The Dart: ‘God plants people to serve’

Published 7:00 am Sunday, March 6, 2022

VIDALIA — Living Hope Montessori School founder Calley Reed answered the door of the school on Cornerstone Drive close to where The Dart landed Thursday afternoon. She believes God places people in certain places at the appropriate times. 

This belief comes from her experiences in life. She grew up in Little Rock but when her parents divorced she moved with her dad to Sicily Island where she graduated high school. 

When she was 16, she was looking through the paper and saw an advertisement for a youth revival at a church located on Cornerstone Drive where the school is now. She decided to drive from Sicily Island to Vidalia for the revival. 

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“I met my husband that night. Several years later we got married. We live next door in an old home,” Reed said. “God plants people for a purpose. He has a place for people to be and serve. I can’t deny I was planted here.” 

A life of purpose 

Her purpose in the Miss-Lou was to serve in ministry as her husband became the pastor of Cornerstone church which used to be on the property. It is currently at the former Trinity Campus. 

After graduating from high school, she went to Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia to study vocal performance. She wanted to be an opera singer but school was expensive and God showed her it wasn’t where she needed to be. Music is something she still enjoys as she plays the guitar and is part of the worship team at Cornerstone. 

She went back to school to get a degree in developmental psychology at Liberty University and is working towards a master’s degree in clinical help and counseling. At her Montessori school, she works to help kids find their gifts and grow their talents. A responsibility she can only do with the help of her team of teachers and God. 

She and her husband have 10 kids, three of them are adopted from Peru and one from China. The four kids they adopted have faced trauma which is why she decided to study counseling. She wanted to start a restoration center at Cornerstone Church to provide counseling and career training for the community and her family. 

“We want to meet people where they are at,” Reed said. “We want to have a place for people to come if they need help starting a new life. Some need help building a life on a strong foundation. Sometimes God fixes things right away and sometimes he has people walk by you. We want to be able to help people with those needs.” 

Time well spent

Reed said she spends about 30 hours a week at the school with the students. At the church, she helps build others up. In the free time she does have, she spends it with her family in any way she can. They like to travel out west to Montana and California, they like to camp and go to the beach. 

Recently, she and her husband restored an old home adjacent to Living Hope. It was damaged by a fire in 2020, she said. They have made the house their home and converted the attic into bedrooms so kids don’t have to share rooms. 

Things have come around full circle for Reed. Her dad grew up on Myrtle Street northwest of the property where the school is. She said one day he was walking by and was saved at the church that was there. 

Before her parents split, and she was a baby, they lived in a trailer on Latimore Plantation where her home currently is. 

“There is no way all of this adds up without God. He alone has done this,” Reed said. “I had no idea this church was here. My husband and I love old homes. I remember when I was a kid I kept a journal. I wrote I wanted to live in a Victorian home and have a Christian family. All these years later we are living it.”