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Christian City Hires New Chief Executive Officer

Atlanta resident Keith Horton has joined Christian City, Inc. as the chief executive officer. Officially joining the organization on July 17, 2019, Horton will be responsible for the implementation of all operational strategies on the Christian City campus.

Horton brings 11 years of experience working in child welfare services, including working at the Department of Juvenile Justice in Atlanta, both at the local and state level. He also served as commissioner of the Georgia Department of Human Services where he established Georgia’s first 24-hour child welfare intake center.

“We are delighted and excited to welcome Keith Horton to Christian City,” said Delores Epps, chairperson of Christian City board of trustees. “We are confident that Keith’s energy and passion for children will elevate the mission of Christian City in metro Atlanta and beyond. We look forward to working with Keith to provide life-changing hope through faith, community, and care.”

Prior to his new role at Christian City, Horton was the delivery director at First Data where he led a team of 15 experts to conduct verification and validation of the state of New York’s $1 billion Integration of Eligibility Systems.

Horton said, “I am very excited at the opportunity to serve as the leader of an organization that extends Christ’s call to love our neighbors. Christian City has a rich heritage of meeting the needs of others. It is our goal to be known throughout the state as the premier organization of innovative and caring professionals who provide exceptional services to senior adults and vulnerable individuals and families.”

Horton has also served in the United States military for 20 years, including his position as deputy director of the Combat Arms Force Management Division for the Pentagon. He retired at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 2006. He is also very active in his church, serving as associate pastor.

About Christian City
Christian City was established 54 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, located 15 minutes south of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and adjacent to the border with Fayette County, includes the Children’s Village Residential Program, Crossroads Foster Care & Adoption Program, Safe Place Runaway & Homeless Youth Program, Thrive Graduate Transition Program, active senior living patio homes and apartments, thrift store, assisted living center, skilled nursing & rehab center, memory care, home health and hospice care. Christian City’s Children & Family Programs help provide abused and abandoned children a safe home in a loving family environment to heal their wounded spirits and thrive. The nonprofit serves the entire metro Atlanta area and beyond from its 500-acre campus in south Fulton County. For more information, visit www.christiancity.org or call 770-703-AMEN.

Atlanta resident Keith Horton has joined Christian City, Inc. as the chief executive officer.

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Terry Chapman

VOLUNTEER & PHILANTHROPIST

the people at Christian City are like a second family to me.”

My primary community service was dedicated to Habitat for Humanity for about 25 years. I worked on 155 houses for Habitat over the years, and it was that association that led me to Christian City.

The person who was heading the Southern Crescent Habitat chapter in Jonesboro at the time came over to meet with the development director at Christian City to discuss a home construction project at the Children’s Village. The Habitat director recommended me, and I first worked on the construction of the Crisis Intervention cottage at the Children’s Village, a home used primarily for the Safe Place Runaway & Homeless Youth Program. On one big construction day, employee volunteers from Georgia Power, Delta Air Lines, and Square Foot Ministries showed up. Each group started in a corner and we met in the middle. It was beautiful!

Later, I managed the building of the food storage room, swimming pool and amphitheatre at the Children’s Village. The outdoor amphitheatre had already been designed, but the project was waiting for someone who knew how to build it. That’s what I had been doing my whole career, so it was “no hill for a climber,” as they say. Afterwards, I moved over to renovating about 50 homes in the active senior living neighborhoods, and then we repurposed a former children’s cottage into a recreation center for use by senior

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The Children’s Village is probably the primary reason I volunteer at Christian City. The idea of helping children who have no other place to go is a real joy to me. I am helping to provide a home for the children, and that’s fulfilling.

I am fortunate to have enough so that I can contribute to causes I like, and I can’t think of anything more deserving of support than kids without a place to live. I know the people who are running Christian City, and I am confident any money I contribute will be well and fairly spent. To support people and a place that protects kids is the highest and best use of my money and time.

I enjoy working with the people at Christian City. They have been kind and respectful of my skills and abilities as a professional engineer, land surveyor and building contractor. I have some skills that they don’t have available to them on the campus, and those skills are transferable. This is what I enjoy doing – managing large scale projects with lots of pieces that need to come together.

