Christine Anderson just can’t seem to stay away from St. Francis House. She has seen three major St. Francis house locations, multiple satellite locations and numerous programs come and go as the needs of the community changed. Christine began working at St. Francis House in 1976 while the agency was on Battery. “I began as an intern working on my bachelor’s degree in Social Work. When I graduated, I was offered a job at St. Francis House. Initially, I was a van driver! I picked up food and donations, I delivered food and I took seniors to their medical appointments. We also held outings we called tea parties for the seniors. It was mainly women and I remember that they always seemed to talk about their grandchildren,” she laughed.
Fr. John Geevarghese, a licensed social worker. supervised Christine and he was the one who made sure she became an LSW. She saw the move to the Izard location and was there when St. Francis House had a Re-Entry program for those recovering from addiction. “After I had my license I also saw clients and worked at our satellite locations at St. Luke’ in North Little Rock and Christ Church downtown. I even lived in Fayetteville for two years to run the satellite location there. It helped with food and clothing and even had a dental clinic. It is its own agency now.”
Christine saw St. Francis House begin its programs for youth as well. “St. Francis House was doing child care for the community and staff and letting parents bring children to work long before that was even a thing. Pretty much all the staff kids grew up here.”
Eventually, Christine left St. Francis House to take a job at the Arkadelphia Human Development Center where she worked for fifteen years before retiring to help take care of her mother until her death. “Then Darlene called and said she needed a part-time staff member. I didn’t even hesitate. I was retired and I’m the type of person that loves helping people and accomplishing something with my life.”
Today, Christine is back in Social Services doing what she loves best, helping others. “The one thing that hasn’t changed at St. Francis House is doing the best we can for our clients. If we can help one person, that makes everything worth it!”