President's Message - December 2019

Updated: Jan 3, 2020

"There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats it’s children.”

Nelson Mandela – former President of South Africa

The Great Falls Association of REALTORS® is an excellent supporter of our community’s children. I am very proud of how we’ve helped the homeless children of our community through our involvement with Stand Up for Students.

Over the past five years the Great Falls Association of REALTORS® has given over 22,000 toiletry items and $39,500 to our homeless students. On Tuesday, November 21st GFAR presented a check for $11,000 to the Great Falls Public Schools Foundation to help with this cause. My chest swelled with pride as I participated in the ceremony along with some of my fellow Realtors, affiliates and our CEO Terry Thompson.

While we have done great things, there is still more to do. It absolutely broke my heart on November 20th when I read in the paper and saw on the news the tragic death of Antonio “Tony” Renova - a five-year-old boy that died at the hands of his own parents and a third party here in our own city.

Great Falls is my hometown and I’m very proud of the city in which I grew up, but there are times when I question how such evil can occur right under our noses and nobody notices it. Even worse, if it is noticed and no one says or does anything. This recent tragedy has me asking what else can we do? What else must we do to help the children of our community?

Here are some statistics that shocked me. After speaking to a friend, Mike Ammons, from Child Bridge (a non-profit organization that finds and equips foster and adoptive families for Montana’s children who are victims of abuse and neglect), I was shocked to learn that in the United States there are approximately 450,000 children in foster care. This means that one out of every 743 citizens in the nation is a child in foster care. Montana’s ratio is worse, one out of every 322 Montana citizens is a child in foster care. Cascade County is even worse, in our own county one in every 137 citizens is a child in foster care. Cascade County is the worst county in one of the worst states in the tragic foster care debacle.

When I asked Mike what I could do to help, he said, “That’s easy. We need more families to step into the gap and become foster families. We need foster parents that will help take foster children until they are either reunited with their parents, which is always the goal, or until they can be adopted." Another way we can help is to support organizations like Child Bridge, the Dandelion Foundation, or Toby’s House Crisis Nursery are just three that I know are legitimate organizations. I’m sure there are many other organizations that legitimately will genuinely care for the children of our community, but not all that claim to do so really do. Please be careful with your money as there are illegitimate GoFundMe pages and other fundraising organizations that are not legit. Below you’ll find the contact information for the three that I mentioned.

This is the season of giving. The season that I remind my fellow men to keep Christ in Christmas. I challenge each of my brother and sister Realtors to do what they can to help this devastating crisis in our community. ERA Advantage Realty is going to encourage each Realtor to donate something from every closing to Child Bridge. I challenge each broker/owner to see what they can do to help this cause. I, as the broker/owner, made the commitment to match dollar for dollar anything that my Realtors donate. Please don’t leave it up to the Association. Realtors are supposed to be involved in their communities and the children in our community need our help. Let’s see what kind of difference we can make for the most defenseless members of our society. Let’s report at the end of the year about what a difference the Realtors in our community made to help the children of Great Falls!

Child Bridge Montana | Dandelion Foundation | Toby's House Montana

God Bless, Jim Dea

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