My Father's Arrows, Inc.
Founded in 2014, My Father’s Arrows, located in Jay in Santa Rosa County, is a faith-based, community driven public charity born out of a longing to serve children in the local foster care system in a way that provides common permanency and brighter futures. The mission of My Father’s Arrows (MFA) is to provide needing children with safe, permanent, loving Christian homes where they will develop into lifelong servants for the Lord Jesus Christ and live as responsible, educated, law abiding citizens with great promise and hope for the future. As a part of the State of Florida Department of Children and Families foster care network, MFA accepts children of all faiths into their programs, without requiring participation in religious activities. The Pensacola area is in the midst of a foster care crisis in which there simply are not enough licensed foster homes to care for the abused, abandoned and neglected children in the community. The founders of MFA recognized that the best way to solve this problem was to partner with the local child welfare agencies and create a supportive network. This network includes community education, recruitment, mentors, caregiver support, and a children's home to provide the needed licensed foster care beds. With those goals in mind, the My Father’s Arrows Thrift Store opened in 2016. The Thrift Store’s primary focus is to provide foster parents and child welfare professionals with free clothing, shoes and equipment for children in foster care and give household goods to aged-out foster teens who are living independently. In the summer of 2017, MFA opened Mama’s House, a children’s home, staffed by licensed foster families who care for children in a family setting in separate wings of the home.
The goal of Mama’s House is to provide a one-stop placement opportunity for the children in the local foster care system. IMPACT 100 funds will be used to construct a 3,000 square foot, two-story addition to the children’s home, “Mama’s House.” The current building is 8,400 square feet on a 20-acre farmstead including a private school where children have opportunities to participate with the organic market garden, aquaponics program, livestock, and enrichment activities such as music, art lessons, and sports, conducted by volunteers. The addition will consist of an apartment for the mentoring family who will live onsite, and a great room to be used as a gathering space for fun family activities. The addition will also allow for the preparation of the future dining hall renovation. The current small living room area will be converted into a resource library and supervised visitation space that will help biological families heal and hopefully be reunited.
Mama's House provides hurting children of foster care with trauma sensitive, safe, stable, nurturing homes. Mama’s House, with its four separate family apartments, will provide much needed licensed beds, in a family setting, for up to 48 children in foster care. The children can stay at the home until their families are healthy for their return home or they achieve permanency through adoption. By having the mentor foster family onsite 24/7, they will be able to provide the other foster parents the necessary support and guidance they need to be successful. This local resource will enable sibling groups to remain intact, and encourage the best chance for healing of the biological family by creating long-term connections. This expansion of Mama’s House will give traumatized children a loving and nurturing home where they can rest and learn to manage behaviors. The load of local foster families will be lightened by the availability of more licensed beds in the area. Mama’s House also serves as a home where children who have aged out of foster care can return for love, support, and encouragement.