A Haven for Children Somewhere “Over the Rainbow”

Reggie Johnson putting the lives of children first

Reggie Johnson putting the lives of children first

Vicki Baker

A mean, green, fighting machine – big and broad with arms the size of tree trunks. Reggie Johnson is a mountain of a man but a gentle giant at heart. A heart that reaches out to the most vulnerable in our society.

Reggie currently works as Associate Athletic Director of Development at UNT developing fundraising strategies for the athletic department, but his passion is serving young people. Reggie believes we are “caretakers of the people on earth,” and, because every child deserves hope, it is our duty to help each child realize their own potential. His desire to serve children is realized by acting as president of the Community Partners of Denton County Rainbow Room, an organization supporting Child Protective Services (CPS) and the foster care program in Denton County.

The mission of Community Partners of Denton County (CPDC), which supports CPS caseworkers, is to alleviate the suffering of abused and neglected children by providing them the very basic of items. CPDC accomplishes this mission by operating Rainbow Rooms in Denton, Lewisville and Carrollton. The Rainbow Room is a 24/7 emergency resource center located within the Child Protective Services (CPS) offices where caseworkers gather new and essential items needed for children whose lives are in crisis.

Last year the three Rainbow Rooms in Denton County served more than 1,200 children. The primary cause for placement in the CPS system is drug-related involving family addictions primarily to prescription drugs, cocaine and methamphetamines. The majority of children removed from their homes arrive with nothing but the clothes on their back, having been deprived of even the basic needs of food and proper hygiene.

A non-profit organization run by an all-volunteer staff, the Rainbow Rooms are supply closets stocked with toothbrushes, tooth paste, soap, shirts, pants, underwear, socks, diapers, duffle bags, school supplies and some non-perishable foods. If placement is unavailable, the Rainbow Room offers temporary rooms until an extended family member or foster family is arranged.

As the holidays approach, susceptible families are in added crisis. At Thanksgiving, Rainbow Rooms collect foods to fill holiday baskets and distribute these to families as recommended by CPS. During Christmas time toys and other items are donated from individuals and charitable organizations and used to stock the Christmas store. The store is open for CPS workers to pick up gifts for children in need. A small cash gift is often given to supplement gifts for teens. In 2015 these gifts were provided to more than 600 children in the foster care program.

Many people strive to help others, feeling drawn to making a difference in the community they live in. Reggie Johnson is such a person, a person with the passion to ensure children do not go another day without the things we all take for granted.

If you’re looking for a way to make life better for others, come join the Kiwanis Club Robson Ranch every first and third Friday at 8:30 a.m. in the Clubhouse. For more information contact Barbara Leurig at barbara@leurig.com.