Blog

Who doesn’t love a good makeover?!

We are thrilled to announce that we were selected as Room Service Atlanta’s non-profit for 2012, which means Sam Bell Cottage – which houses young men in our Independent Living Program – will receive a makeover, courtesy of some of the city’s best designers. Six apartments are housed in Sam Bell Cottage, and each apartment will be emptied and started from scratch. The end result should be a warm, welcoming home for our young men to stay while they work toward their independence.

 

Here are pictures of a couple of the rooms  that will be taken on by a team of designers with Room Service Atlanta:

Sam Bell Cottage teen meeting center

These rooms are used as a meeting center for the ILP students.

Sam Bell Cottage teen meeting center room 2

 

If you’d like to volunteer with Room Service Atlanta to make Sam Bell Cottage a brighter, better place for our young men to live, click here. And if you’d like to donate toward the project, click here, choose “Other,” and then type in “Room Service Atlanta.”

 

Installation is scheduled for late October, so check back then for photos of the makeover, as well as details for an Open House!

Learning what it means to be a family

Throughout August and September, the newest families in Family Housing are learning what it means to be a family!

 

Six of our parents are participating in our Active Parenting Now Parenting Skills Classes on Tuesday nights. Last week, the parents shared some of their most pressing parenting concerns and bonded over their shared experiences. In the next five weeks, we will talk about discipline, child development, and building strong relationships. These parenting classes provide parents with necessary tools to nurture healthy children of all ages and instill confidence in the parents.

 

While the adults are in their classes, the children are working with our Activities and Religious Life staff to learn what it means to be part of God’s family.

 

FH children acting out the Creation story

Dressing up as they act out the Creation story

Last week, they talked about Creation and used hands-on approaches to understand that God created everything. Next week, they will learn about how God cares for each and every one of us – no matter what!

 

We are blessed to have so many wonderful parents and children in our “family” here at UMCH!

Family Housing celebrates with a Back to School Party

One Saturday in early August, we had a Back to School Party for Family Housing generously provided by a group from Silver Leaf Lodge. The group grilled hot dogs, fried fish, set up a bouncy house, invited clowns, and brought backpacks and school supplies for our families. We even had a surprise visit from the DeKalb County Police Department who came to talk to the children about safety and let them sit in the police car.

 

The Back to School Party

 

Police officer with children at the party

 

For the past few weeks, the families in Family Housing have been preparing for the upcoming school year by gathering uniforms and school supplies, completing registration forms, arranging transportation and child care, and getting medical check-ups. Everyone is excited about the new school year, but change and transition can be hard for our kids, because they have often experienced instability before coming to UMCH. Out of our 32 children in Family Housing, 17 of the children began school on August 13. Five of our school-age children started Kindergarten. 16 of the children began at a new school.

 

Little girl at the Back to School party

 

The children have reported that they are enjoying their first week of school and that they feel prepared to start the school year. Each morning and afternoon, the school bus pulls onto our campus and our 17 children get onto the bus, excited about their new backpacks and ready to learn. The only complaints I have heard is that school is too easy so far!

 

School supplies donated by the Silver Leaf Lodge

 

Thanks to the generosity of those who have provided monetary donations, school supplies, backpacks, time, and energy, the children in Family Housing are ready and confident to begin a new school year!

 

Noelle Owen
Co-Coordinator of Family Housing

 

Greek gods and lightning bolts: a book review by Taiwan

Each youth in our Independent Living Program works with our Education Coordinator Julie Rogers-Martin to set educational goals. “Since the education center’s mission is to eradicate powerless through education, it is crucial that they are good readers,” explains Julie.

 

Taiwan is an 18-year-old who has been in our Independent Living Program since December. He plays on the softball team on Thursday nights and is a regular in our GED program. Taiwan’s goals include reading two books every month and writing a review of the books to help others who may be looking for a good read. Taiwan chose The Lightning Thief for his most recent book. We thought you might enjoy his review. Let us know if you end up reading this book as well!


