise Witcher, coordinator for Children of Arkansas Loved for a Lifetime (The CALL) for Faulkner and Conway counties. The Little Rock-based organization works to increase the number of children placed in loving foster and adoptive homes.
Witcher’s interest in helping establish The CALL began about 16 years ago when she was serving as a Court Appointed Special Advocate. CASA volunteers speak up and advocate for abused and neglected children in the courtroom and other settings. Today, she continues serving with CASA and spends about 25 percent of her time as an advocate and 75 percent of her time with The CALL.
“I have seen many children in homes that I didn’t even want my dog to be in,” she said. “We wanted to see if we could get [foster parents] with a heart for ministry to surely have a place better for these kids. It’s been going strong since. It’s a desire for a better home for our kids.”
Over the past 10 years, Witcher has successfully led The Call in placing children and raising money for the various needs of the kids. Her most visible accomplishment has been spearheading the renovation of the old Second Baptist Church parsonage in Conway. This building will become CALL House, a multi-purpose facility for different functions of the local organization.
Dawn Burnett has watched Witcher’s work with The CALL and admires her effort.
“She has poured her life into The CALL,” Burnett said. “Everybody adores her. She’s my hero! She fights for foster families and biological families. Louise is all about the kids and helping families reunify.”
One of the most rewarding aspects of her work is to hear the success stories of children who were helped by The CALL. Witcher said a young man named Truett, now in his 20s, came into the program when he was 14. He had been staying in a group home and on the first night there was hit by another child. Truett ended up being taken to the hospital with a broken jaw.
Luckily, a Christian couple from Little Rock decided to take a chance on him, she said, adding that teenagers are the hardest to place because of their age and, at times, difficulty to handle. However, Truett responded well to the home and was even saved while there. Now he is a missionary in Guatemala working with children.
A former tanning salon and boutique owner, Witcher said God brought her into CASA and showed her the needs of children through her work there. She had only been working as an advocate for four years when she started working for The CALL.
She recalls making a “Gideon Promise” to God, asking if he would take care of some of the problems in her life she couldn’t fix, she would gladly work for The CALL. She said He not only answered that prayer, but has also helped her resist fostering every child personally, describing herself as the type of person who would “take all the puppies from the pound” if she had been led to work there.
“This has definitely been something that has been good for me and has been good for the children,” she said.