News & Events

Sept. 22, 2014: First annual Fam Fest a success!

The United Methodist Children’s Home held its first annual Fam Fest at Six Flags on Saturday, Sept. 20. More than 500 guests, including many of the children and families served by the Children’s Home, enjoyed a day of fun at the park including private access to the Dare Devil roller coaster for one hour, a lunch program led by WXIA 11 Alive anchor DeMarco Morgan, and entrance to a private pavilion with food and beverages.

 

42 sponsors made the event possible, including presenting sponsor Jackson Healthcare, Georgia Power, Weaver Capital Management LLC, Wells Fargo, WXIA TV Gannett Foundation, Inc., and others. The event raised more than $80,000 for the Children’s Home work to help children and families in need.

 

Here are some highlights of the day. We hope to see everyone (and more) for next year’s event!

 

The United Methodist Children's Home held its first annual Fam Fest at Six Flags on Saturday, Sept. 20. More than 500 attendees celebrated a day of fun.

The United Methodist Children’s Home held its first annual Fam Fest at Six Flags on Saturday, Sept. 20. More than 500 attendees celebrated a day of fun.

Five-year-old Taleeia races around the bumper car track.

Five-year-old Taleeia races around the bumper car track.

The Harwood family watches friends prepare to descend on a nearby roller coaster.

The Harwood family watches friends prepare to descend on a nearby roller coaster.

Fam Fest guests enjoy the Dare Devil roller coaster. Children's Home guests enjoyed private access to the roller coaster for an hour.

Children’s Home guests enjoyed private access to the Dare Devil roller coaster for an hour.

Five-year-old Cadence Thomas runs to the next ride.

Five-year-old Cadence Thomas runs to the next ride.

Yolanda White and her sons in line for the Dare Devil roller coaster.

Yolanda White and her sons in line at Six Flags.

Fam Fest guests prepare to ascend the Dare Devil roller coaster.

Fam Fest guests prepare to ascend the Dare Devil roller coaster.

WXIA 11 Alive anchor DeMarco Morgan led the Fam Fest lunch program, which included a catered meal, fellowship and bands.

WXIA 11 Alive anchor DeMarco Morgan led the Fam Fest lunch program, which included a catered meal, fellowship and bands.

More than 500 people attended the first annual Children's Home Fam Fest.

More than 500 people attended the first annual Children’s Home Fam Fest.

Young guests enjoy the candy bar in the Children's Home private pavilion. Fam Fest was made possible thanks to the generosity of 42 sponsors, who donated $110,250. The proceeds from Fam Fest will directly benefit the Children's Home work to help children and families in need.

Young guests enjoy the candy bar in the Children’s Home private pavilion. Fam Fest was made possible thanks to the generosity of 42 sponsors, who donated $110,250. The proceeds from Fam Fest will directly benefit the Children’s Home work to help children and families in need.

Aug. 26, 2014: Rebuilding a Life

Latrena Martin drove from Texas to Atlanta with her three children and the promise of a new start. She had accepted a full-time job and had an apartment lined up. But upon her arrival to the city, the job offer was unexpectedly rescinded, and her apartment was not ready. The family stayed in a hotel, but then money ran out and the apartment fell through too. Within two weeks of her arrival to Atlanta, her family was in the scary situation of sleeping in their car in a parking lot.

 

“People think that homelessness can’t happen to them,” said Noelle Owen, director of family preservation services at The United Methodist Children’s Home. “But imagine the devastating consequences of several bad things happening in a row: a family member has serious health issues, you lose a job, or your spouse dies and you haven’t planned financially. Homelessness could happen to any of us.”

 

Latrena had applied to the Children’s Home Family Housing Program, and thankfully there was an almost immediate housing availability. She was able to move in within days.

 

The Home provides a safe, comfortable home for families at risk of homelessness, giving them key support so they have a stronger chance to succeed on their own. Staff advocate for the family, as well as provide emotional, budget and employment counseling. Families typically stay at the Children’s Home for six to 18 months, until they achieve mutually agreed upon goals such as obtaining a professional license, and have developed a long-term plan for self-sufficiency.

 

“Our first night at the Children’s Home, I felt so relieved. A huge burden had been lifted,” said Ms. Martin.

 

With a secure place to live, she could focus on furthering her education – she enrolled in cosmetology school – on paying her bills, and on her children. For someone like Latrena, who had never been in a situation of needing assistance, it also was a sobering experience. But she knew she was at the home because she needed help to get to the next level.

 

And she did.

 

“It wasn’t easy,” said Ms. Martin. “There were times of struggle, but I kept pushing forward. Those of us in the program helped each other out, for example when daycare wasn’t available and I needed to go to a job interview.”

 

In July 2014, Latrena gave notice to her case worker at the Children’s Home that she would be leaving. She had received her cosmetology license, accepted a new full-time job and secured an apartment.

 

“I didn’t want to be given an exit date, I wanted to do it on my own,” she said, smiling.

 

How did she feel the first night at her new home? “Ecstatic,” she said.

 

 

Aug. 14, 2014: Changing Lives

The United Methodist Children’s Home serves children and families across North Georgia through our top-rated foster care and independent living programs, as well as our family housing cottages where families get the support they need to thrive.

