Room Service Atlanta 2013 Preview


We are thrilled that Room Service Atlanta is back on our campus to make over not just one, but TWO cottages! Williams Cottage is home to young men and Smith is home to young women, all in our Independent Living Program.

Their crew of professional interior designers and design bloggers have been working for weeks, and this is their big install week. We will be posting previews (like the one above) all week on Facebook and Twitter, so be sure this “like” us and follow our updates to see this:


Transformed into something like this:


This is the second time that Room Service Atlanta has transformed our campus. They renovated Sam Bell Cottage in 2012 (pictured above and below) which now serves as our Honors Cottage for our high-achieving young men. We can’t wait to see the magic in Williams and Smith! Thank you Room Service Atlanta and designers.





Volunteers who think outside the box


Steven Hart and Tracy Pierce are two volunteers every nonprofit would love to have.


They are imaginative, funny, dependable, and they love doing things for our children, youth and families. These two men, both from Dahlonega, are proactive in finding creative ways to serve.


Here are some examples of their service:


They have brought hundreds of pounds of potatoes, cases of beef stew and other food items for our residents on campus.


They started a garden to turn over to our residents and began it with blueberries, figs and raspberries that they dug out of their land in Dahlonega.  They prepared the soil and did most of the planting.


They brought hundreds of free seedlings which were sold at our last flea market.


They treated our children and families to a fishing derby at Camp Glisson. As you can see, there were big smiles every time the kids caught a fish. It was a new experience and a huge confidence-builder.  The folks at Camp Glisson grilled hot dogs and hamburgers. It was a great day!


And they’re not tired yet! They already have plans to take our residents to a Gwinnett Braves game in August.


Thank you, Steven and Tracy! We are grateful for your creative, enthusiastic and dependable service.


Tracy teaches UMCH children about fishing


Learn more about volunteering at UMCH.



Winter volunteers


Thank you to the many groups that braved the mild but seemingly never-ending winter we had this year to volunteer or tour our campus! If your group would like to volunteer or tour, contact Alina Crews (404.327.5854).


Youth attending the D Now conference at Mount Bethel UMC volunteered as part of their weekend retreat.


These lovely ladies from Washington GA brought a car FILLED with diapers when they arrived for their tour.


The confirmation class of Griffin First UMC toured our campus one cold March morning.


Northbrook UMC confirmands volunteered - and had a lot of fun while working hard!


Volunteers from Word of Faith church's singles ministry.


Youth from Sacred Tapestry UMC volunteered on a beautiful March morning.


Thank you to all of our volunteers who keep our campus safe and beautiful!


Learn more about volunteering here.





You can help prevent child abuse


April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month


The first step in helping abused or neglected children is learning to recognize the signs of child abuse and neglect. The presence of a single sign does not prove child abuse is occurring in a family, but a closer look at the situation may be warranted when these signs appear repeatedly or in combination:


The Child:

  • Shows sudden changes in behavior or school performance
  • Has not received help for physical or medical problems brought to the parents’ attention
  • Has learning problems (or difficulty concentrating) that cannot be attributed to specific physical or psychological causes
  • Is always watchful, as though preparing for something bad to happen
  • Lacks adult supervision
  • Is overly compliant, passive, or withdrawn
  • Comes to school or other activities early, stays late, and does not want to go home
  • Reports abusive behavior


The Parent:

  • Shows little concern for the child
  • Denies the existence of—or blames the child for—the child’s problems in school or at home
  • Asks teachers or other caregivers to use harsh physical discipline if the child misbehaves
  • Sees the child as entirely bad, worthless, or burdensome
  • Demands a level of physical or academic performance the child cannot achieve
  • Looks primarily to the child for care, attention, and satisfaction of emotional needs


The Parent and Child:

  • Rarely touch or look at each other
  • Consider their relationship entirely negative
  • State that they do not like each other


Click here for more resources and detailed information on the signs of physical abuse, sexual abuse and neglect – which is the leading cause of children being placed in DFCS custody.


If you do suspect a child is being harmed, reporting your suspicions may protect the child and get help for the family. ANY concerned person can report suspicions of child abuse and neglect. Some people – including doctors, clergy, teachers, police officers and anyone who works or volunteers at a child service organization like UMCH – are called mandatory reporters and are required by law to make a report of child maltreatment.


UMCH provides mandatory reporter training to all our volunteers. Free trainings are available through the state for anyone who is a mandatory reporter (click here).


To report child abuse in Georgia, please contact your county local DFCS office or the local police department. After hours (between 5 p.m. and 8:30 a.m.) call 1-855-GACHILD.


Information courtesy of


A Hands-on Lesson in History, Politics and Making a Difference


Our GED and high school students acquired hands on history lessons and became their own advocates as they spoke out in support of Georgia House Bill 242. HB242 is a rewrite of the Juvenile Justice Code that would expand their DFCS (Division of Family and Children Services) custody age to 23 and mandate certain individual rights such as legal counsel and unsupervised court-allowed family visits.


They began by writing letters, and many of them went to the state capitol on Feb. 12th to hand-deliver the letters to their state representative, Rep. Wendell Willard.


The students were able to see other bills being voted on.

A few days later, they each received (to their amazement), a letter from Rep. Willard in the mail, thanking them for their communication and concern. That response produced a fervor in them that could not be quenched.


Determined more than ever to see this bill through, they followed the progress of the bill as it passed the House and became slated for the Senate Judiciary Committee March 13.


The students asked to return to the capital on March 13, and began writing more letters and collecting signatures in support of the bill.


When they returned this week, they spoke with Senators Josh McKoon, who is endorsing the bill, and Jason Carter (their senator).  Then they were able to sit in the meeting and watch as the bill was passed through the committee!


After it passed Rep. Willard asked the students to stand up and be recognized for their advocacy.  Then Sen. Jason Carter boasted and said, “I just want everyone to know that these students are from my district!”  Our residents were glowing!


Then a week later, our tenacious and passionate students again traveled to the Georgia capital for the Senate vote. This was the final step, and our residents had front-row seats in the galley as the Senate passed the bill. They immediately sent a text message to Julie Rogers-Martin, our Education Coordinator who began this entire process with them.  Julie says “They are on cloud nine right now knowing that they helped to enact a positive change for youth in Georgia.”



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