BY JACLYN ROSE –
Renee Hendrix’s favorite motto is, “do unto others as you would have them to do unto you.” She tries very hard to live that motto every day. As the Assistant Director for CASA, which stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates, she has the opportunity often to spend time encouraging children in the foster system, a group very much in need of love.
Born and raised in Polk County, Hendrix graduated from Mena High School and then married her husband, Jason, 20 years ago. “In our marriage we give God all the credit for our success, a sense of humor is also necessary, and I think you have to be able to have your own space and your own hobbies,” said Hendrix. The couple has one son, Ethan, a junior at Acorn High School and according to Hendrix, being a mother is her best accomplishment. “I love seeing myself in my son, both the good and the bad. I feel like mothering is what I was made to do,” Hendrix said.
Years ago, Hendrix went to work as a receptionist at Mountain View Clinic for Pediatrician Doctor Ron Beckel. During that time, several foster children came in and they touched her heart. She then went on to work for the Department of Human Services (DHS) for the Division of Children and Family Services (DCFS) for four years, before moving to CASA five years ago. CASA is an organization made up of volunteers, who undergo extensive training, and serve as advocates for children in the foster system. The local CASA office serves Polk, Montgomery, and Sevier counties and are always in need of volunteers who will spend time with and serve these children in foster care. “I love what I do, I see people at their darkest and then there are days when a child who was withdrawn, sad, and depressed lights up with a smile when I walk in. I want to leave my mark on the world, not in a ‘hey, look at me’ way, but through the lives I’ve touched, poured into, and made a positive difference,” explained Hendrix. “CASA is hosting a fundraiser at the Severe County 4-H Rifle Range in DeQueen on the 10th of October. It’s a good ole fashion shoot out, Turkey Shoot. We want to raise awareness of what CASA is in that area and we hope to make it an annual thing. I have been doing my job long enough to see CASA come in and be the difference. DHS is so overworked; bless their hearts. I know; I worked for them. We want to be the one in these kids’ corner, fighting for their lives,” said Hendrix.
Hendrix also serves as the Children’s Pastor for the Mena First Assembly of God, where she also sings on the praise and worship team, another one of her passions. She also loves to travel, hike, hunt, and call the Hogs. She also enjoys photography and scrapbooking. Most of all, Hendrix likes to serve and encourage all those she comes in contact with throughout her busy days. “I think it’s so important to treat our fellow man with respect. The main reason we are here is to reach down and help those in need and help lift them up. I am an avid encourager. I love to help build self-esteem and I feel like how you treat people is very important. Children are our future, let’s invest in them. There are a lack of male role models, those who can teach boys to become men, we need to be able to teach the next generation general life skills, we need to step up as a community and be that for them. We have been called to help those in need, who better to help than those who will be deciding our future,” said Hendrix.
“One of the things I appreciate about Mena is that you know everybody, there is a sense of comradery. I like the little things: Lum and Abner, the Christmas Parade, the Christmas lights in the Park and even Black Friday here. I love to see people I went to school with and get to know their kids. We are one big community and I love it so much that I wanted to raise my son here. I love seeing the world but these mountains call you right back home,” said Hendrix.