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EVOLVE: Transforming Communities



Trena Nosler will welcome friends and patrons to EVOLVE: A Night in the Jungle for an evening that celebrates the continued work of Centers For Youth & Families – improving the welfare of Arkansas families.

By Kim Meyer-Webb | Photography by Sara Reeves | Hair & Makeup by Kakki Jones with Beauty & Style by Kakki | Wardrobe from Barbara Jean | Special Thanks to Tanarah Luxe Floral

Centers for Youth & Families is the oldest continuously-operating nonprofit organization in Arkansas. From its beginning as the Children’s Aid Society to The Centers that served 3,000 Arkansans last year, the mission of Centers for Youth & Families remains steadfast – building healthy children, families and communities. It’s a mission that Trena Nosler believes should resonate with everyone. “Once I learned about all the great things that Centers for Youth & Families provides, right here in Arkansas, I wanted be a part of the organization and help.”

Trena Nosler and Ginger Johnson will welcome friends and patrons to EVOLVE: A Night in the Jungle, the signature event for CFYF, for an evening that celebrates the organization’s rich legacy. Indicative of its name, EVOLVE represents the changes at The Centers as it continues to adapt to meet the needs of the communities it serves.

More than a century ago, Sarah “Elizabeth” Latta Mitchell recognized an urgent need to care for homeless children in Central Arkansas and opened her home to them. She established the Children’s Aid Society in 1884 to address the economic struggles of families that prevented adequate childcare. Throughout its evolution, from the Children’s Aid Society to the Little Rock Orphan’s Home in 1907 and the Elizabeth Mitchell Children’s Center, programs offered reflect the organization’s basic values – family, respect, excellence and hope.

In 1987, civic leadership took visionary action – merging the Elizabeth Mitchell Children’s Center, the Junior League of Little Rock’s Parent Center and Central Arkansas Human Services Council-Stepping Stones, Inc. into a single entity – providing more complete and efficient treatment. The continuum of services for children and families include specialized prevention, intervention and treatment that promote emotional and social wellness. Proceeds from EVOLVE are a critical resource that support the organization’s continued curriculum. “Two major areas of focus for us this year are expanding our therapeutic foster care program for children in state custody that need a stable, loving family and providing a safe, secure environment for victims of human trafficking to aid their recovery,” explains Centers for Youth & Families Interim Executive Director Vickie Siebenmorgen.

EVOLVE embraces a new theme each year, always congruent with the organization’s mission fulfillment work. “It started as a small cocktail event and has expanded into an evening of great food with a fun atmosphere and great entertainment,” Trena notes. “Three years ago, we introduced the Hero of Hope honoree, which adds to the fun and celebration of the night.” Hero of Hope recognizes an individual who exemplifies the values of CFYF and is committed to the welfare of all Arkansas families.

New this year, the inaugural class of Champions of Hope will be introduced at EVOLVE. Through Trena’s inspiration to provide young men an opportunity to serve as stewards of CFYF and cultivate civic leadership, Champions of Hope represents a diverse group of young men with a finite focus on some timely social issues including depression, suicide prevention and human trafficking. Trena’s son has enjoyed his time in the program. “Not only will these young men learn the importance of community, volunteerism and the responsibility of giving back – they will finish the program educated about Centers for Youth & Families and the families helped by the organization.”

A California native, Trena learned the transformative power of compassion from her mother. “For my mom, a single mother with an admired career in human services, volunteering was just part of what she did – we did,” Trena remembers. “It’s her way of giving back to the community she loves and the organizations that are important to her. She still makes volunteering a priority in life.” Trena and her husband Matt work to instill those values in their three children. “It sounds simple, but in a busy world we can lose focus. Be kind. Give to others. Make it a part of life, just do it.”

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