Micah’s House seeks help to deliver hope, healing

Micah’s House seeks help to deliver hope, healing



“We’re not bad or ‘troubled.’ We just need people to show us how this all works. Like, I didn’t know where to go to get my license or how to open a bank account. It’s real life stuff that your parents taught you, and nobody taught us.”

“I learned that I actually do get to have choices and that I am not just what has happened to me. I get to decide who I’m going to be. Nobody else.”

“I am worth more than the way I’ve been treated.”

“I want to come back one day and mentor a kid like me and help him.”

These thoughts come from young men who are clients of Micah’s House, a nonprofit founded in 2015 by Shane Sturdivant. This year, Micah’s House introduces The Free Weekly’s annual holiday wish list, a chance for area nonprofits to tell our readers what they need from Santa.

Like this writer, many of those readers might know Sturdivant as the actor with the beautiful voice and open, trusting face from community theater productions such as “A Comedy of Tenors,” “Mamma Mia” and “Les Miserables.”

“I’ve had the privilege of doing community theater in several cities over the past 20 years, and I have especially loved my experiences here in Northwest Arkansas,” he said before “A Comedy of Tenors” this fall at Arkansas Public Theatre. “I would say that my most challenging role has been Valjean in ‘Les Mis.’ It stretched me vocally as well as diving into such an amazingly complex character.”

But ask Sturdivant to talk about his most challenging role in real life, and he is both passionate and eloquent. After his own rough start and several years in church ministry — where he just never found the right “fit” — Sturdivant set out to change the lives of young men not so different from himself.

“I have fought hard in my own life to break the cycles of poverty and addiction, and I struggled immensely as a young adult. My mother died when I was 9 and my father at 26, which sent my addiction into hyperdrive,” Sturdivant relates of his own life. “Most of my boys have suffered far worse, but I think I relate well to them in their feelings of loneliness, forgottenness and a lost sense of identity.”

The clients of Micah’s House are 18 to 25 years old and don’t have a support system, Sturdivant begins the explanation.

“Approximately half of the young men we serve come out of traditional foster care, and then there’s this whole group of kids who I call the ‘forgotten youth.’ They’ve been flying under the radar: sleeping on couches, in tents in the woods, caught up in the criminal justice system.”

The boy who has most shaped his mission, Sturdivant says, is one who became his son: Rocky.

“If I were to compile all the bad from all the different situations I’ve worked in, it still wouldn’t touch the level of trauma Rocky has experienced,” he says. “Born addicted to meth, father in prison for murder, 15-year-old mother completely strung out, introduced to drugs at 7, sexually abused and raped. Then abused, labeled, institutionalized, ignored and completely failed” by the foster care system.

“It still amazes me that he has any light left,” Sturdivant says of his son. “That he keeps trying. He is the catalyst behind why we do what we do. There are so many unique and heartbreaking stories. These boys have changed my perspective on so many things, and they keep me humble and give me so much hope for what can be achieved when we let go of our preconceptions and just learn to love each other well.”

Micah’s House can serve eight to 10 young men in its residential facility, where “their length of stay largely depends on them” but on average, is nine to 18 months, Sturdivant explains. “The goal is to get them into an independent living situation while they’re still tethered to us, and we can walk with them through the obstacles and learning curves of that first 12 months at least. In large part, they never really leave us. We become their family.”

Along the way, the young men participate in “Thrive,” which Sturdivant describes as “a program for learning life skills, practicing budgeting and completing the general ‘life list’: driver’s license, savings account, identity documents (most do not have these when they arrive). We also connect our boys to mentors and other healthy relationships to create a sense of community and family. Ideally, these relationships continue and grow throughout their lives.”

Micah’s House is the perfect example of the Northwest Arkansas nonprofits who have wish lists not just at Christmas but year-round, organizations that need everything from paper towels to people.

“Obviously our biggest need is money,” Sturdivant says. “But we believe that small, targeted solutions are the only long-lasting way to, over time, truly transform big systemic and systematic problems. So we want to partner with smaller monthly donors ($25-$100) who want to see their impact in real time.

“We are also always in need of paper goods, shampoo/conditioner, body wash, cleaning products and dry pantry goods like ramen noodles and protein bars. We keep a needs list on our website: micahshousenwa.org. We also need volunteers to help with office work, marketing, house cleaning and updating, as well as mentors to walk alongside our guys.”

Asked why anyone should help Micah’s House, one of the young men says simply: “Because we deserve a chance to get it right.” We hope that our annual wish list gives us all that opportunity.


Micah’s House Northwest Arkansas

Address: 1110 W. Elm St. in Rogers

Mission: Equipping young men who have aged out of foster care to discover hope, healing, identity and a place to belong.

