Press Release: UMCH Signs Leases for New Residences and Offices

CONTACT:
John P. Cerniglia, Vice President, Development
jcerniglia@umchildrenshome.org
(404) 327-5838 office; (770) 710-7663 mobile

 

 

The United Methodist Children’s Home Signs Leases for New Residences, Offices and Flea Market, Opening New Era for More Children to be Raised in a Loving Home

 

Decatur, Ga. – (August 2, 2017) – Responding to the growing needs of the children and families it serves, leaders of The United Methodist Children’s Home (UMCH) recently signed a lease to secure new housing for program residents in Tucker, Ga., and Clarkston, Ga.

 

The new program residences – for which occupancy is slated as early as mid August – will provide future housing for clients currently under UMCH’s care at the ministry’s Decatur campus, including those we serve in Independent Living and Family Housing ministries.

 

UMCH also signed a lease for new administrative and volunteer office space and UMCH Flea Market at 1967 Lakeside Parkway, Building 400 in Tucker. This progress is in step with the ministry’s plan to relocate from its 77 acre campus at 500 Columbia Drive in DeKalb Co. during late summer 2017.

 

Peyton Wimberly of Cushman & Wakefield managed the research and lease negotiations and will oversee management of space improvements. Rev. Hal Jones, The Children’s Home President and CEO, said signing the leases is another critical step in a new chapter for The Children’s Home.

 

“We now have a new residential base from which to expand our ministry,” said Jones. “This milestone opens a much wider path to continue providing services to people in DeKalb County, and to serve many more people in new communities across North Georgia.”

 

“The new space is perfectly suited for UMCH staff to provide services to clients in Foster Care, Family Housing, Independent Living and Transitional Living,” said Jones. “The site also provides a new location for the UMCH Flea Market, a decades-long tradition that will continue.”

 

UMCH currently employs about 75 staff, with essential support from thousands of volunteers. Its new space will be used for services and events including Foster Care IMPACT trainings, foster family visitations, Care Connection volunteer training, ILP/TLP mentorship, career coaching, music therapy, GED completion and scholarship applications, its regular flea market sales, the annual Children’s Christmas Celebration with Santa, and many other initiatives – all in furtherance of the ministry’s mission.

 

The Children’s Home Board of Trustees agreed to sell the ministry’s 77 acre campus to the City of Decatur during early 2017. The Decatur City Commission approved and announced the purchase at their meeting held  April 17, 2017. The $40 million proceeds are helping UMCH reach more children and families in crisis in new communities across North Georgia. Terms of the sale included retained ownership and preservation of the UMCH’s historic Moore Chapel and the City of Decatur’s agreement to preserve the gravesite of UMCH’s founder Rev. Dr. Jesse Boring.

 

The sale also created a preservation covenant honoring the unparalleled tenure of Bev Cochran, former CEO of The Children’s Home, who led the ministry for 43 years, from 1968 to 2012. The City of Decatur and The Children’s Home agreed to name the existing administration building at 500 South Columbia Drive – which will remain in use by the City – in memory of Cochran, touching the lives of thousands of UMCH alumni, their children and grandchildren.

 

The City of Decatur will determine and announce its plans for the remainder of the property and its existing buildings and resources. Additional details will be available via www.decaturga.com.

 

It is anticipated that UMCH will occupy its new locations by early fall 2017. UMCH currently houses approximately 80 individuals on campus who are served by the Family Housing and Independent Living programs. UMCH is committed to providing uninterrupted services and continued support to its residents, and will work with them on relocations based on individual needs. Current and future residents will move from group home cottages on the campus to more modern, safe and appropriate housing.

 

“In fact, the sale of our Decatur campus enables us to grow the number of children and families we serve daily by 25 percent, from serving 240 people a day, to over 300 a day,” added Jones. “Serving more children in more places is consistent with our vision and mission and is the reason our Board made this courageous, faithful and deliberate decision.”

