December 27, 2018, was one of the most painful days of a communities’ lives. With the help of iCare Village of Hope, a brave grandma fought tooth and nail for her grandchildren, doing all she could to keep them out of foster care. Generous families in the community and their church wrapped around her and the family. Just after celebrating Christmas, amidst so much progress in this family, a fire started in their home next to the church. In seconds, the home was ablaze. The oldest daughter in the family, a warrior, and two heroic men next door ran into the flames, risking their own lives to save the lives of the children. In their efforts, they couldn’t get past the flames to one of the bedrooms, where 1-year-old-twin babies, Memphis and Memoree, brother and sister, napped together in their Pack N Play. Tragically, the twins passed away. 

Although the house is now gone, so much of the pain and trauma remain. It has always been iCare Village of Hope’s dream to transform this green space on the 3400 Woodland block from a place of trauma to a place of life, healing, and joy for children and families in the community. Little by little, they have advanced toward this vision. 

In March 2023, more than forty volunteers from NorthPoint Development and Care Portal came together over the course of multiple days to install a brand-new playground, fence, lawn furniture, and swing set. Volunteers also spent the day planting new shrubs, spreading mulch, and painting picnic tables, the fence, and the deck.  

“The name ‘Memphis’ means enduring beauty and haven for the good,” said Joe Knittig, CEO of The Global Orphan Project and Care Portal champion. “We want to call this special place ‘Memphis Park,’ and the walkway to the prayer circle ‘Memoree Lane,’ celebrating that beauty shall rise from ashes, and many children will find hope and life here.” 

iCare Village of Hope envisions this park as a place where they can further serve vulnerable children by providing a safe place for them to play and attend events. This park will also be used by local caseworkers as a meeting place for families, where parents and kids can meet to work on the reunification process. 

Natasha Rickel

Marketing & Communications Coordinator

Meet our dedicated Marketing & Communications Coordinator, Natasha, a seasoned professional with a flair for strategic brand management and integrated marketing. With an impressive background in spearheading innovative initiatives for the largest privately-held industrial development company in the US, Natasha brings a unique blend of expertise in communications, content creation, and digital strategy. Holding an M.S. in Journalism and Mass Communications with a focus in Integrated Marketing Communications from the University of Kansas, Natasha is committed to driving growth and shaping impactful brand narratives. As a board member and active member of KC IABC and the Content Marketing & Communications Manager for NorthPoint Development, Natasha plays a crucial role in our mission to enhancing the lives of children in our communities.