Charity Issue: Our little haven


Liv Timp

Our Little Haven provides and emotional health services for children.

A child unloved by their mother. A child beaten by someone they should look up to. A child crying alone in a place where they should feel safe. Our Little Haven is a St. Louis charity that helps young children like them. Since 1989, their staff has specialized in taking care of the mental, social and emotional health of children like them

Sarah Thomas works for Our Little Haven’s treatment program, which offers therapy for young children. The treatment program teaches children skills involving communication.

“[By the end of their treatment] our kids are happy [and] vibrant.” Taylor said. “A kid will go from not talking to developing coping skills [for dealing with trauma].”

Britney Brown is a marketing and communications worker at Our Little Haven. Their organization promotes themselves through public events.

“Some of our kids have had histories of abuse and neglect, some have had just medical, mental health challenges that are brought about by other circumstances in life. Our little haven does not see a distinction . We want our kids to feel and be treated as normal.” she said.

If you don’t learn [to be empathetic in your formative years], it’s very difficult to learn in the future.”

— Scott Hummel

“We [recently] had our chic boutiques event, which is our lunch and shopping event at St. Nicholas Family Life Center. We had a golf tournament as well. So our guests came and heard more about Our Little Academy [a daycare program at Our Little Haven]. Our big gala is in March. This one is even more exciting, because it’s our 30th anniversary.”

Our Little Haven believes that at the start of their life, each child is given a cookie jar. They earn cookies for things such as riding a bike for the first time and making a friend. For every skill and lesson they learn, they earn a cookie. As their childhood ends, the jar is sealed.

“[During your formative years] you learn what colors and numbers are [and] all these foundational, basic things,” Scott Hummel, Executive Director of Our Little Haven, said. “[IIf] someone [hits] your friend, you would know how they’re feeling. If you don’t learn [to be empathetic in your formative years], it’s very difficult to learn in the future.”

The children at Our Little Haven were not given the opportunity to earn as many cookies as other children because of the trauma they experienced. Thomas said Our Little Haven teaches children fundamental life skills through playing and other activities. The Taylor Family Care Center, another division of Our Little Haven, helps with foster care case management.

[By the end of their treatment] our kids are happy [and] vibrant.”

— Sarah Thomas

Our Little Haven partners with the St. Louis community and other organizations around them, such as the Missouri Botanical Garden, to provide enrichment for the children they help. Through their collaboration, Our Little Haven teaches children gardening skills.With the STL community’s help, Our Little Haven helps care for 600 children a year.

“[In order to promote our cause, I think] ‘How do I tell our story in a way that’s impactful without, you know, being able to show pictures of the kids that we’re serving, or being able to hear directly?’” says Brown. “We do have some wonderful alumni that have came to us when they were babies and are now serving on our board. My goal is to really grow our following on social media. We do a news magazine, and that goes out every spring and fall to our mailing list.”

“A kid will go from kind of balling up in the corner and not talking or growling at us, to slowly engaging and being willing to [interact with people].” Thomas said. “They’re wonderful human beings, but they’ve just experienced the worst of the world.”