The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

December 12, 2012

Mike Pound: Donation helps Children’s Haven with mission

The little girl with the dark curly hair looked up from her coloring book when I walked into the room, and greeted me with a loud “Hi!” and a big smile.

I liked both the “Hi” and the smile.

The young boy sitting next to the little girl didn’t say anything. He was too busy concentrating on a coloring project of his own to stop and chat.

I didn’t know what was going on in the lives of that little girl or that young boy that brought them to Children’s Haven, and really, I didn’t want to know. What I wanted to know was if the kids were safe and if they were happy. The fact that they were at Children’s Haven told me they were safe. As for happy, all I could do was go by what I saw, and what I saw was two happy kids.

Children’s Haven of Southwest Missouri is a private, not-for-profit organization that provides a safe, temporary home for kids, from birth through the age of 17, whose families are going through some sort of crisis. The sorts of things that bring a child to Children’s Haven include homelessness, unsafe living conditions, and lack of utilities or food. Sometimes the crisis could be a medical one, with parents temporarily unable to care for their children or with parents seeking mental health or substance abuse treatment.

Stephanie Theis is the executive director of Children’s Haven. She said the organization serves about 450 children a year. The average stay for a child is seven nights, but some children may stay only one night and others may stay 30 nights. There is no minimum or maximum.

While a child is staying at Children’s Haven, the goal is bringing a certain amount of stability to the child’s life. That means getting a school-age child to and from school. That means getting that child to normal extracurricular activities. That may mean getting a child to soccer practice or a dance recital.

“We want them to have that eight hours of stability,” Stephanie said.

To do that, Children’s Haven needs reliable transportation, and on Wednesday morning, the nice folks at Empire District Electric Co. handed Stephanie the keys to a nearly new van.

Brent Baker is the director of customer service for Empire. He said reaching out to community organizations such as Children’s Haven is something that Empire and its employees have done for decades.

“We’re excited that our people volunteer their time and support local agencies that do such great work,” he said.

The idea to donate the van came from David Russell, who handles transportation issues for Empire. David’s first contact with Children’s Haven came when he and a group of other Empire employees volunteered there during the annual United Way Day of Caring.

David was so impressed with the work done on behalf of children that when the van became available, he immediately thought of Children’s Haven.

In May, Children’s Haven hopes to move into a new building currently under construction on the lot next to the current home. Stephanie said the new building will double Children’s Haven’s capacity, which makes Empire’s gift even more important

“We will definitely need more transportation,” she said. “I’m in awe (of the unexpected donation), and I’m very excited.”

DO YOU HAVE AN IDEA for Mike Pound’s column? Call him at 417-623-3480, ext. 7259, or email him at Follow him on Twitter @mikepoundglobe.

Text Only
Local News
  • Embezzler from Joplin car dealerships sent to prison

    A federal judge has sentenced Kathryn M. Stayton to 13 months in prison for embezzling more than $100,000 from Frank Fletcher Ford and Credit Cars of Joplin. U.S. District Judge Greg Kays assessed the 36-year-old Joplin woman the prison term at a sentencing hearing this week in federal court in Springfield. The judge also ordered the former controller at both car dealerships to pay restitution totaling $121,249. 51.

    April 18, 2014

  • Screening of MSSU presidential applicants to wrap by end of April

    The Board of Governors at Missouri Southern State University could be in a position to name a president as early as the end of June, according to a timeline presented Friday by the co-chair of the presidential search committee.

    April 18, 2014

  • Teams from Carl Junction, Diamond advance in Destination Imagination

    Student teams from Carl Junction and Diamond will be traveling to Destination Imagination finals May 20-24 in Knoxville, Tenn., after being top finishers in competition this month at Missouri Southern State University.

    April 18, 2014

  • Neosho Dogwood Tour reset, after false start

    The 53rd annual Neosho Dogwood Tour will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, April 27. The event, presented by the Neosho Rotary Club and the Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce, originally was scheduled for Sunday, April 13.

    April 18, 2014

  • r041814capbus4.jpg Funding shortfall could hinder public transportation in Southeast Kansas

    For the past two years, Pittsburg State University sophomore Travis Cook has been using public transportation to get to and from his classes. He began using the bus his freshman year, when he didn’t have a vehicle to drive even to the grocery store — which is said to be the case for many who use the service.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Bruner denied change of venue for murder trial

    Circuit Judge Gayle Crane has denied a change of venue for a defendant charged with fatally shooting an assistant football coach at Missouri Southern State University. The attorney for Jeffrey Bruner claimed pretrial publicity as the reason for seeking a change of venue in Jasper County Circuit Court.

    April 18, 2014

  • Russell family sues city, Joplin police

    Family members of a teenage girl whose suicide a year ago brought them into conflict with police officers and emergency medical technicians are suing the city and the Joplin Police Department. Kevin and Julissa Russell and their son, Brant Russell, are the plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed in Jasper County Circuit Court. The action filed on the Russells’ behalf by Kansas City attorney Andrew Protzman names the city, the Police Department and Officers Austin Wolf and Tyler Christensen as defendants.

    April 18, 2014

  • Kansas Regents stick with social media policy

    After directing a committee to study a controversial social media policy and make recommended changes, the Kansas Board of Regents appears to not be changing the policy at all. It’s left some in academia baffled by why it appointed the work group in the first place.

    April 18, 2014

  • Pittsburg Farmer's Market to open in new building, new location

    The official market season in Pittsburg, Kan., will kick off in the market’s new pavilion-style building at a new address, 11th and Broadway, on Saturday at 7:30 a.m. Market hours will continue throughout the season on Saturdays from 7:30 a.m. to noon, with some Wednesdays or other special days throughout the season as announced.

    April 18, 2014

  • 041714 School safe rooms4_72.jpg Joplin school district readies community safe rooms for storm season

    Thousands of Joplin residents will soon be able to stay safe during storms in some of the region’s newest shelters. Community safe rooms at Cecil Floyd, Stapleton, McKinley and Eastmorland elementary schools, which double as gymnasiums, and Junge Field, which will double as a field house, are expected to be open within the next few weeks, according to Mike Johnson, the school district’s director of construction.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

Must Read


A Missouri Senate committee has endorsed a 1-cent sales tax increase to fund transportation projects. The proposed constitutional amendment passed the House earlier this month. If passed by the full Senate, the measure would head to the November ballot for voter approval. Would you vote in favor of it?

     View Results
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter