Share your love of reading with a child this summer


Reading volunteers with Jesse's HouseYou can be a part of something BIG this summer by volunteering with Jesse’s House at the United Methodist Children’s Home!


Jesse’s House is a safe, holistic summer and after-school program through which elementary and middle school children, youth and their families connect with the wholeness of God’s love, churches engage in ministry and young adults grow as leaders.


This summer, from June 4 through July 27, Jesse’s House will serve nearly 120 children and youth at three Jesse’s House locations:

  • the Children’s Home campus (Decatur)
  • North Decatur United Methodist Church (Decatur)
  • Ebenezer United Methodist Church (Conyers)


Jesse’s House will primarily be run by 20 young adult interns who will live in community with a house pastor on the Emory University Campus.


How you can help

  • Serve as a reading volunteer at one of our three sites. Each day (Monday through Thursday) of the summer, each child gets one-on-one reading time with an adult. This cannot happen without dedicated volunteers like you. Groups can sign up to cover one week’s worth of reading volunteers for one site.


  • Provide meals for our young adult interns.
    Groups can sign up to cover one week’s worth of meals (Breakfast: Monday through Friday; Dinner: Sunday through Wednesday)


For more information and to sign up to serve, please contact Sarah Paxton (419.296.3177).


“Thank you” hardly seems enough, but…

… we’re going to say it anyway! It’s National Volunteer Week, and we couldn’t let it pass without saying a huge THANK YOU to all of our amazing volunteers at the Children’s Home. Not a day goes by without someone making a significant contribution of time and energy to make the Children’s Home a better place for the children and families we serve.


Some of our volunteers work directly with our children and families: reading, tutoring, mentoring and child care.

Volunteer with child


Some work tirelessly in our flea market buildings week after week: collecting, cleaning, pricing and selling items to benefit our programs at UMCH.

Auxiliary Flea Market volunteers


Bobbie Wakamo, Flea Market volunteer


Flea Market volunteers


Others help us make the Children’s Home a beautiful, safe place to live by painting, cleaning, weeding and planting.

Peachtree Road volunteers planting


And some feed hearts and stomachs by hosting Agape Meals – preparing dinner and spending time with our children and families on Sunday evenings.

Simpsonwood UMC Agape Meal volunteers in the kitchen


Simpsonwood UMC Agape Meal volunteers grilling


However they give, they give wholeheartedly – with compassion, understanding and generosity. We could not do what we do without our volunteers. This week and every week, we give thanks for them and for everyone who gives sacrificially to join us in “Healing Children, Uniting Families and Changing Lives” at the United Methodist Children’s Home.

The Grand Opening of our newest program!

The front of Whitehead Hall

Whitehead Hall has served many purposes through the years, but perhaps none so important as the task ahead: housing young mothers and their babies.


So on this glorious day in April, we celebrated the grand opening of the Nurturing Connections Second Chance Program.


Shower food

The theme for the Open House was… a Baby Shower, of course!


Richard Puckett at Open House

Dr. Richard Puckett, Director of PR & Development at UMCH, welcomed the crowd and opened the short ceremony with a prayer for the young moms and babies who will soon fill the rooms of the building.


Kathy Herren at Open House

Kathy Herren, Acting Deputy Director of the Division of Family and Children Services, spoke and introduced Ron Scroggy.


Ron Scroggy at Open House

Ron Scroggy, Acting State Director of the Division of Family and Children Services, spoke to the crowd.


Terence Johnson at open house

Terence Johnson, Director of Programs at UMCH, introduced the new UMCH employees who will staff the Second Chance program.


Ribbon cutting

The staff of the Second Chance program had the honor of cutting the ribbon.


Bedroom inside
Inside: one of the bedrooms to be shared by a mom and her baby.


Princess bed

A little girl will no doubt love sleeping in this cute bed!


Play area

A sitting/play area



Where the young ones will play!


While the chaos that will bring these young mothers and their babies to us is difficult, we are excited and honored to be able to serve families in this way, and to instill hope and a “second chance” for these youth and their children.

S’mores, football and new friends

After the Agape Meal on Sunday night, a men’s group from Roswell UMC came to hang out at the Children’s Home. We set up by the lake and roasted marshmallows and made s’mores for a couple of hours. Five of our youth from our Independent Living Program and one of the older children from Family Housing came to hang out. It was not planned this way, but it ended up being an all-guys event, which seemed to be good for all parties. The men talked with the younger men and got to know them and their interests.  Everyone had their fill of s’mores, and some even had more than their stomachs could take.


Then – as often happens when lots of guys get together – some of the younger men had a race, as the men watched and cheered them on. Later the youth played football as the adults watched. It was a great time for a group of older and younger men to get together, finding common ground and having a good time together.


The evening ended as the sun went down, and some of the residents stayed to watch the stars come out. That night, it didn’t feel like we were in Decatur, Georgia, but rather like we had gone somewhere far away, where the distractions of being “plugged in” had disappeared and what was left was food, new friends, and fun by all.


-Dane Martin, Supervisor of Recreation and Activities

Let’s (still) build that playground!

Wow! Thank you all so very much for all that you did to support us and rally behind the goal of winning $25,000 from the Home Depot Foundation in their Facebook contest to build a playground for our younger children on campus. The official results came in this morning, and unfortunately, we did not win the $25,000. However, we are thrilled to have received $5,000 for coming in second place, and we thank The Home Depot Foundation for that gift, and for allowing us to participate in such an exciting race-to-the-finish contest.


Congratulations to the Veterans Guest House in Reno for the win, and we know that the $25,000 grant will go far in helping to house our veterans, which is a very worthy cause!


And most of all, thank you to you, our wonderful community of friends, who rallied behind us to try to win the money for the playground. We were overwhelmed at the support we received—from old friends to brand-new supporters. We had over 17,000 votes at the end of the contest, which speaks to the strength of our community. We feel blessed to be trusted by you to carry out this important work that God has called us to.


But the work is not over! There is still a playground to be built! If everyone who voted gave at least $10, we could easily fund the remaining cost of the playground (the $5,000 we received from The Home Depot Foundation will start us out!). Please make a donation today, here on our secure website*, and together we will build that playground for our sweet children like four-year-old Sam, who we told you about in our Facebook posts.


Again, thank you so much for all that you did to vote, to share, and to spread the word of the life-saving work that is happening at the Children’s Home. We can only do what we do because of you, and we are grateful!


-Your friends at the Children’s Home


*You can also mail your donations to us. Please make your check out to UMCH, indicate that it is for the playground, and mail it to 500 S. Columbia Drive, Decatur GA 30030. Thank you!

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