Retired nonprofit director: Hickman worked for BArc for 39 years – American Press

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Arc de Beauregard is actively seeking a new Executive Director to take charge of the future of the nonprofit, as longtime Director Jackie Hickman recently announced his intention to retire at the end of this year. year.

The decision was tough, Hickman admitted, and it took a while for him to come to terms with it, but he said it was a decision he finally felt ready to make this year.

“I kind of had this realization; you know it seems like in all of society there is a common thought that the younger generation is still following closely, but the older generation doesn’t pay much attention to them until all of a sudden they realize that it is time for the younger generation to move forward and take charge. This is what happened with me. I finally realized that maybe it was time to let someone new in and take the reins, ”Hickman said.

“I would have liked to work until I was 70, but I have a lot of peace in my decision. I know it is time.

Many would say that Hickman deserved his retirement, having devoted much of his adult life to the Arc de Beauregard. Hickman has worked for the association for 39 years, the last 23 of which was as an executive director. For many in the community, his name has become synonymous with BArc.

BArc board chairman James Perkins has said that while the board may hire a new director, it will never be able to find another Jackie Hickman.

“Jackie was the glue that held it all together for decades. The Arc de Beauregard and this community owe Jackie more than we can ever repay in this lifetime. I am so blessed to know him. We wish him and his family the best in his next chapter of life and thank him for all he has given to this organization, ”said Perkins.

Hickman took over the post in January 1998, when the former CEO, Joy Christy, resigned from her post. At that time, the organization was operating out of a small apartment building on Shirley Street, and Hickman said his original goal was to expand the foundation that Christy and the BArc board had started to build.

This mainly meant finding a more suitable location for the program to run from; a larger area that would allow the expansion of the programs offered to the citizens served by the BArc. In 2011, her goals were met by the local community when Velmer Smith, a resident of DeRidder, and her family approached Hickman and offered to donate their property on Mahlon Street. This property would become the new main location for the nonprofit, and a warehouse behind the building would serve as the new operations center for its recycling program.

“It was one of those times when you are shocked and surprised at the same time. It was perfect for us and exactly what we needed, and that really was the heart of Beauregard Arc; community has always been the driving force behind what we are able to accomplish, ”said Hickman.

Indeed, Beauregard Arc was created in the early 1960s out of the desire of local families to have more opportunities for their sons and daughters with intellectual disabilities. They “wanted something better,” as Hickman put it, so they created a program that allowed their family members to become a productive member of the community while remaining in a safe and supervised environment.

Today, the Arc de Beauregard is a state accredited day program that provides work, vocational training and life skills training to adults with intellectual disabilities, enabling them to be citizens. productive and active in the community. In addition to offering daycare services for adults, the organization has contracts with several organizations and with the town of DeRidder for its residents to provide lawn care services as well as recycling services.

Over the years and under Hickman’s leadership, BArc has reached levels no one could have expected.

As of early 2020, a record 63 residents were participating in the organization’s programs, and contracts signed through the organization with community members and various local businesses were increasing every day.

Hickman also saw other aspirations come to fruition. The organization has seen incredible success with its BArc Thrift Store which was opened next door in another building donated by the Smith family in 2013, and in 2020 it opened its new BArc sewing center where the citizens of BArc offer denim articles for sale, as well as an offer of other embroidery services.

The thrift store operates only with items donated by the community and has been so incredibly successful that it has been able to provide enough funds to help benefit other programs within BArc.

“As a nonprofit organization in a small rural area, I can’t stress how amazing this is,” Hickman said.

Hickman took little credit for the accomplishments and instead credits the success of the organization to the continued support of the community.

“All we have been able to accomplish is due to the incredible dedication this community has shown to us and our citizens, and I cannot say it enough. From the United Way to the DeRidder Women’s League, they have continuously supported us through their fundraising and donations, and we are extremely grateful to them, ”he said.

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has interrupted many BArc programs over the past year. Social distancing and mask protocols are still enforced due to the serious health issues of the residents the organization takes care of, and at one point the office was shut down completely.

Yet Hickman’s persistence and dedication to BArc families never wavered. This summer, 19 residents returned to BArc, and Hickman said he hoped that number would continue to grow.

It might be a lot to hand over to someone new, but Hickman said he has the most confidence in BArc’s board members to find the right person to oversee. the future of the organization.

“I have every confidence in the board of directors to find the right person. This job takes a special type of person, but I know they are going to find someone with a good heart and a love to help people with intellectual disabilities improve the quality of their lives.

The Board of Directors is now accepting resumes to be considered for Hickman’s replacement. Perkins said the perfect candidate would have a bachelor’s degree, along with a minimum of four years of verifiable experience in a field providing services to the elderly or people with developmental disabilities.

Resumes will be accepted until October 5 and can be emailed to the Board at [email protected] or mailed to 221 Mahlon St., DeRidder, LA 70634.


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