Since I have been volunteering and managing construction projects at Christian City for a number of years now, I usually have another project lined up by the time we finish the current one. And that’s okay with me, because I like to stay busy.

A few years ago, Kim Mills-Smith, a friend of mine and Habitat for Humanity volunteer who is also a flight attendant for Delta Air Lines, began helping me with design choices for some of the construction projects at Christian City – paint colors, tile, mirrors, etc. She took an interest in renovating and repurposing a former children’s cottage that had not been in use since the new Children’s Village moved to another part of the Christian City campus.

The original Delta-Jim Turner Memorial cottage was built in 1972 and funded by employees of Delta Air Lines. To make a long story short, Kim Mills-Smith and Michel Aletraris, with Delta Tech Ops, took charge of the cottage renovation project and approached Delta about recruiting volunteers and donating the money needed. Delta Air Lines funded the renovation, and 20 to 30 Delta employee volunteers showed up every work day for several weeks to complete the project.

My volunteer role at Christian City is project manager, which means I pull people together to get the work done – some who know what they are doing and some who don’t, but all volunteers are willing to work. It’s a lot of fun. All you have to do is point out something that needs to be done and they jump on it. The biggest pressure on me from a project management standpoint is always two things: one is to make sure I’ve got all the materials needed, and the second is to make sure I’ve got something to keep everybody busy.

On the Delta-Jim Turner Memorial cottage renovation, the Delta Tech Ops employees jumped right in from the first day. We removed the roof, put up new trusses, and replaced HVAC, plumbing, electrical and drywall. Some of the floors were also replaced. We did a complete overhaul. It’s all brand new now, and we rededicated the 1972 cottage in May 2019. It was great to see so many people committed to making sure the project was completed

The renovated cottage is now a duplex home with two entrances. It has been repurposed for use by both the Children & Family Programs and Active Senior residents at Christian City. Jim Turner’s daughter, Jane Turner Hannon, and several retired Delta employees who had been involved with the original cottage building came to the rededication ceremony. It was special to meet those people and hear more about how the original cottage came to be built.

At the project kick-off event, Jane Turner Hannon said her father believed in developing relationships and that we all have a responsibility to other people. She said he lived out that belief through all aspects of his life, at Delta and in his church. Kim Mills Smith said the renovation project was creating a vision of hope for the next 47 years. I agree with that, and I like to think Jim Turner would be pleased with the renovation and repurpose of the cottage we just completed. He would have enjoyed seeing all the employee volunteers coming together for a good cause. I’m glad to have been able to be a part of the Delta-Jim Turner legacy at Christian City.

When I’m not working on a construction project, I like to make sure I’ve got something to do to keep busy. Usually I’m in my workshop at home turning wooden bowls, spoon carving, or working on other wood carving projects. It’s something to move to when everything else is caught up; and people seem to appreciate the pieces that I give to them.

My great grandfather was a buggy maker, so there’s history in my woodturning interest. He had a buggy shop in the backyard at his home in Crawfordville, near Augusta. That’s where I grew up. My dad was a dairy farmer and my mother was a school teacher. I graduated second in my high school class and applied to only one college, Georgia Tech, where I majored in civil engineering.

I suppose I’m high energy. I don’t normally take vacations; I take woodworking classes instead. I like to cultivate the myth that I can make anything I want!

Years ago, I had the idea to have the family put together and decorate a gingerbread house after the big Thanksgiving dinner, and that became an annual tradition. The idea took hold and we started making gingerbread houses for groups. One year I made eleven gingerbread houses!

I enjoy volunteering at Christian City and keep going back because the people appreciate what I do and respect my work and skills. Through my work, I’m able to bring a contribution that this non-profit doesn’t already have, but needs. It’s a very fulfilling association, and the people at Christian City are like a second family to me.

As I watch retired people moving into Christian City, it’s a real pleasure to help make the transition to retirement living a little more joyous and easier for them. I recognize that one day I’ll be making that transition, and hopefully someone will be there to make it easier for me, too.

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Steven Farrell

RESIDENT OF HOME FOR CHILDREN IN ‘80s & ‘90s

“My older brother and I came to live at Christian City on May 5, 1988, because my single mother could not provide adequate housing, food and clothing for us.”