Needs: $10 gift cards to fast food, Walmart or Casey’s General Stores; individual snack items; twin sheet sets; twin comforters; 13-gallon trash bags; men’s socks (new); men’s undershirts (new); men’s underwear (new).

Website: MicahsHouseNWA.org

Contact information: Shane Sturdivant at (479) 282-0928 or email info@micahshousenwa.org


Also seeking assistance this holiday season are:

Northwest Arkansas Food Bank

Address: 1378 June Self Drive in Bethel Heights

Mission: Nourishing Northwest Arkansas communities by feeding the hungry with partnerships with more than 160 member agencies to reach out to those in need.

Needs: Monetary donations help us purchase food to distribute. We also need peanut butter, rice (brown and white), dried beans, canned tuna and chicken, canned vegetables (no salt) and whole grain cereal.

Website: nwafoodbank.org

Contact information: Kent Eikenberry, director, 872-8774 or Kent@nwafoodbank.org


CASA of Northwest Arkansas

Address: 3825 Cawood Lane in Springdale

Mission: Court Appointed Special Advocates of Northwest Arkansas provides compassionate volunteers who advocate for abused and neglected children.

Needs: Holiday presents for children ages newborn to 20 years old — specifically, art kits, Legos, board games, wallets, makeup kits, watches, gift cards for fast food, game stores or retail stores.

Website: nwacasa.org

Contact information: Shelley Hart, program director, (479) 725-2213 or email shelley@nwacasa.org.


Northwest Arkansas Children’s Shelter

Address: 14100 Vaughn Road in Bentonville

Mission: To provide a safe haven, high-quality care and hope for the future for children who have been abandoned, abused or neglected.

Needs: Paper towels, toilet paper, nitrile gloves, copy paper, photo paper, 13-, 30- and 33-gallon trash bags, gas gift cards, Walmart gift cards.

Website: nwacs.org

Contact information: Raegin Callaway, corporate volunteer and events manager, (479) 795-2417, ext. 310, or email development@nwacs.org


Open Avenues

Address: 2202 N. 22nd St. in Rogers

Mission: We work to “open avenues” for people with disabilities through life and job skills training, on-site employment, community employment, job coaching and transportation programs.

Needs: Magic Erasers, paper towels, spray air fresheners, tissues, Depends (ladies’ size large), liquid laundry soap, plastic utensils (knives, forks, spoons), 1.2 cubic foot microwaves (white), HD wire cutters for thick cables, complete tool sets, four new iPads.

Website: openavenues.org

Contact information: Kelly Sampson, development director, (479) 636-5082 or volunteer@openavenues.org


Smokehouse Players

Address: 16896 Lake Sequoyah Road in Fayetteville

Mission: Provide free bare-bones theater at the Ozark Mountain Smokehouse for the Northwest Arkansas community, while raising awareness about Magdalene Serenity House.

Needs: Our shows are free, but all donations received at the door on opening night of each new show go to Magdalene Serenity House. We need individuals or companies to contact us if they are willing to match those donations for one of the benefit performances. It will help us double or triple the amount we give to Magdalene Serenity House for each benefit.

Website: facebook.com/SmokehousePlayers

Contact information: Terry Vaughan and Tim Gilster, co-founders, (479) 935-4219 or email smokehouseplayers@gmail.com.


Be a Santa to a Senior

Sponsor: Home Instead Senior Care

Address: Be a Santa to a Senior trees can be found at Avenir Memory Care at Fayetteville, 1967 W. Truckers Drive in Fayetteville; Concordia, 1 Concordia Drive, Bella Vista; Frisco Station Mall, 100 N. Dixieland Road in Rogers; and Home Instead Senior Care, 3291 S. Thompson St., A105, Springdale.

Mission: “The Be a Santa to a Senior program is all about including seniors in the joy of the holiday season,” said Mark Stanley, owner of the Home Instead Senior Care offices serving Fayetteville, Springdale, Rogers, Bentonville and Bella Vista. “A simple gift shows them they are a loved and vital member of our community.” This is a for-profit business asking for gifts for its clients.

Needs: Visit one of the participating locations and look for the Be a Santa to a Senior tree on display through Dec. 10. Each tree will be decorated with ornaments featuring seniors’ first names and gift suggestions. Holiday shoppers can choose an ornament, buy the requested gift and return it to the store with the ornament attached. There’s no need to worry about wrapping; community volunteers and program partners will wrap and deliver the gifts to local seniors in time for the holidays.

Website: BeaSantatoaSenior.com

Contact information: (479) 936-9885.

Categories: 'Tis the Season