You made our dream a reality

Remember that Facebook competition with a prize from The Home Depot Foundation in which you helped us win second place? Thanks to your votes, the prize from The Home Depot Foundation, and then all of the donations you gave after the competition, we will soon see little children playing on this beautiful playground!


playground rendering


The Home Depot sent us this poster in anticipation of a team of their employees coming to our campus on October 24 to install the new playground, where the young children in Family Housing and Jesse’s House will be able to safely play under the watchful eyes of staff and their parents.


Check back after October 24 to see the digital rendering transformed into a physical reality! And many thanks, as always, for all you do to improve the lives of the children and families we serve.

A creative solution to a big need

Mission: collect diapers


When the call for help went out on our Facebook page two weeks ago, one man in particular stepped forward to accept the mission, and he brought many others with him. Matt McDade came to our campus last week to make a large donation of diapers and pull-ups. When Matt learned that we needed diapers and pull-ups, he went into action, collecting $5 from all of his coworkers at Ormsby’s and at American Hair Cuts in Midtown, and also collecting larger donations from the businesses themselves.


Then he went to Walmart, told the manager what he was doing, and obtained a 10% discount! He bought them out of pull-ups in the size requested, so he went to Kroger to finish his shopping. And then he brought all of this to us!


Matt acted as the coordinator, purchaser and driver, plus he gave of his time. Why would he do this? Matt grew up as the child of a United Methodist minister. His father was the pastor at local churches, and Matt even attended Bible study on our campus. His aunt continues to volunteer in the UMCH auxiliary each week.


But the story doesn’t end there. Because Matt went back to work, and his customers continued to ask about giving to the diaper need. A few days ago, Matt showed back up at our front door with another car FULL of diapers in all sizes!


Matt McDade delivers some diapers


We are grateful to Matt and his friends for stepping forward to accept the mission and meet a dire need with their creativity, generosity and hard work!

Mission Accomplished Logo

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


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