The Lightning Thief
Book by Rick Riordan

 

The Lightning Thief is a great book about Percy Jackson, a twelve-year-old boy who discovers that his life is nothing like normal twelve-year-olds. One day, on a school field trip, Percy’s life starts to change when he realizes that his teacher is not only a history teacher but also a mythological monster sent from the Greek god Hades (god of the underworld). This is when Percy discovers that he is being framed as the boy who stole the god of gods, Zeus’s, master lightning bolt. He also learns that he is a demigod, the son of Poseidon, the Greek god of the seas. Percy takes on the quest to find Zeus’s master lightning bolt and to find out who framed him. Along with him is his trusted friend Grover, who is a satyr (half man, half goat) and Annabeth who is also a demigod (daughter of Athena). Together Percy and his friends will journey the world, but through the Greek’s point of view.

 

Review by Taiwan M.

A foster mother sees her prayers answered

Moore familyOne of UMCH’s foster parents, Tracy Moore, shared with us the power of prayer and how she has seen it make a difference in the lives of the children they foster. Tracy and her husband, a church  minister in Covington, have four sons. They have been a priceless addition to our UMCH foster family, not only opening their home to children, but also volunteering at Foster Care events and recruiting new foster families. “Thank you” seems very inadequate to express how we value the Moore family at UMCH. We hope you will be touched by Tracy’s story.

 

In the fall of 2011, our family was approved as a foster family with UMCH. All of us were excited and somewhat anxious. We wondered what our first placement would be like and if it would be difficult. As we waited, I felt the Lord speaking to my heart in regards to our role as a new foster family. I was somewhat confident with our ability to nurture, love and advocate for a child. But God showed me that we could take part in a ministry to these children that was something beyond what I had originally planned. This ministry would be something that would last long after our foster children would leave our home and would be something that would actually move both heaven and earth for the sake of God’s children. This ministry is intercessory prayer.

 

About a year before beginning the process to foster, I had completed a Bible study on prayer. Prayer is the discipline that brings us into the very presence of God. While God is sovereign and His will is always accomplished on earth, He uses Christians to help bring about His will. We don’t offer suggestions to Him or give Him new ideas. We simply pray according to His will.

 

We can do much for our fellow man physically through serving, preaching, teaching, and simply meeting the needs of those around us. But prayer is what allows us to partner with God on a supernatural realm. Prayer does things that we cannot do in our own power and with our own ability; it is the miraculous channel by which God’s will is brought about. According to O. Hallesby, “Prayer is the conduit through which power from heaven is brought to earth.”

 

As my husband and I had heard stories of the hardships and pain of many foster children — abuse, neglect, poverty — we realized God’s grace and truth would be the most beneficial healing salve for these children. What better way to provide it than by praying for these children’s needs! Perhaps we would be the only contact these children would ever have with the church and with their Creator. And perhaps God had brought them specifically to our home so that they could be prayed for.

 

When we received our first placement, we immediately began praying for the children’s physical bodies, as they had physical needs that had previously been unmet. We also began praying for the emotional scars that the enemy and sin had inflicted. We prayed they would feel loved, safe and secure. We also began praying that they would one day break the cycle of sin and poverty they found themselves in and that they would be reconciled to Christ and be warriors for His kingdom. And as we met their biological parents and learned their stories of heartache and sadness, we were touched by their need of God’s grace and power too. So our family also began to pray for their parents’ needs.

 

What was truly amazing is that we began to see these prayers answered in our home! We truly began to see these children receive the healing we’d asked God for, both physically and emotionally.

 

Now, five months later, the children from our first placement have left. We miss them. They left an indelible mark on our hearts, and we are sometimes tempted to worry about them. But, thankfully, we know that because of prayer we can be confident that God is still accomplishing His will for their lives because the effects of prayer continue. Although our eyes are not on those first children, they continue to be a part of our hearts and we continue to intercede for them and for their families. Since then, God has blessed us with a new child to foster, and we have the blessing of praying for him too. And, once again, we’ve had the privilege of watching God’s power change the circumstances in the life of this child. It’s truly an honor to be able to partner with God as He works His perfect will on earth.

 

-Tracy Moore

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