I was 11 years old and my brother was 13. Although heartbreaking at the time, my mother’s decision to bring us to Christian City led us to a better life and a loving family. Brave and strong, my biological mother made a tough choice to provide a better life for her boys.

I lived at Christian City for 8 years until I graduated high school. And I graduated with honors!

Before Christian City, we bounced around to different extended family members’ homes, never staying in one place for very long. After coming to Christian City, I gained a peace of mind, because this was the first time I did not have to worry about food on the table, having clean clothes, or being able to go to school. This was also the first time my life was focused on Christ.

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Now more than three decades later, I owe my success in life to the solid foundation provided by Christian City, guided by my wonderful house parents, Cheryl and Mike Cater, who provided love, structure, and stability.

Transitioning from living with my brother and mother to being surrounded by a large family unit was difficult at first. At that time, most of the kids at Christian City were privately placed by their families, rather than being placed through the state DFCS program. It was common for kids to stay for longer periods of time or even live at Christian City for the remainder of their childhoods.

I lived in one of the cottages with a bunch of other boys and the biological children of my house parents. Surprisingly, I quickly felt at ease and adapted to my loving family home environment; they became like my own brothers and parents. I still share a special relationship and a strong bond with each one of them.

My house parents were a nurturing and natural influence. I watched Dad Cater work hard each day to provide for his family, instilling a strong work ethic and a sense of pride in a job well done. These and other life lessons rubbed off on me, too. I worked hard while living at Christian City by doing pick-ups for Graceland, the local thrift store on campus, and stocking the food pantry that served the Home for Children (now known as Christian City Children’s Village).

Before being placed at Christian City, I struggled in school. Through tutors and an individualized teaching method, I began to excel in school and graduated with honors from Mt. Pisgah Christian School. I owe my academic success to having people in my life who wanted me to do better and could provide the means for me to excel.

Also, I was thrilled to have a supportive dad and coach that I could rely on consistently. I was always athletic and played a variety of sports while adjusting to a new school, life, and family. In high school, I played baseball and basketball, and Dad Cater was the coach of both. Many of my brothers were also on the teams.

Some of my fondest memories at Christian City centered around playing sports with my Christian City family, whether it was school-sponsored or a pick-up game on the playground.

Over the years, I have reflected on my biological mother’s decision to bring us to Christian City. Now I know she was brave and strong, and I fully recognize the unbelievably tough choice she made to provide a better life for her boys. The first few years at Christian City were difficult on our relationship, and we had minimal contact. However, Christian City always encouraged and facilitated relationships with biological parents, and as a result, my mom and I eventually reconnected. To this day, we have a wonderful relationship and my biological mom and stepfather are a huge part of my life. No doubt, she did the right thing by bringing me and my brother to Christian City.

The importance of faith, family, giving back, and hard work are just a few of the values impressed upon me during my time at Christian City. Graduating from high school with honors is one of my biggest accomplishments, and I’m thankful for the countless hours and many late nights spent studying with tutors and my house parents. Immediately after high school graduation, I began working full-time and moved to an apartment with the Caters’ oldest son, my brother.

When I was 20 years old, I joined Delta Air Lines. Over the next two decades, I worked my way up to supervisor in the Customer Care Department. I remember attending the annual Christmas party Delta employees hosted for the Home for Children when I was living at Christian City. Now that experience has come full circle as my wife and I are members of the Delta employee committee that sponsors and runs the annual event.

My wife Crystal and I have been married since 2005, and we give back to Christian City any way we can. In 2018, I hosted a party at the Children’s Village commemorating the 30th anniversary of my arrival at Christian City, a time that was such an important turning point in my life! Just as Christian City was here for me and my brother in the late ‘80s, I want to help ensure that loving homes are available for any children who come to Christian City in need.

After two decades of employment at Delta, an opportunity to manage Christian City’s Graceland Thrift Store opened in 2018. I jumped at the chance to “come home” and meet the challenge of running the store and raising funds to continue supporting the Children & Family Programs. Mom and Dad Cater retired as house parents a few years ago, and they decided to continue living in an active senior residence at Christian City. The Caters have been two of my biggest supporters and volunteers as I have worked to rebuild Graceland into the thriving store I remember from the ‘90s.