 

The new residential lease location, which will provide uninterrupted services to current UMCH residents who are in the Family Housing, Transitional Living & Independent Living programs, is in Tucker and within a few miles of the new office. The other new residential location is in Clarkson. The office space includes approximately 50,000 square feet of flea market, meeting, training and office space.

 

Jones put the move to the new residences and offices into perspective.

 

“Funds from the sale will help The United Methodist Children’s Home to greatly expand local, community-based ministries in towns and cities across North Georgia, in partnership with many more churches,” said Jones. “Since January, when the Board voted for approval of a sale, I’ve continued to be energized by this decision, which recognizes and embraces the changing landscape in providing services to children and families while empowering UMCH to deliver on, and continuously improve, its important mission.

 

“As recently as this summer, UMCH began to launch a new Foster Care ministry in Augusta, Ga., and is calling on Methodist Churches in that area to join in this ministry of caring for child in need,” added Jones.

 

Donations and volunteers still needed

Jones added that financial donations are needed now more than ever as there is a continuous need to serve thousands of children and families. Those interested should please donate online at www.umchildrenshome.org or continue to mail donations to 500 S. Columbia Drive, Decatur, Ga., 30030.

 

“The sale of our land and signing the leases for our new locations does not reduce the urgency of assisting people in need,” said Jones. “Indeed, UMCH needs financial gifts and grants now more than ever before, if it is to keep pace with the growing child welfare crisis in our state.

 

Currently, there are over 13,000 Georgia children who have been separated from their families, and who are in state custody due to neglect, abuse or abandonment; this is a number that has doubled over the last five years. Every week, when called on by the state, UMCH must currently turn away 30 children who need a loving foster home, because of limited resources. And each week families at risk of homelessness are turned away for the same reason.

 

Donations and the flea market sales are used to serve more children and families who face trauma and seek restoration. These funds directly lead to the expansion of UMCH ministries into communities not currently served, such as Augusta, Rome, Dalton, LaGrange, Griffin, and other areas. Donations also help expand all existing ministries including Foster Care, Family Housing, Independent Living and Transitional Living, in metro Atlanta, and in new communities.

 

UMCH continues to need volunteers, especially for its growing Foster Care ministry. For volunteer opportunities and details, anyone interested should please email volunteer@umchildrenshome.org. UMCH staff, leadership and current program participants encourage anyone interested to share ideas or questions by calling 404-327-5867. Additional information is available at www.umchildrenshome.org or www.decaturga.com.

 

About The United Methodist Children’s Home

The United Methodist Children’s Home was established in 1871 in Norcross, Ga., to care for children orphaned during the Civil War, and has evolved to serve children and families in a ‘continuum of care’ model. It envisions a world where ‘all children are raised in a loving, compassionate and nurturing home.’ And it works every day toward its mission ‘to restore children and families from trauma through Jesus Christ.’ Since 1973, UMCH has cared for over 6,000 children in safe and loving foster-care homes; it provides safe housing for at-risk young adults and prepares them to make positive life decisions and become productive, independent, citizens; and it strengthens and preserves at-risk families through safe housing and support services. Today, UMCH serves over 240 children and adults a day in 40 counties across North Georgia, and it delivered over 56,000 days of care in 2016.  For more information visit www.umchildrenshome.org.

 

# # #

UMCH Wishes Foster Parents Robert and Gloria Osborn A Happy Retirement

Osborn
Robert and Gloria Osborn
UMCH Foster Parents

 

Robert and Gloria Osborn have lovingly fostered more than 75 children over the past 19 years. The Osborn’s are deservingly retiring soon and The Children’s Home wishes this special couple a very happy retirement. The Children’s Home mission is to restore children and families from trauma through Jesus Christ. Our mission cannot be fulfilled without the Osborn’s dedication to fostering, along with our several other wonderful UMCH foster parents.

 

Today marks the last day of National Foster Care Month. The Osborn’s were featured in the spring 2017 edition Signposts that highlights three long-standing foster parents and their dedication to the ministry of fostering. As The Children’s Home wishes Robert and Gloria Osborn a happy retirement, we treasure their parting words of wisdom as shared in Signposts.

