Party on the Block

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Photography by Jamison Mosley | Makeup by Leighton Clower with Face the Beat by Leighton Shot on location at Home for Healing with Big Bro’s Catering & Joshua Dunlap 

   width= Nicole Winters is passionate about community. This Michigan native has immersed herself in The Natural State, most notably as a civic servant. She admits to being a “serial volunteer” and realizes this kind of community service can be equal parts fun + meaningful. Nicole established the Home for Healing 4300 Club, a young professionals auxiliary group, and has recruited an impressive committee to welcome friends and patrons to 20 Years on the Block Party – celebrating 20 years of service with food trucks, fire-blown art and family-fun.

  Located at 4300 Markham Street across from the UAMS campus, Home for Healing offers free, restorative lodging to parents of NICU infants, cancer patients + their caregivers and caregivers of ICU patients. After meeting Executive Director Kristin Trulock, and learning about these services and provisions, the mission of Home for Healing resonated with Nicole. “I lost my mother, grandmother and grandfather to different forms of cancer,” Nicole shares. Four months after being diagnosed with a rare form of lung cancer, her mother passed away at age 55. “While we were lucky that she received treatment a mere 15 minute drive from home, there were some days when it took us 2-3 hours to prepare her for that 15 minute drive. Knowing that there are individuals that drive over three hours to receive treatment really struck a chord with me.” 

   Nicole’s experience – the stress of sickness, emotional fatigue and juggling logistics – is not unique. Home for Healing eliminates some of these obstacles by providing free lodging and fellowship to those receiving treatment in Central Arkansas. Initially serving UAMS and NICU at Arkansas Children’s, the home was built with a finite focus. Kristin elaborates, “Our board of directors, that owns and operates the home, was eager to expand our mission to serve so many more. Now Home for Healing houses adult cancer patients undergoing current treatment along with caregivers from UAMS, CARTI, Baptist Hospital, CHI ST Vincent, Arkansas Urology and teenagers from Arkansas Children’s.”

   This broad demographic brings a variety of stories and individual needs into Home for Healing; all are received with genuine compassion. Nicole remembers, “I have witnessed staff at the home help organize last-minute weddings and once-in-a-lifetime experiences for guests with terminal cancer.” With every encounter with guests, Nicole hears a consistent statement: “the staff and volunteers at the home make us feel like family.”

   Since its inception in 2003, Home for Healing has served more than 8,500 patients and families. The peaceful and restorative environment makes Home for Healing a beacon of hope during a journey back to wellness. Kristin emphasizes, “We pride ourselves in helping all guests break any barrier that would interfere with the healing process whether it be hunger, transportation, services or support. They become our family throughout their stay and the rest of their lives. We know all about the guests and their families. We help mind, body and spirit.”

   Home for Healing is a small, but mighty group dedicated to this continued mission fulfillment work. The 4300 Club supports the home in every way possible, identifying and cultivating programs that enrich the lives of the guests. “We work closely with the board of directors and try to assist with resource challenges the guests may face.” Under Nicole’s leadership, 20 Years on the Block Party will celebrate the accomplishments of Home for Healing and introduce the community to new opportunities for support + engagement. She admits the sprit of Central Arkansas inspires her. In addition to an impressive professional tenure at Windstream, Nicole serves on a variety of committees for nonprofit organizations. “Moving here, away from family and friends, I turned to volunteering to meet people. I have met incredible like-minded people who understand the importance of extending a helping hand.”

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