I live by the motto “pay it forward.” If I can reach out to five people and help one person, and that one person reaches out to five more, the world will be a better place. I witnessed this positive ripple effect first hand while living at Christian City. Because my life was dependent on people giving to support my home and education at Christian City, I want to give back to the community that gave so much to me. Going to work at Graceland each day allows me to work toward fulfilling that mission. I want to make a difference in the lives of children who need someone to care enough to help.

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Christian City Senior Residents and Staff Members Purchase Minivan for Children & Family Programs

A successful “Count Me In” fundraising campaign led to the purchase of a 2016 Honda Odyssey minivan from BMW of South Atlanta, a faithful supporter, and friend of Christian City. The vehicle was unveiled and presented to Christian City Children & Family Programs on Friday, May 24. Financial contributions from senior residents and staff members raised a total of $24,000 to purchase the newer and more fuel-efficient vehicle. Houseparents at Christian City Children’s Village will use the van to transport children to and from school, doctor appointments and extracurricular activities.

Celebrating the vehicle presentation with residents and staff, LaVann Landrum, Chief Development Officer, said, “I’m so excited that I was able to join my gift with your gifts to purchase this vehicle. A great response across our Christian City campus helped to make this minivan possible.”

Quentin Stephens, BMW of South Atlanta’s Pre-Owned Car Director, presented the minivan keys to George Martin, Interim CEO at Christian City. “When we heard about this need, we came running,” said Stephens. “Our motto is ‘family driven.’ We want to do what we can for the younger generation because it makes for a healthier community,” Stephens commented.

About Christian City
Christian City was established 54 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, located 15 minutes south of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and adjacent to the border with Fayette County, includes the Children’s Village Residential Program, Crossroads Foster Care & Adoption Program, Safe Place Runaway & Homeless Youth Program, Thrive Transitional Living Program, active senior living patio homes and apartments, thrift store, assisted living center, skilled nursing & rehab center, memory care, home health and hospice care. Christian City’s Children & Family Programs help provide abused and abandoned children a safe home in a loving family environment to heal their wounded spirits and thrive. The non-profit serves the entire metro Atlanta area and beyond from its 500-acre campus in south Fulton County. For more information, visit www.christiancity.org or call 770-703-AMEN.

PHOTO ABOVE: (by Larry Regier) Financial contributions from senior residents and staff members raised a total of $24,000 to purchase a newer and more fuel-efficient vehicle for Christian City Children & Family Programs. House parents will use the van to transport children to and from school, doctor appointments and extracurricular activities. A successful “Count Me In” fundraising campaign led to the purchase of a 2016 Honda Odyssey minivan from BMW of South Atlanta, a faithful supporter and friend of Christian City. The vehicle was unveiled and presented on Friday, May 24.

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Tyler and Veronica

CROSSROADS FOSTER PARENTS OF 3 SIBLINGS

Q&A with Tyler and Veronica – “We love these kids, and we’re just having fun every day!”

You are some of the first foster parents to have children placed in your home through Christian City’s new Crossroads Foster Care & Adoption Program. How did you decide to become foster parents in 2018 and how did you choose Crossroads?

Veronica: When we decided it was time to try to have children, we struggled with infertility for a while. We tried fertility treatments and went on that path for a couple of years, and it just wasn’t happening. So, we just started praying. We thought maybe having a family was an “us” goal and not God’s goal. Then we decided…

…we would just let it go and give it to God; we didn’t make another appointment with the fertility doctor.

Around that time, I saw an article in the newspaper about Michaela and the new Christian City Crossroads Foster Care & Adoption Program. I knew about Christian City because some of my cousins lived in group homes. I felt like I knew their house parents because they would talk about them all the time…

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…during the summer when we all would get together. They would have all these stories to tell about things they were getting to do and places they had been. I was 7 or 8 years old, and my cousins seemed to me to have this fabulous life.

How do you get started in the foster parenting process? What’s the first step?

Veronica: After reading the article about Crossroads, we contacted Michaela to let her know we felt like this was something we needed to learn more about.

Tyler: Then we did an informational sit down with Michaela, and decided that night we would start the process.

You didn’t set out to foster a sibling group. How did that come about?