 

Robert and Gloria Osborn apparently like big numbers. They’ve been married for 45 years, have been members of the Ray of Hope Church for 30 years, and have seen 76 foster children come and go out of their Ellenwood home over the course of the last 19 years. The last one just left, when the child transitioned to another family for the purpose of adoption. But that doesn’t mean Robert and Gloria, who are both retired, are going to sit back and rest on their laurels. They continue to be active with The Children’s Home, supporting other foster parents, participating in training sessions, and, most importantly, serving as an example for future foster families as well.

 

What called you to become foster parents?

Gloria: My mother was a foster parent. I was young, and at the time, we lived in a two-bedroom house. The foster child was a little boy, and after a certain age, he had to leave because he had to have a separate bedroom. It hurt me when he left, and I never forgot that. I also had an aunt who was a foster parent, and we grew up knowing her foster kids. I think she had like 38 different kids.

 

What is the most challenging thing about being a foster parent?

Gloria: When the children first come, after being taken away from their home, they’re scared, and it takes you a while to get them comfortable. The saddest thing is the details of how they ended up coming into foster care and the things that were going on in the home, and hoping that their parents get their lives together.

 

What is the most rewarding part of being a foster parent?

Robert: When the kids come up to you and hug you and they tell you that they love you. And seeing them either going back home or going to be adopted.

 

How have your family, friends, co-workers, etc. reacted to your fostering all these years?

Gloria: The first thing they always say is that they couldn’t do this, that they would get too attached. And you do get attached. But our calling is to take care of them until they find a place for them. You get in your mind that you’re going to give them the best care and get them as stable as possible so that they’ll be able to move on to a better home. And you’re so busy trying to get them up to speed, because they’re so behind on where they should be in school, manners, and just all kinds of stuff, when they either get to go home or they’re adopted, you’re glad for them. And you know they’re going there being as stable as possible and being able to love the people.

 

What advice would you give to potential foster parents?

Robert: It completely changes your life. Gloria: You realize that there are so many children that are in dire need of help and in dangerous situations and that you can help them, and you can love them, and let them go on to a permanent situation knowing that you did the best you could for them. It’s a calling, for sure. God has put this in your mind. So you do what needs to be done to help them.

 

Do you have any additional thoughts regarding fostering you’d like to share?

Gloria: It’s an awesome experience. It’s amazing to see how the kids just blossom, and it’s like, wow, I helped do this.

 

 

FAQs: The United Methodist Children’s Home Sale of Campus

THE UNITED METHODIST CHILDREN’S HOME SALE OF CAMPUS – FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

What is The United Methodist Children’s Home? What does The Children’s Home do?

The United Methodist Children’s Home (UMCH) works every day toward its mission ‘to restore children and families from trauma through Jesus Christ.’ Since 1973, UMCH has cared for over 6,000 children in safe and loving foster-care homes; it provides safe housing for at-risk young adults and prepares them to make positive life decisions and become productive, independent, citizens; and it strengthens and preserves at-risk families through safe housing and support services. Today UMCH serves over 240 children and adults per day in 40 counties across North Georgia, and it delivered over 56,000 days of care in 2016.  For more information visit www.umchildrenshome.org.

 

Why did you sell?

There is a child welfare crisis in our state. 13,000 kids are in the state’s custody. 150 kids sleep in hotel rooms with strangers each month due to a lack of foster homes. UMCH turns away 40 kids a week. All of these situations that kids face call upon us to do more. Knowing these facts, the UMCH Board voted in January to release assets tied to the property by selling its Decatur campus. This decision will help us reach more children and families in need. Funds from the sale will be used to open new offices across North Georgia, and more effectively take all four of our programs to many more children and families in communities across our state.

 

Who is the buyer?

City of Decatur (CoD)

 

What price paid?

