Helping Children Overcome Extraordinary Challenges
Cadence Bank is proud to support Canopy Children’s Solutions, an organization providing comprehensive services to children in Mississippi.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated one in six children between the ages of two and eight have a mental, behavioral or developmental disorder. The agency also estimates that one in seven U.S. children have experienced child abuse or neglect within the last year.
These numbers are harrowing, but with the right tools, even children facing the most difficult challenges can learn to thrive.
Earlier this year, Cadence Bank announced a $400,000 contribution to Canopy Children’s Solutions, the largest nonprofit organization that provides behavioral health, educational and social service solutions for children across Mississippi.
Canopy Children’s Solutions was established in 1912 under the name Mississippi Children’s Home Society. The organization originally focused on coordinating adoptions for orphaned children, but its mission has expanded significantly over the past 110 years. Now, Canopy is a champion for all Mississippi children, with comprehensive services focusing on areas such as child abuse, mental and behavioral health, autism, families in crisis and learning differences.
“To meet the needs of thousands of children throughout all 82 Mississippi counties, we’re constantly innovating,” says Heidi Noel, senior director of advancement at Canopy Children’s Solutions. “Support from organizations like Cadence Bank helps us fuel the innovative solutions that children and families so desperately need.”
The history of Cadence Bank and Canopy Children’s Solutions
Since 2019, Cadence Bank has contributed a total of $700,000 to Canopy Children’s Solutions. These donations were made through the Mississippi’s Children’s Promise Act, which offers individuals and businesses a dollar-for-dollar tax credit when supporting certain organizations that provide services to children.
Brad Maley, president of Cadence Bank’s mid-Mississippi division, has been working closely with Canopy for over a decade and currently serves on the organization’s board of directors. “Cadence Bank’s partnership with Canopy is a commitment to the state of Mississippi and the children of Mississippi,” he says. “I’m honored to provide support to this organization both through the bank’s donations and by participating on the board.”
According to Noel, Cadence Bank’s core values closely align with Canopy’s. She believes this is part of what has made the partnership so strong over the years. “Both Cadence Bank and Canopy are in the business of genuinely helping people and supporting our communities,” she says.
The CARES Center and CARES School
Canopy Children’s Solutions offers a wide range of services to Mississippi children. One of its flagship programs is the CARES Center, a residential psychiatric treatment center in Jackson for children with severe emotional or behavioral challenges. The center can accommodate 60 children at a time, and most children stay at the center for up to four months.
During their time at the CARES Center, children receive therapy and counseling from an experienced team of psychiatrists, registered nurses and other professionals. Children residing at the CARES Center also attend the CARES School, an accredited private school designed to serve children who have trouble thriving in public school settings.
“Children at the CARES School are overcoming behaviors that make it difficult for them to socialize and learn in a traditional school environment,” says Maley. “What the CARES School does is provide quality, individualized instruction coupled with therapy that ensures each student’s needs are met.”
The curriculum of the CARES School is aligned with that of Mississippi public schools, so students can easily transfer back to the public school system where they’re ready.
Family always comes first
One of Canopy’s main goals is helping families stay together, even when facing crisis situations like addiction or homelessness.
“There’s a tremendous amount of outreach and resources provided to the children,” says Maley. “No matter what the specific challenge is, Canopy’s goal is get these kids into the best environment possible without separating them from their families.”
Maley has seen firsthand the relief that parents experience after their child participates in a Canopy program.
“Watching a child with autism go from being nonverbal to being able to look at his or her parents and say hello is really incredible,” he says. “We’ve had children who were not able to speak that are now able to have jobs after going through Canopy’s Early Intervention Autism Solutions program. When children have these kinds of breakthroughs, it yields a tremendous and positive impact on the entire family!”
Advocating for victims of child abuse
Maley says that one of the most powerful moments he’s had since working with Canopy Children’s Solutions was when he toured the organization’s Child Advocacy Center. Located on the Gulf Coast, this center conducts forensic interviewing for children who have experienced abuse, neglect or violence.
“Ordinarily, if you’re a nine-year-old child who has been abused, you will be approached by a number of different agencies who want to ask you questions and find out what’s going on,” Maley says. “Canopy’s Child Advocacy Center takes away the need for children to talk with multiple authorities by conducting one single forensic interview. It’s a safe environment for the child, and it prevents them from having to relive traumatic experiences over and over again.”
Maley says that inside the Child Advocacy Center, the walls were covered with children’s drawings of smiley faces, rainbows and people holding hands. These drawings were created by children as a way of saying thank you to the center’s staff. “Seeing those images, it was clear how much of an effect the center has had on the children it serves,” says Maley.
The impact of Canopy’s services
In 2021, Canopy served over 6,400 Mississippi children. “That’s not 6,400 office visits—it’s 6,400 individual children,” says Maley. “The scale of this organization is really remarkable, especially when you consider that some of these children are visiting Canopy centers multiple times each week.”
A few of Canopy’s 2021 outcomes consisted of:
- 16,353 hours of autism therapy
- 1,160 children safety diverted from the foster care system
- 1,289 child abuse victims assisted
- 331 students who received individualized and accredited education
- 3,190 children helped through behavioral healthcare services
“At Canopy, we are committed to outcomes. We’re very thoughtful about the services we provide and how we can allocate our funds to make the biggest impact on our communities,” says Noel. “Cadence Bank’s investment over the past several years has certainly made a difference in the numbers of children and families we’ve been able to serve.”
Cadence Bank is proud to support Canopy Children’s Services and all they do to support the children of Mississippi. To learn more about how we’re helping people, companies and communities prosper, visit our Stories page.
This article is provided as a free service to you and is for general informational purposes only. Cadence Bank makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or timeliness of the content in the article. The article is not intended to provide legal, accounting or tax advice and should not be relied upon for such purposes.