Tyler: It was definitely an instant family. The day we got the call was a Friday afternoon in October. I was at work. Michaela called to tell us about three siblings who needed to be placed in a home. When she told me the ages, I was like “Wow!” We had prepared two rooms with twin beds in case we fostered two children. When she said they were 6 months, a year, and 2 years old, I said, “I’ve got to call Veronica.” I thought, “I’m not signing up for this until she says so!” I called her right away and gave her the rundown.

Veronica: Something had to happen that day. At that moment, I just started praying: “Lord, is this going to happen?” In a couple of hours of that prayer, those three little children were in our home. We were still assembling baby beds from Walmart when they arrived. Tierra and Michaela pulled up first and the DFCS caseworker and the children were right behind them. They did the room inspection, and that was it. We were fully committed, and they were staying the night.

That must have been a memorable weekend! What happened next?

Veronica: We were trying to get a daycare set up so that we could go to work the following Monday. That Saturday, we put everybody in the car and said, “We’re going to go look at daycares.” We alternated days off from work that first week, and my sister came in from out of town to help. By Friday, everything was rolling smoothly and we had a daycare lined up for the following Monday.

Tell us about your three foster children.

Veronica: We have a little girl who’s the youngest; we will celebrate her first birthday next month. The middle child is a boy; he’ll be two next Tuesday. The oldest will be three years old in two months. We celebrate a birthday this Saturday, another one in a month, and one a month after that! We get asked if the boys are twins because they’re close in size. They’re right there together. It’s great!

What does a regular day look like in your home now that you have three children under the age of three?

Veronica: The day doesn’t come without challenges. We both work full time, and the kids are in daycare. They get sick more often because of daycare, but we’re making it work. They’re thriving and growing so much. They’re speaking. Their language has developed so much! When we first got the boys last fall, they called everybody “momma.” They had no language. Every single adult was called momma.

Tyler: Now we’re giving them goals and being proud of them when they achieve it. Every morning, I have them help me get the baby’s stuff ready for daycare: “Who’s going to carry the milk today? Who’s going to bring in the food?” They love those tasks.

Veronica: They love structure because they know what’s coming – like knowing socks go on before shoes. They like to be able to run their day. We wake up in the morning and get changed to fresh diapers, breakfast time, teeth-brushing time, and school time. They crave that structure and love it.

Have you had the resources needed to help you adjust to instantly becoming parents of three young children?

Veronica: Tierra and Michaela with Crossroads will help in any way and they’re always there for us. And we have my dad. We have a family here. People at work have been very supportive, too. Everybody is a phone call away.

Tyler: It takes our village for sure. When we first got the kids, Michaela and Tierra helped with the checklist for what we would need – like juice, sippy cups and all the other things you need for young children. We can’t say enough about how helpful they have been through the process.

Did the Crossroads training prepare you for foster parenting?

Tyler: IMPACT is a 24-hour training program. We’d meet up after work, swing through a drive-thru and go to Christian City from 4:30 until about 7 or 8 pm. It took us a month or so to complete the training.

Veronica: And we would learn. The training was very, very good. Since I am a teacher, I do a lot of training and go to a lot of conferences. But, it was totally different. The activities and things we worked through made us analyze what our life would be like as foster parents. I thought it would be more like basic facts and how to handle children with disabilities. But, it was so much more than that. It was self-reflective and eye-opening.

Tyler: It was about why you’re doing it; the reasons you’re doing this; making sure it’s not just about one reason but a bunch. You’re not only trying to build a family, but also answering a calling from God.

Veronica: It was awesome. We left those nights just going, “Wow, that was so powerful!” Given my experience with training, I didn’t expect us to be so emotionally invested in learning about ourselves through this whole process. It was so good!

Tyler: We also took CPR training and first aid training.
Tell us about the changes you’ve seen in the children over the past 6 months?

Veronica: One reason the children were placed in care was homelessness, along with failure to thrive. The oldest child was developmentally delayed. He could not speak in sentences six months ago. It was one word – if you could understand that word. Now, it’s sentences. He’ll say, “Mommy, look at my yellow car.” It’s so rewarding to see changes every single day. We’re catching up!