The sale price is $40 million

 

Were there other offers? (or) Why did you sell to the City? (or) Why didn’t you list the property?

The property was never listed. Though several other parties expressed interest, the only offer received was from the City of Decatur (CoD). And we believe that the City’s offer is ideal for our mission, given the combination of their market-rate purchase price, their commitment to honor our history by preserving the chapel and founder’s burial, as well as naming campus administration building for our longtime CEO, and their responsibility to consider the public’s interests as they decide how to use the land.

 

Are you closing?

UMCH is not closing. Rather, we are expanding our services to better reach children and families who are in great need across North Georgia. We maintain our commitment to have a presence and offer services in metropolitan Atlanta.

 

Where are residents going?

Current UMCH residents will enjoy continuous and uninterrupted services provided by UMCH. Current residents will relocate to safe and appropriate housing primarily in DeKalb and Fulton counties; and they will be actively involved in helping plan this process.

 

How will the money be used?

The proceeds from the sale will be used to serve more children and families who face trauma and seek restoration. And it will be used so we can expand our ministries into communities we are not serving today, such as Augusta, Rome, Dalton, LaGrange, Griffin, and other areas. Proceeds from the sale will serve all of our ministries…our Foster Care ministry, our Family Housing ministry, and our Independent Living and Transitional Living ministries, in metro Atlanta, and in new communities as well.

 

What will happen to the Decatur campus?

The sale includes preservation of the sacred, historic Moore Chapel, and the gravesite of UMCH’s founder, Rev. Dr. Jesse Boring. The sale also creates a preservation covenant honoring the unparalleled tenure of Bev Cochran, former CEO of  The Children’s Home, who led the ministry for 43 years, from 1968 to 2012. The City of Decatur and The Children’s Home agreed to name the existing administration building at 500 South Columbia Drive – which will remain in use by the City – in memory of Cochran, touching the lives of thousands of UMCH alumni, their children and grandchildren. The City of Decatur will, of course, determine plans for the remainder of the property. 

 

What about the history on that property?

We care deeply about our 143 years of history on our Decatur campus. The lives of countless children were changed by the loving staff and volunteers who worked here over the decades. That love will continue, and will expand across North Georgia. The City is fully supporting our desire to preserve the chapel and the founder’s burial site as a way to honor our history. We are very pleased with the City’s unwavering commitment to that. Honoring our longtime CEO by naming the administration building in his memory is another nice gesture.

 

What will happen to the [trees, lake, lawns, buildings, etc.] on campus?

CoD will decide the future of the property’s existing structures and natural resources.

 

Who can I call with my [question, concern, complaint, idea, etc.]?

Feel free to please call the UMCH information line 404-327-5867

 

2016: A Year of Great Impacts

At The United Methodist Children’s Home, we envision a world where every child is raised in a loving, compassionate, and nurturing home.  With your generous support in 2016, we came so much closer to achieving that goal.  Whether you are a volunteer, donor, foster parent, or simply helped spread the word of our work, we are grateful!

 

2016 Impacts Web Graphic

 

 

Join us in 2017 and together, we can help even more children and families in need.
Foster Your family can provide that loving home that thousands of kids long for. Take advantage of the joy that comes from fostering through the Children’s Home. We will support you every step of the way.

 

Volunteer You have talents and compassion. The Children’s Home has meaningful ways for you to make a difference.

 

Give Consider becoming a monthly sustainer, ensuring the Children’s Home can grow to serve more kids in crisis. Check out creative ways to give including asset-based gifts and in-kind gifts.

 

 

UMCH Family Housing: Holiday Inspiration From the Gibson and Hector Families

Photography courtesy of John Haugaard

Meet the Gibson Family

 

“We couldn’t have imaged this holiday season being as happy as it is.”

 

Mr. and Mrs. Gibson and their three young children – two girls and a boy, could never have imagined this Christmas would turn out like it has. When they knew they needed a little help, the Gibsons did their research and found themselves welcomed at The United Methodist Children’s Home Family Housing program.

