“Her heart is for other people,” said Carroll Wills, who met Arnold-Colbert through a friend at church. “She inspires me to make me want to be a better person. You never hear Rosa say anything unkind about anybody. All you would ever hear her say is, ‘They need to be prayed for.’ She takes the word of Christ and lives it. She doesn’t just talk it. She walks it.”
Susan Beabes recently signed on as chair of the Mills Center’s board, not long after meeting Arnold-Colbert.
“I don’t usually jump on someone’s bandwagon so quickly,” Beabes said. “I could tell that she was a woman of God. Seeing these children all around me made me realize this was where God wanted me to serve.”
Part of Beabes’ role will be helping the center apply for grants. The needs are great and unrelenting.
“These children would have nowhere to go without her,” Beabes said. “Some of the children don’t have beds to sleep in. They have great difficulties at home.”
Arnold-Colbert said the center nourishes her young charges both physically and spiritually.
“I found out at the beginning that a lot of these kids were hungry,” she said. “A hungry child is an unhappy child. We teach them to say the Lord’s Prayer. I teach them about Jesus. They love to pray. They love to sing. They love to hear Bible stories. The workers who work with them take time out to tell them they’re special.”
In the 16 years she has run the center she’s never charged for its services. She knows she is ineligible for some grants due to the faith-based nature of the center. She is undeterred, faithful that sufficient donations will arrive.
“I’ve been blessed by so many people,” she said. “Each one of our children every year has a beautiful Christmas. They feel loved.”
Many of the children call her “Grandmama.” She said she is as grateful to them as the community is to her.
“This has helped me get through the grief,” she said. “It’s made not only a difference in their life. It’s made a difference in my life.”