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Welcome back to our Sense of Community series. I’m Jennifer Moore. This week, we’re featuring people who are making our community better. This afternoon, we’re taking you for a peek inside the crisis nursery Isabel’s House to meet its executive director, Francine Pratt.
SOUND: “Oh, come on in!”
On this day, she gives me a tour of the nursery, which includes the bedrooms for the little guests.
“When the parent calls and they’re telling us what’s going on, our advocates are getting the information from them. They’re asking the size that the children wear. So when the children come in, we already have the drawers filled with their clothing size,” Pratt explains, pointing to the beds with built-in drawers beneath them.
Although she’s only lived in Springfield three years, Pratt has made it clear that she’s interested in improving the lives of those around her.
“We provide a safe place for parents and families to bring their children when they’re going through typical life changes that can be challenging,” she says.
That could be anything from homelessness to a medical emergency to parental stress.
“We believe it’s helping to reduce abuse and neglect in Springfield,” Pratt said.
The first thing a child does when he or she arrives is take a bath. Then they’re paired up with a staff member who engages them in age-appropriate activities, and they’re taken to school and extra-cirricular activities.
“It’s real important that the life of the child is very stable here while the parent is working through whatever challenges,” Pratt said.
Typically, the ages of the kids who come here are newborn to 12 years old.
Francine Pratt’s community involvement is not limited to her leadership at Isabel’s House; she’s the president of the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, or the NAACP.
“With the NAACP here in Springfield, we want to make sure everyone understands we’re here for any person, regardless of ethnicity, beliefs, background, race, gender—our goal is to make sure the human rights and civil rights of everyone is protected,” she said.
The Springfield chapter works with the local faith community, government, and law enforcement to carry out that mission of creating opportunities for all.
That work includes combating poverty in the area, so that opportunities are available to everyone.
When asked how she would encourage others to make their communities better, she said she considers herself “ordinary,” but uses her passion, skills, and past experiences to be a voice for other people.
“I think anyone can become a community leader, just by finding out what they have a passion about, and getting involved based on that passion,” she said.
She says she would like to see more people getting involved by coming to the City Council meetings in Springfield.
“Every little voice, collectively, becomes one big voice. So people just coming and hearing and providing input on decisions that impact their life—that is what I would like to see more,” Pratt said.
Francine Pratt is the executive director of the crisis nursery Isabel’s House, and president of the local chapter of the NAACP—she’s one person who’s making our community better. Join us tomorrow morning at 7:30 as our series continues.
For KSMU’s Sense of Community Series, I’m Jennifer Moore.