 

“We have the most amazing yard where the kids feel free to play,” said Mrs. Gibson.

 

Not only are the Gibsons thankful for having a safe place to stay at The Children’s Home, they have graciously been able to take advantage of other supports and services as well.

 

“The Christmas shopping event hosted on Dec. 10 was a real God-send,” said Mrs. Gibson. “They provided more than I could have dreamed of, not to mention entertainment for the kids and visits with Santa. And – I couldn’t believe it – our case manager even found an American Girl doll for our daughter!”

 

Since they’ve moved in, the Gibsons have been very busy with the monthly life skills workshops provided as a part the Family Housing program. They have been able to work with their case manager, Brooke Babbitt, to improve their credit and pay off past debts that hindered them from being able to obtain housing on their own. Additionally, the Family Housing program has provided the Gibsons with the opportunity to develop a budget and begin saving money for when they are ready to transition into independent housing.

 

“It is an honor for me to work with our families and just a delight to see them grow, succeed, and then to become independent once again,” said Babbitt. “Their successes are our successes.”

 

While working towards their goals, the Gibsons have attended social activities UMCH provides its families as well. They attended Fam Fest in October, and a Hawks basketball game courtesy of the team. “We have learned so much, but are also getting to spend time together and having fun as a family,” Mrs. Gibson added.

 

Mr. Gibson is simply grateful that The Children’s Home has made their lives. Better than it was, in his own words. “We’ve gone through some hardship this year, and couldn’t have imaged this holiday season being as happy as it is.”

 

The Gibsons, this holiday season, would like everyone to know that “this program really is such a great support and wonderful opportunity to give you the time and the breather to get back on your feet, and feel comfortable while you’re doing it.”

 

We at The Children’s Home cannot express how grateful we are to be able to support families like the Gibsons. There’s no better time than now to give to The Children’s Home, when our end-of-year matching campaign will double your gift. Please go online to help families like the Gibsons transform their lives. Your gift this holiday season will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $96,750 through Dec. 31.

 

 

Meet The Hector Family

 

“Being here is my Christmas gift.”

 

The United Methodist Children’s Home welcomed Precious Hector and her three daughters, ages 6, 9, and 12, to its Family Housing program early December.

 

“My grandmother always said that women are the first iteration of God that our children know,” says Ms. Hector. “Everything we say, breathe, create — they learn from us. I teach my daughters how important it is to pray and have a strong relationship with God. And what I have instilled in them, they have given back to me.”

 

The faith that surrounds them has already been the greatest gift Ms. Hector has given to her children, as well as what they return to her. “There are times when I may get a little down and troubled about a situation, and it’s one of my daughters that reassures me with, ‘Oh mom, we’re going to be alright. God loves you.”

 

Though the family only moved to The Children’s Home on December 1, Ms. Hector has jumped right in to the support services offered through the Family Housing program. She’s already developed a budget and financial plan to improve her credit with her case manager, Brooke Babbitt, who, Ms. Hector says, “is just awesome.”

 

“She’s real. It’s rare that you meet someone that is so real. And for me to be able to talk to someone that really listens and understands what I’ve been through is priceless.”

 

Ms. Hector is happy to share that she was just hired for her second part-time job at a hotel, where she has been working in the evening while training to be a tax preparer during the day. She’s been a tax preparer for the last few years, but has now passed the certification that will hopefully turn that work into a full-time job. Her hotel supervisor has suggested that she may have qualifications for management there, as well, so it is promising that opportunities are opening up for Ms. Hector and her family.

 

As for being at The Children’s Home at Christmas time, Ms. Hector says she feels blessed. “I feel very favored by God. It’s been a rough year, and now I have been given the opportunity to get myself together financially, spiritually and physically.

 

“Being here is my Christmas gift.”

 

There’s no better time than now to help families like the Hectors transform their lives. If you go online through Dec. 31 and make a donation to The Children’s Home, your gift will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $96,750.

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