The Dedication and Ribbon Cutting for the Curtis and Celia Massey Activity Center will take place at 10:00 am on Tuesday, September 25 near the entrance of the Curt, Cliff and Opal Young Children’s Home located in Chaffee Crossing. This new addition to the Young Children’s Home is located at 8811 Young Home Drive, Fort Smith, Arkansas, off Custer Boulevard west of Deer Trails Golf Course. The plans for the Massey Activity Center became a reality in large part due to a major gift from Wallace and Jama Fowler from Jonesboro, given in honor of Mrs. Fowler’s parents.
During the brief dedication ceremony for the Massey Activity Center, Mischa Martin, Director of the Division of Children and Family Services (DCFS), will give a presentation concerning the crisis in foster care and the need for additional prevention services to families in Western Arkansas and across the state. Noah Taylor, Chairman of the Family Ministries Board of Directors, will address the role of the ministry in meeting the needs of children and families. The Greenwood High School Air Force Junior ROTC will provide the Color Guard and the Prescelto Choir will perform, “This Is Me”. Heather Larkin, president of the Arkansas Community Foundation, will speak on charitable giving.
A reception honoring the Wallace and Jama Fowler family, members of the Curt, Cliff and Opal Young Trust, and donors to the Maggie House and the Young Children’s Home is scheduled immediately after the program. Optional tours of the Young Children’s Homes will be available after the reception.
The Massey Activity Center will provide office space needed for two case managers and an administrator as required by the Child Welfare Agency Review Board for Residential Child Care facilities. In addition, the facility will have an activity room for the children placed in the care of the Young Home by the Division of Children and Family Services (DCFS) due to abuse and/or neglect. The Young Home serves up to 32 children at any one time.
Like the Maggie House in Charleston, the emphasis of the Young Home is on keeping sibling groups together under one roof. Four cottage-style homes (Heart, Soul, Mind and Strength) look and function as much as possible like a regular residence in a traditional neighborhood. Trained house parents love and care for up to eight children from small babies through high school age. Children attend public schools and every effort is made to meet their educational, physical, social, and spiritual needs until they can return to their biological parents, are placed with a relative or other legal guardian, or DCFS locates and approves a pre-adoptive home.
The activity, conference, and family meeting rooms will provide space for mentors and tutors to meet with children. They will also allow caseworkers, counselors, therapists, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), and guardian ad litems to meet with their assigned children without disrupting
the family environment in the homes. The building has common space for a clothes closet, freezer, and dry food storage.
Wallace and Jama Fowler, majority donors for the Massey Activity Center, have been successful business developers for many years. As the owner of Fowler Foods, they operated as many as 83 Kentucky Fried Chicken stores in the 1980s. The Fowlers were involved in banking in the mid-80s to early 2000s. Wallace served as Chairman and CEO of Mercantile Bank and First Bank of Arkansas in Jonesboro and most recently Liberty Bank. The Fowlers sold Liberty Bank to Centennial Bank in 2013. Wallace and Jama are known statewide for their generosity, giving to major projects such as the Fowler Center for the Performing Arts at Arkansas State University, the Fowler House at the University of Arkansas, as well as their involvement in the community of Jonesboro.