Decatur First’s awesome party for our foster families


UMCH Foster Parents and the children in their homes were treated to a special Appreciation Event on Sunday, July 28th by volunteers from Decatur First United Methodist Church. Wendy Snell, Betsy Skelton, and Sydney Floyd from Decatur First had thought of everything!



Children spent time painting flower pots, making and eating ice cream sundaes, and enjoying a scavenger hunt through the church while parents received special awards and gifts plus gourmet snacks and goodies. Even the teens were treated to an outing at Fellini’s Pizza during the event!



All families went home with diapers as needed, school supplies, and Chick-fil-A gift cards!



It was a fabulous event enjoyed by our foster families and over 30 children!   It was a very special day for a special group of people! We are grateful to all who participated! Thank you, Decatur First, and thank you to our amazing foster families!


Learn more about foster care at UMCH.


Thirteen Graduates Inspire Our UMCH Family


The Children’s Home recently honored our 13 graduates and scholarship recipients on a gorgeous June afternoon.


UMCH Alumna and proud college sophomore Aleta Walker encouraged our residents. Aleta then introduced key note speaker Judge Vincent Crawford of the DeKalb County Juvenile Court.


Judge Crawford inspired everyone with his reminders “You always have a choice. So your decisions are going to matter. . . You can use the things that come to you as a disadvantage and use them to raise yourself up. You will rise!”  He also asked the graduates, “So what? Now what? You have a whole lot more to accomplish!”


Two residents won scholarships – in a tradition that dates back to our founding in 1871!  Graduation certificates were then awarded to our five high school graduates, one GED recipient, one Aveda Institute graduate and five graduates from the Child Development Association.


Five of our graduates reside in our Independent Living Program for youth, and seven are young mothers in our Family Housing program. We are immensely proud of them all!


The graduates, staff and special guests then enjoyed a delicious feast of barbeque provided by UMCH Board Member Mike Smith.


From children cheering on their moms, teenagers bragging on their friends, babies sleeping through it all, to staff and guests giving a standing ovation – it was a joyful family that gathered to praise God for our graduates’ hard work, perseverance and success.


Thank you for your gifts that make this possible.


What foster families inspire you?


May is National Foster Care month.

We asked our social workers: “What foster families inspire you?”


Tondra Stiles sent this reply:


All of them!! Each one of the families I work with has unique qualities that make them incredible foster parents. I feel so blessed knowing when I go home each night that I don’t have to worry about the children I’m working with, because they are all safe and well-cared for. BUT, if I had to give a specific example, I would tell you about the Andersons (name changed for privacy).


The Andersons became approved to care for children in December 2012, the day after Christmas. While they do not have any biological children of their own, they jumped right into fostering with a placement of two children almost immediately.


Those particular siblings came from a very affluent background, and had very atypical adjustment issues. Rather than not being used to having their needs met, they were unaccustomed to the urban city (the Andersons live in the Grant Park neighborhood of Atlanta), pedestrians, and outdoor activities.


The Andersons were incredible with these two. They took them to hike Stone Mountain and showed them the diversity that exists in the city. They brought the kids to volunteer at a food pantry, which had a very profound effect on these wealthy children.


The Andersons really knew how to find what it is the children were lacking in their homes of origin – in this case, being humble and having quality outdoor family fun – and speak that into the children’s lives.


Their second placement was very different. Again, it was a sibling group of two (a girl nearly 4 years old, and a boy aged 6). The Andersons did not skip a beat with these children. The night they arrived they were full of energy, and a little frightened of the dark and a new house. The Andersons went on a “night walk” with flashlights to get the energy out, showing them where the sounds of the house were coming from (a MARTA train nearby, the dog next door, etc).


They immediately planned an awesome birthday party for the little girl, whose fourth birthday occurred just a couple days after being moved to the Andersons.


They have taken the kids to see snow for the first time in North Georgia, to the Botanical Gardens, the Aquarium, and most recently on a trip to Disney World for Spring Break!!! These children have had the opportunity for so many wonderful experiences that they may not ever have had before, thanks to the Andersons.


Most of all, the Andersons have really shown these children the love of Jesus.


They attend Inman Park UMC every Sunday, and their church community has really embraced the children. Their current foster children both love Sunday School and look forward to going.


Recently Mrs. Anderson was getting ready for an event at the church when her foster daughter asked, “Where’s Jesus?” Mrs. Anderson quickly answered that Jesus was in Heaven. Her reply was priceless: “No! He’s everywhere!” It doesn’t get much better than that!


Could your family show a child the love of Jesus by providing a loving, creative and caring temporary home? Find out more about fostering, and help us spread the word that we need more foster families!





Play ball!


Twilight League Softball

From June 6 – August 8 (with July 4th excluded), each Thursday evening children, teenagers, and families of UMCH gather with staff, family, and volunteers for our Twilight Softball game and meal.  Volunteers (of all ages) arrive at 5:30 pm to set up and prepare for our meal.  At 6 pm, families, children, and staff arrive for an evening of softball, food, and laughter.  We need volunteers to provide the meal to feed approximately 75 people.  We have a grill and large coolers to hold drinks.  Individuals, large, and small groups of all ages are welcome to serve in this volunteer opportunity; however, only ages 10 and up can join in the softball game.  We can’t wait to join in Christian community with YOU! Contact Lindsay Geist (404-327-5878) to learn more.



More Information

Our Twilight League Softball is a 40-year tradition designed to build community on campus with staff, families, individuals, and volunteers.  It is the Kingdom of God coming together to enjoy fresh air, good food, exercise, and teamwork.  We invite parents and children in our Family Housing program, young adults ages 17-21 in our Independent Living Program, participants in our off campus Transitional Living Program, families from our Jesse’s House after school and summer camp program, teenage mothers and their children from our Nurturing Connections Program, staff, and YOU to join together in a fun, friendly game of softball at 6 pm then we eat at 7 pm all together.


Volunteers arrive at the United Methodist Children’s Home campus, 500 S. Columbia Drive, Decatur GA 30030.  When entering the campus in front of the main building, follow the roundabout driveway to the left and continue to the back of the building and then make a left towards the recreation building and field.  You will see the softball field to the right of the pool.


Please arrive by 5:30 pm when we will have a brief overview session for all volunteers. At this time we’ll give instructions for the evening, explain more about the UMCH community, and answer questions.  We will then divide tasks to begin preparing the meal while part of the group joins in the softball game.  After the softball game and meal, we will clean up.  Volunteers should be finished no later than 8:30 pm.


What to Wear?
Casual, comfortable clothing for warm weather and to play softball!


What to Bring?
An expectation for an evening in which God will use us to build a Grace-filled community on our campus.  We need you to bring some sort of main dish, sides, dessert, and drinks to feed approximately 75 people.  We will provide the paper goods, utensils, coolers, and grill.  Feel free to cook onsite or cater, whichever works better for your group.  Also, it’s a good idea not to bring personal belongings with you so that they won’t get in the way.


Lindsay can’t wait to hear from you and schedule the Thursday when y’all would love to join in community softball with us!  This is an ALL ages opportunity to fellowship and serve.


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.





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