As part of our 25th Anniversary celebration, we’re catching up with past grantees, Angel Award honorees and other partners to learn about their growth and impact on the health and lives of Louisianians. If you’re an Angel honoree or grantee, let us hear from you! We want to tell your story too.
Next week, a big dream is coming true for Charles Landreneau. After years of work, HP Serve will open their new Anchor House – a transitional home for boys aging out of the foster system.
This is how it happened: Kary, Charles’ wife, was deeply moved after hearing a sermon on the tough challenges that foster kids face after years in the system.
Kary was called by God. Charles – and he’s quick to admit it – was called by Kary.
So the Landreneaus approached their church, Healing Place, about buying a home for foster children. In a turn of divine coincidence (or non-coincidence, depending on how you look at it), Healing Place had recently incorporated a 501(c)(3) that had received a grant for operating a transitional home – but the funds could not be used to purchase a home.
So the work began. From the first home, Anchor House has grown. And in their new space, they currently host eight boys and three resident assistants.
“It’s gone better than we could have ever asked for,” Charles says, reflecting on the progress of HP Serve since 2013, when he was recognized as the Blue Angel (the Angel Award that honors Blue Cross employees). “Kary and I were recognized right when everything was exploding.”
Since that first home, HP Serve has grown quickly, supported by a faith community that cares deeply about foster care. They now support an after-school program, a street outreach program, and are “first responders” for juvenile human trafficking.
“Being in the foster system does not guarantee that you get the kind of love and support you need to navigate life,” Charles says. “There are wonderful people working every day for foster children, but it takes more to overcome those gaps. So we have grown to offer services wherever we see a need to support children into adulthood.”
HP Serve’s impact continues to grow. Charles sees evidence in the lives of the children they work with.
“The moment I knew this was working… we have one kid who graduated with us. He’s working, has an apartment and a car, and he’s come back to us as a resident assistant and a mentor to the kids who are coming up through the Anchor House now. There’s not a better sign than that,” Charles says.
Next up, HP Serve is focusing on opening an Anchor House for girls. But awareness is still a barrier, as well as rapidly shrinking state support for foster and transitional programs.
“We are working to do as much as we can. But more and more government programs are shutting down, cutting funding that we need to support these very vulnerable children.” As such, HP Serve continues to raise dollars and awareness through its annual Gala and other programs.
“I know that I can count on support from Blue Cross, though,” says Charles. “I’ve said it before, but this place is such a tight family. The organization has supported our work 100% since day one, and still does. It makes me proud to work here – it makes me so grateful to work in a place that cares about people.”
“The story of everyday people doing extraordinary good is built around people like Charles and Kary who answer the call to make a difference,” says Michael Tipton, BCBSLA Foundation president.
“As we reflect on our last 25 years and where we want to go next, we know that the core of our work is in finding and supporting the work done by everyday people who are making a difference in the lives of children..”
Watch Charles’ story from the 2013 Angel Award ceremony here: