Photo by Jolene Guzman
Bambinos Executive Director Heather Seals, with her daughter Lacey, 6, and son Adam, 3, in the organization’s new “Owl's Nest.” Seals hopes to see more growth for Bambinos in 2018.
As of Tuesday, January 16, 2018
DALLAS — Like the children the organization serves, Bambinos is growing.
The Dallas nonprofit serving children and parents in need by offering essentials and support expanded its office space. It plans to add classes for young mothers, working moms, single fathers and grandparents who are raising young children, and added car seat and safety supplies to its list of items given to clients.
Since July, there’s been a new face ready to take in clients, recently appointed Executive Director Heather Seals. She’s often accompanied by her young daughter and son at the remodeled office, which now includes a playroom, called the Owl’s Nest, and a meeting room.
When asked by former director Beth Jones to consider the position after Seals began volunteering for Bambinos in January 2017, she found the move made sense. Seals became a mother at a young age and is a domestic abuse survivor. She’s now happily remarried and raising four children, but has lived in the circumstances many Bambinos clients find themselves.
For the children
Where: 211 E. Ellendale Ave. #7
Office hours: 9 a.m. to noon. Hours may expand to 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
What is offered: Diapers, formula, car seats, safety equipment and athletic scholarships for children in preschool through middle school. A meeting room with space for up to 35 people to host classes and other gatherings. The room is open for other community groups as well.
For more information about classes: http://bambinosor....">bambinosoregon.org. Find daily updates on Facebook.
“I was a mom at 17, so I can relate a lot to the struggles that happen,” she said. “It was really a choice of using my gifts and talents and experience that I had, my experience from my younger life. I’ve been in leadership roles for the last several years, so it just seemed like a natural fit.”
Seals said after getting to know the organization and its clients better over the last year, she realized there’s a need for more education and “adult time” for Bambinos participants.
Bambinos works with Restore My Soul Ministries to offer classes that provide clients with financial management and relationship building skills, and strive to set people free from what she calls the “mindset of poverty.”
“When you ask a child or a teenager what is poverty, how does it feel to be in poverty? So often, it’s not that I don’t have any toys, or I don’t enough clothes, because those folks living in poverty do have some clothes for their kids, they do have those resources available,” Seals said. “As Americans, we are very generous and very good at giving stuff away. But addressing that I feel alone, I feel hopeless, stuck, I feel abandoned -- whatever those feelings are -- when we start to address that, there’s some strength in that. You can overcome those obstacles.”
Seals said noticed another need among her clients: connects with other adults who understand and can help with their struggles. She hoping to begin a series of “friendship groups” early this year to allow clients to drop off their children in the Owl’s Nest and spend time with other grown-ups.
Those groups will meet in the evening, Seals said.
“Let’s get together, have coffee have friends, let the kids play and have that grown up time,” she said.
Seals said the expansion in space, services and classes is due to a successful auction last fall. She said she outlined her plans before the bidding began and donors came through.
Seals is grateful for that support.
“Ultimately, the impact is going to be on their kids …. I want to see that cycle of poverty and the mindset of poverty start to change for that next generation in at least as many families as we can,” Seals said. “We know we will never solve the poverty issue, but if we can start to make an impact for the better, that will have a lasting effect on their kids.”