Immerse Arkansas was established in 2008 as a response to the needs and obstacles of kids aging out of foster care. While serving as houseparents at a local group home, Eric and Kara Gilmore watched in disbelief as one of the young women they had cared for exited foster care the day after her 18th birthday. This young woman lived in 50 different placements while in foster care between the ages of 12 and 18. Now 18, she was dropped off at the Greyhound Bus Station in North Little Rock. She had one bag of clothes and one night’s worth of her bipolar medications. As Eric and Kara watched, they knew they must do something.
With the help of many people, business, and churches, Immerse Arkansas opened its doors to provide supportive housing to youth aging out in 2010. Eric and Kara quickly became aware that there were youth who were not in foster care that needed similar support and began serving runaway and homeless youth. As the years passed by, the organization also began to serve youth exiting DYS and youth victims of trafficking and sexual exploitation. In 2016, the organization adopted the phrase “youth in crisis” as the broad description of the youth the organization supports.
Immerse Arkansas set out to fill a gap in the child welfare system. As time has passed, other gaps have become startlingly clear. Beyond the critical role of supporting older youth, Immerse Arkansas is working to collaboratively address other system gaps until Arkansas is a great place to be a child in foster care.
anchored in values
We have hearts motivated by worship, a work ethic that is scrappy, and a commitment to stick with each youth, no matter what.
focused on youth
Instead of trying to manage, rescue, or fix youth in crisis, we serve them best through the gift of unconditional, supportive, and nurturing relationships, coupled with high expectations. It is the gift of belonging, the gift of being wanted and valued. At Immerse, we prioritize the person over the program. It’s messy and slow work, but it is the loving patience we all need.
With dedication and support, youth are transformed into Overcomers. We measure youth success in 4 key domains we call BASE goals:
well-Being - are we improving the emotional, social, mental, and physical well-being?
At least 1 - is each youth connected to at least one caring adult through our mentoring program?
Safe & stable housing - are youth who exit our program exiting to a good place to live?
Earning potential - are youth improving their education and/or employabiliy through our programs?
Over the past 4 years, we’ve tracked 100 youth through are programs who are experiencing success in these domains an average of 80% of the time. We’re shooting for 100%.
To speak with a coach, contact us here.
Board of Directors
DSG Consulting, Partner
Board Vice President
Simmons Bank, Director of Loan Operations
Alessi Keyes Construction, Co-Owner
KENESHIA BRYANT-MOORE, PHD
UAMS, Associate Professor
St. Andrew’s Anglican Church, Rector
Crye-Leike Real Estate Services, Agent
Galley Support Innovations, Owner
Garver Engineering, CEO