Tyler: When they came into our care, the middle child didn’t want to walk, because he preferred to be carried. He was 18 months old, so he should have been walking. He should have been able to stop, bend down and get something. That was one of the milestones at that age, and he was nowhere near that. The younger brother’s language has gotten much, much better, too. Honestly, he’ll say words now that I don’t think his big brother knows yet.

How do you balance the care of three small children along with your full time jobs?

Veronica: Yes, the kids have many needs, and both of us have full-time jobs, and it is about balancing. As a teacher, I’ve always been committed to my job. In fact, I’ve allowed it to define me because it’s my passion. I just pour everything I’ve got into it. I’ve been super devoted and knew it was going to be a change there.
I thought it would be more of a struggle, but I try to get work done at work. It’s a different way of life we’ve moved into, but it just came naturally. Like most working parents, you just kind of figure it out. It comes together.

Tyler: On my way to work, I’ll swing by daycare and drop off the kids. And I pick them up on the way home. Veronica and I get home around the same time to handle dinner, baths, books, and bedtime together.
Since the goal of the case plan is to reunify these siblings with their biological parents, tell us how you’re helping to bring this family back together.

Veronica: We didn’t initially have contact with the biological parents. The kids had a supervised visit scheduled where they would see their parents once a week. As of now, they have unsupervised visits one weekend day. They will go for a full day on Saturday or a full day on Sunday at their parents’ home. We meet the parents, and the kids go with them. Then we meet back up and bring them back to our home.

Tyler: We’ve really tried to team up with the parents so that they don’t miss seeing the kids and spending time with them. And things are different from a few months ago. When we all go to dinner with the parents now, it’s not chaotic like in the past. The kids no longer toss food or paper on the floor. They even offer to put the paper in the trash.

Veronica: We meet up with the parents and talk about how things are going for them, ask if there’s anything we can do, or just try to help them with resources and the things they still need to work through on their case plan. We speak to the kids’ parents on an almost daily basis and give updates on the kids and how they’re doing. I feel like if I just send them those updates and keep them in the loop, they really do appreciate it.

Now that you’ve become foster parents, do you think you made the right choice?

Veronica: We are sure that this is God’s plan. What the future looks like, we don’t know. But, we love these kids, and we’re just having fun every day. We’re so much happier. We feel like we’re doing exactly what we’re supposed to do.

Tyler: We’ve adapted to change. Instead of going to do something for us on the weekend, we’ll go to the zoo, or the aquarium, or go camping. It’s been fun. It’s all those things we thought and knew that parenting would be and the things we wanted to get to do and have in our lives, plus some, and with all the greatness of three at one time.

Veronica: We’ve never been overwhelmed. Now, we’ve had plenty to do and a lot on our plates, but we’ve never been overwhelmed. It’s been so great. For us, this has been seamless; everything has gone smoothly.

Tyler: We know we’re blessed because we couldn’t ask for greater people to be in these kids’ lives and in our lives to help us all along the way.

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2nd annual Drive & Dine event raises $262,194 for Christian City Children & Family Programs

Guests from Buckhead and Midtown to Coweta and Fayette filled the Porsche Experience Center on April 27 to raise in support of Christian City Children & Family Programs. Proceeds from the 2nd annual Drive & Dine event will help provide abused and abandoned children a safe home in a loving family environment to heal their wounded spirits and thrive. The non-profit serves the entire metro Atlanta area and beyond from its 500-acre campus in south Fulton County.

Guests had an opportunity to take a thrill ride around the 1.6-mile track with a professional driver at the wheel of a Porsche, followed by an elegant seated dinner in the atrium catered by Restaurant 356. A silent auction and live auction provided additional opportunities for guests to further support the mission of Christian City.

Event co-chairs, Alison and Kenn Bruley, welcomed and thanked guests for joining them in supporting Drive & Dine. Delores Epps, Chair of the Christian City Board of Trustees, welcomed guests to the elegant seated dinner on the dramatic mezzanine level of the Porsche NA corporate headquarters adjacent to Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport. “Our goal is safety from abuse, neglect and sex trafficking in our city,” said Epps. “Our job is not done until every child feels safe; and we cannot do it without you and your support,” she said.