 

Watch our latest video:

 

July 30, 2014: Parenting Classes Build Confidence, Prevent Abuse and Neglect

Parenting is full of challenges from time management, power struggles and dinner table battles to sleep deprivation, school difficulties and media exposure. Children in today’s society face risks associated with bullying, social media, drugs, sex and violence. For some families, poverty, homelessness, grief and loss or physical and mental health challenges may compound these struggles. All parents deserve support no matter their family configuration or socioeconomic situation.

 

At the United Methodist Children’s Home, we believe that one of the best ways to help kids is to help their parents. Across the North Georgia Conference, we support parents and prevent child abuse and neglect through parent education. When parents receive the tools that they need, children win. When more children are safe in their own homes, we see less child abuse and neglect. In 2013 alone, the Children’s Home reached 132 families in 39 counties through parenting classes.

 

Recently, we had a young, first-time mother of twin toddlers complete our parenting classes.  Jennifer* came to her first class overwhelmed by the huge daily task of keeping up with two energetic little ones all by herself. Through the classes, she learned the importance of self-care, household safety, building a support network and developing a strong parent-child relationship. Jennifer shared her experiences and connected with other parents in the class. Most importantly, these classes helped her gain confidence in herself as a parent.

 

We work with first-time moms and dads as well as seasoned parents, with the parents of unruly teenagers and with those that are just learning how to care for toddlers.  We help those who just want a little extra support as well as the parents who are desperate to regain custody of their children after unfortunate circumstances.  Families come in all shapes and sizes.  Through our parenting classes, we have the opportunity to shape those families toward a stronger and healthier future.

 

We use an evidence-based curriculum from Active Parenting developed by Dr. Michael Popkin. In the words of Dr. Popkin, “Parenting is both important and difficult…and like any job that is both important and difficult, it deserves both training and support.”

 

In each class, we create a supportive, discussion-oriented environment. Our staff work with parents to provide both the training and support needed for successful families. We teach parents about child development, making good choices, discipline methods and how to build a strong, positive relationship with their children. Parents ask real questions and share their struggles with our professional staff and other parents. Parents realize they are not alone in their journey, and it is okay to seek support.

 

Contact us in your area to find a parenting class near you OR invite us to host a class in your church or organization.

 

August District Office

Thurman Norville

706-722-8669 or tnorville@umchildrenshome.org

325 8th St., Augusta, GA 30901

 

Gainesville District Office

Sondra Rogers

770-531-3063 or srogers@umchildrenshome.org

604 Washington St. NW, A-6, Gainesville, GA 30501

 

Northwest District Office

Mike LaChapelle

706-278-4010 or mlachapelle@umchildrenshome.org

1615 Hickory St., Ste. 118, Dalton, GA 30720

 

Rome-Carrollton District Office

Catherine Casey

706-295-3911 or ccasey@umchildrenshome.org

206 E. 2nd St, Rome, GA 30161

 

Decatur Main Office

Noelle Owen

404-327-5873 or nowen@umchildrenshome.org

500 S. Columbia Dr., Decatur, GA 30030

 

Tips for Parents and Caregivers

 

  • Set a good example through words AND actions
  • Be proactive instead of reactive
  • Give energy and attention to positive instead of negative behavior
  • Keep your promises, and only make promises you can keep
  • Use consequences, not punishments and rewards
  • Include and encourage your child
  • Take care of yourself

 

When to Seek Help for Your Child

 

Parents know their children better than anyone else. Through active involvement in their children’s lives, parents are usually the first to notice when there is a sudden change or problem with a child’s behavior or emotions. Asking for help can be difficult for both parent and child. Parents can reach out to their family’s pediatrician, pastor, school or other adults in the child’s life to get support and guidance. Here are some signs that it may be time to seek professional help for your child:

 

  • Sudden drop in school performance
  • Low grades in school even when the child is trying very hard
  • Hyperactivity, fidgeting and difficulty controlling behavior
  • Worry or anxiety affecting a child’s participation in age-appropriate activities
  • Difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares
  • Frequent, unexplainable emotional outbursts
  • Frequent disobedience or aggression
  • Inability coping with problems
  • Sexual acting out
  • Frequent physical complaints with no identifiable illness
  • Abuse of drugs or alcohol
  • Self-injury or harm to others
  • Threats or attempts to run away
  • Strange thoughts or unusual behaviors

 

If your family is struggling or you would like additional support, please contact one of our offices for information about our parenting classes, counseling education, emergency financial assistance or additional community resources.

 

July 25, 2014: Overcoming Fear, with Love

Lora Petersheim always will remember the baby that broke her heart and helped her overcome fear of becoming a foster parent. A nurse, she was taking care of two babies in a neonatal intensive care unit. One had an adopted home, and throughout the day family members visited, brought gifts, laughed and spoke happily about bringing the baby home. The other baby was in the custody of the state.

 

“There were no gifts, no phone calls, no signs of love for that baby,” said Lora. “When the infant was discharged that night to DFACS, I cried and cried. I felt just a little of the pain that God feels for His children, and it was almost unbearable. My fears vanished as they were replaced with the desire to love children who needed to be loved, no matter the cost.”

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