Doing Good: NWA Children's Shelter

Lori O'Connor has three kids that keep her busy but also spends much of her time helping children she barely knows.

"Just the looks in their eyes needing love and attention because of the experiences they have been through," she said.

Lori has volunteered at the NWA Children's Shelter for 10 years. She works in the classroom helping abused and neglected kids with the reading and math.

"To be able to see the changes week to week, their improvements, self esteem, happiness that they are accomplishing something - that is really rewarding," she said.

The shelter offers safety, education and counseling to children who have suffered abuse and neglect. It houses 32 kids - and can help up to 500 kids a year.

"They get full care, not only food and clothing but education," said Board of Directors VP, Scott Schotta. "We are pretty unique in the sense that we are able to provide all of this for the kids."

Although the shelter - that is the largest in Arkansas - was able to help almost 500 kids last year - it was forced to turn away 600. With a new state of the art facility opening in february the group plans to help many more NWA kids change their young lives.

"We hope they walk away with hope, they can do it, they are worth it, somebody loves them and cares for them," said Elizabeth Wieneke.

Lori said that she knows she has made a difference with her work - but feels honored to come and help every week.

"They give me love here," she said. "When I see the look in their eyes it makes me warm all over."

Years of warmth for Lori - and years of shelter for children who so desperately need it.

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