Cheryl Preheim, evening anchor of WXIA 11Alive News, served as emcee for the second year. As she welcomed guests at dinner, Preheim said, “To have a resource like Christian City is a gift and a change maker.”

The heart of the event program was Preheim’s live interview of house parents, Jeanette and Jim Christensen, and their family. Their 18-year-old son, Edwin, who came to live in their home at Christian City Children’s Village two years ago, joined the couple and their two biological children on stage. Speaking of his house parents, Edwin said, “They show us hope and love, and they make me feel important.” After high school graduation this year, Edwin is planning to join the U.S. Marine Corps.

Sarah Booth, Program Executive of the Residential, Safe Place, and Thrive Programs, is a shining example of the difference Christian City Children’s Village can make in a child’s life. Following Preheim’s interview, Booth spoke about coming to live at the Children’s Village when she was twelve, because her parents were abusive. “In the beginning, I didn’t love it, but that changed. Christian City gave me a foundation,” she said.

After high school, Booth graduated from Emory University’s Goizueta School of Business. Following a few years working in Atlanta, she came back “home” to Christian City to become Director of the Safe Place Program. Since then, she has earned a Master’s degree in professional counseling and was promoted to Program Executive in 2018. “We are excited to see where Edwin will go. He is full of potential,” Booth said. Thinking a couple of weeks ahead, she said, “Mom and I are making plans for Mother’s Day. Christian City made that possible. She was my house mom at the Children’s Village and she’s still my mom.”

Expressing appreciation for the sponsors, volunteers, guests and staff who made the event a success, LaVann Landrum, Chief Development Officer of Christian City, said, “We are thrilled to be able to host our guests for an exciting and elegant event at the PEC. While it is a fun experience, they are also making a positive difference in the lives of children and families.”

About Christian City
Christian City was established 54 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 older adults, living at Christian City, a nonprofit organization that depends on the generosity of donors for financial support. The 500-acre campus, located 15 minutes from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, includes the Children’s Village Residential Program, Crossroads Foster Care & Adoption Program, Safe Place Runaway & Homeless Youth Program, Thrive Transitional Living Program, active senior living patio homes and apartments, thrift store, assisted living center, skilled nursing center, memory care, home health and hospice care. For more information, visit www.christiancity.org or call 770-703-AMEN.

PHOTO ABOVE (by Chris Rank Photography): Andrew Smola (from left), Ling-Ling Nie, Ellen Taylor and Kevin Barnes, enjoy a terrace-level view of the Porsche Experience Center track during the 2nd annual Drive & Dine event benefitting Christian City Children & Family Programs.

PHOTO ABOVE (by Chris Rank Photography): Buckhead residents and event co-chairs, Kenn and Alison Bruley, are pictured in the auction display area at the 2nd annual Drive & Dine event held at Porsche Experience Center on April 27.

PHOTO ABOVE (by www.dvphotovideo.com): Kirsten Howard takes a thrill ride with a professional driver around the 1.6-mile driver development track at Porsche Experience Center Atlanta during the 2nd annual Drive & Dine event benefiting Christian City Children & Family Programs.

 

PHOTO ABOVE (by www.dvphotovideo.com): Guests of the 2nd annual Drive & Dine were invited to tour the Heritage Gallery at Porsche Experience Center Atlanta during the April 27 event.

PHOTO ABOVE (by Matt Pendry): Novena McGee thanks her professional driver for a thrilling ride around the driver development track at Porsche Experience Center during the 2nd annual Drive & Dine event benefiting Christian City Children & Family Programs.

PHOTO ABOVE (by Matt Pendry): Jason Bare is ready for his ride with a professional driver around the driver development track at Porsche Experience Center Atlanta during the 2nd annual Drive & Dine event benefiting Christian City Children & Family Programs.

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Janet and Ron Teague

This donation is in honor of my wonderful parents as we approach Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Thank you both for setting such a wonderful example for all of us. I love you both so much.

Brian

 

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Caroline Jackson

We love you and miss you.

Penny and Robby Jackson

 

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Terrell Shanley

Terrell has very high values and a strong sense of duty to his community.  He loves children and fights to protect them.  Christian City’s values are his values.   Thank you for being a wonderful father.

Christopher Shanley

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Emma McDonald

 

Anonymous

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