July 7 was a great day for community fellowship at Christian City! More than 120 senior residents, children, house parents and staff members joined together at the Christian City Recreation Center to celebrate Independence Day. A campus-wide parade of patriotically decorated golf carts driven by senior residents was followed by a block party with a cookout and live music by the Newnan Brass Band.
“We have over 90 veterans living at Christian City,” said Len Romano, President & CEO. “This event was a great way to bring our residents together to not only celebrate America’s birth but also honor the men and women who have helped preserve our freedom through their service in the military,” Romano said.
Residents of the Assisted Living and Skilled Nursing Centers waved and took pictures as the golf carts passed by their buildings. The parade then circled through the patio homes, apartment communities, and Children’s Village before finishing at the Recreation Center.
Jacquelyn Jackson, a resident of the Garden Terrace community at Christian City for four years, enjoyed shopping at Graceland Thrift Store’s grand reopening sale on Saturday before joining her neighbors at the block party. What’s her favorite thing about Christian City? Without hesitation, Ms. Jackson says, “The people!”
No doubt, the neighborly environment at Christian City draws many retirees to the community. Brenda Mueller enjoyed visiting her friends at Christian City before moving in four years ago. Now they are neighbors. “When I saw the name Mueller on the fire hydrant outside my home, I decided this must be the right place for me,” said Brenda with her trademark sense of humor and quick wit. Don’t call her a retiree though. Brenda has been employed as a bus monitor for Fayette County Schools for the past 12 years and has no plans to retire any time soon. “I love my work,” she said.
Her active lifestyle doesn’t stop when she arrives home at Christian City. Ms. Mueller loves to take walks with her dogs who prefer to create their own route rather than following the marked walking paths throughout the campus. “I let them decide where we’re going to walk each day,” she said.
Saturday’s block party and cookout were centered around the new Recreation Center, which is a recently remodeled ranch-style brick home built during the early days of Christian City’s Home for Children. The roof was raised and interior walls removed to provide a large open space for a billiard table, coffee bar and bistro tables, big-screen TV and a comfortable seating area for conversation. Just outside, residents can enjoy a game of bocce ball or shuffleboard, practice a few shots on the putting green, or stretch their legs on the cushioned walking path.
Campus Recreation Director, Tyler Wright, enjoys seeing active senior residents coming together for fun and fellowship in the new building. “Residents like having a place to play cards, Bingo, Yahtzee and board games with their friends and neighbors. Last week, a group of men gathered here to watch the Atlanta Braves game and have lunch together. We also host lots of educational classes on a variety of topics from art and crafts to computers,” Wright said.
Reliable volunteers like Danny and Debbie O’Neal and Van and Brenda Williams, make hosting big events possible. For Saturday’s event, the O’Neals created a fun photo background and fully decorated the Rec Center in red, white and blue. Both couples arrived early to set up and stayed late to clean up. “I don’t know what I would do without the generous volunteer efforts of our residents who offer to help,” Wright said.
Living at Christian City is a family affair for Van Williams, four of his siblings and two nieces, all residents of Christian City. They meet for lunch every day. Van’s sister, Doris Haynie, has lived in the Dogwood Circle community for 17 years, and it’s no surprise that her favorite thing about living at Christian City is being with family.
Before Doris and her husband retired and moved to Christian City, she led the hospital auxiliary for about 17 years in Habersham County, located in the north Georgia mountains. Her husband was employed by the state taking care of Georgia’s historical sites. Doris knows a thing or two about organizing people and events, but now she enjoys participating in the activities planned for Christian City residents. “Riding in the breeze on the golf cart this morning and seeing people along the way was great,” said Doris.
As the Independence Day celebration reached high gear, the circle of friends gathered in the Rec Center grew larger. Brenda Mueller and six of her neighbors in the Dogwood community – Gerry Stone, Eloise Barter, Lee Carder, Sue Loyd, Annie Scarbrough and Jerry Jacobs – laughed and joked about memorable housewarming gifts, Merle Norman babies, nicknames, Rummikub games and a life-size cardboard cutout of Clint Eastwood. No doubt, this close-knit group of neighbors looks out for one another and enjoys life to the fullest. “Decorating and driving the golf cart was a lot of fun today. I especially enjoyed blowing the horn!” Brenda said with a bold laugh.
In fact, boldness, zeal, and longevity are common traits among many Christian City residents. 94-year-old Louise Brown, who started the golf cart parade years ago when she was a patio home resident, enjoyed serving as the parade caboose in this year’s Independence Day parade. Louise is part of the sibling group mentioned earlier. Now a resident of Christian City Assisted Living Center, she participates in water aerobics every morning and enjoys driving her golf cart around campus. When asked at lunchtime about her favorite part of Saturday’s event, Louise said, “It’s not over yet!” That’s the Christian City spirit – always looking forward to what comes next!
About Christian City
Christian City was established 53 years ago when the first cottage for abused and abandoned children opened on Valentine’s Day, 1965. Today, there are more than 1,000 residents, both children and senior adults, living at Christian City, a nonprofit organization that depends on the generosity of donors for financial support. The 500-acre campus in South Fulton County includes the Children’s Village, Safe Place program, Crossroads Foster Care & Adoption program, patio homes and apartments for active seniors, a skilled nursing center, assisted living center, memory care, home health and hospice care. An open house showcasing available patio homes will be held on Saturday, August 18, 9am-1pm. For more information about the open house, call 770-703-2683. For general information, visit www.christiancity.org or call 770-703-AMEN.