7345 Red Oak Road, Union City, GA 30291 | 770-964-3301 |

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Raenelle and Bob Stockmeier

ACTIVE SENIOR RESIDENTS AND VOLUNTEERS

Raenelle and Bob Stockmeier – Patio Home Residents Since 2010

The big brown bus rolled into the Dairy Queen parking lot. Shrieks of joy from 13 elementary school age girls (and one little boy) reverberated throughout the cavernous Dodge van! A wonderful surprise visit to America’s ice cream fantasy land! The girls (and one little boy) were relishing the thought of tasty treats! But then the driver swerved back onto the road that led to home; Christian City, Flint cottage. The girls (and one little boy) were crestfallen, but they knew Dad Stockmeier loved to joke with them.

God works in mysterious ways and is not shy about turning us completely around to travel in another direction to do the work He bids us to do. I was in my sixth year of public school teaching, building a solid career. My wife, Rae, our children, my parents (Bob and Jeanette), sister Janice, and brother Terry were all living in the town where I was born and raised. I had not even the smallest thought of leaving Ohio. None.

But then . . . My father died suddenly only two years after my youngest brother, Leslie, had died in an automobile accident. I felt like I needed to be somewhere else – maybe just for a while. When I look back, I see that God was turning me in the life direction that He had purposed for me since being formed in Jeanette Stockmeier’s womb.

Ray and Annelle Black, Rae’s parents, were some of the first house parents at Christian City Home for Children in the 1960s. They were the beloved “Dad” and “Mom” to a home full of younger boys and later to the older girls. Having known Bob (Christian City’s first Executive Director) and Doreen Puckett and Jack Roebuck (Superintendent), my father-in-law arranged an interview and we were hired as house parents in the early 1970s. In a short time, we came to love Jack. He loved God. And he loved the house parents. Jack had a special love in his heart and soul for Christian City’s children. We learned from Jack to strive to love these children as God did. They were family. He saw loving house parents as essential in the familial lives and development of our divinely placed children. I remember Jack saying in a house parents’ meeting that “If house parents need something, and we don’t have it, we need to go out and dig a hole to find it.”

I was a “Yankee” in Georgia! A vivid memory from my first days in Georgia (Raenelle is Georgia-born and cultured, a “preacher’s kid,” — she really is a Georgia peach) a little guy from a nearby cottage walked up to this stranger and asked me, “Is this you-alser’s house?” I knew I was in the south! I can show you the spot today, after almost 50 years, where this cute little guy asked his question! Although it took a little time for the indigenous folks and myself to fully understand each other, we all had good-natured fun with one another.

Summarizing our years as Christian City house-parents brings back many memories.

With great fondness, I remember managing the Union City “Colts” baseball team for 11 and 12-year-old boys. 1973 was an especially good year; we won the local Georgia Amateur Baseball League title! Another house parent, Clyde Moore, was the coach and one of his sons, Danny, was on the team. Danny is all grown up now and works at Christian City.

Raenelle and I grew and matured in the Lord at Christian City. Our sense of love of family expanded to include all 13 girls (and one little boy). Three of those girls were our daughters, and, the one little boy on the bus? Our tow-headed son. I remember shopping trips in the early ‘70s to the Richway store on Old National Highway. People did a double-take when they heard 14 children call us “Mom” and “Dad!” That was special to both of us.

After serving as house parents at Christian City for three years, I returned to the classroom and taught junior high and senior high history and geography for the next 38 years at Christian schools in Georgia. I loved the children and loved my subject matter. Sometimes in class I would stop talking, pause, and then address the high schoolers: “Wow! – Look at this! I’m being paid to do what I love so much—talking about History!”

And now a little bit from “Little Bit” (Rae):

While Bob was having fun teaching, I worked at Southern Bell/BellSouth and later was a deputy clerk for the Commissioner of Roads and Revenue, and even later as Assistant City Clerk in a town outside of Athens. Then, somehow, time, as it often does, sneaked up on us and we “retired” in 2011.

Where to go? Not much time was spent on the “where.” We would retire to a place that we loved – Christian City! Back home! Our new neighbors quickly extended invitations to their church homes. We live in the Harper Valley community at Christian City and believe it is a very special place to live. (I am sure that others feel that way about their own Christian City community – there are four patio home communities and four apartment complexes.)

We all look out for one another. We’re following the two greatest commandments found in God’s Word when we love the Lord our God with all our heart and love our neighbors as ourselves.

We desire to serve the Lord here at this time and in this place as many of our neighbors do the same. Volunteer service fulfills a very important part of the day-to-day needs at Christian City, especially now that the campus has grown to hundreds of acres.

When we were here in the ‘70s, Red Oak Road was a dirt road to Highway 138. There were few senior patio homes, no welcome center, no apartments, no assisted living facility, no rehab or skilled nursing center, no thrift store, and no Children’s Village of today—just four cottages housing the Home for Children.

Today, all of these places use volunteers on a daily basis—in some cases, the need is for someone to just give a smile, a word of encouragement, or a listening ear. You don’t have to sing, play the piano, dance, or give a speech—just the giving of your time and presence is a present given in love to Christian City’s residents.

I enjoy volunteering to play the piano and sing at the Wednesday morning Bible study in the Christian City Assisted Living Center’s Memory Care floor. It brings such joy to me when one of the residents recognizes a song and begins to sing the words! Joy! This is a part of being a volunteer with the Spiritual Care office and it is a great place in which to volunteer. (Bob’s parents had a 30-resident nursing home in Ohio—’reckon that’s where we got our love of ministering to our senior community!)

My part-time work at Lester Road Christian Church (just up the hill from Christian City) keeps me busy during the week, but I still have time before our church’s worship service on Sunday mornings to volunteer at Fairburn Health Care where Bob teaches Bible truths to the residents and I lead the singing. The residents are precious people and souls there, too. Precious souls are everywhere! It is my privilege to minister to God’s children here at Christian City and at FHC.

More from Bob:  

A favorite volunteer ministry of mine, aided by Rae, Myrna Johnson (Life Enrichment Director) and her wonderful CNAs, is the weekly People’s Club event, which was created for the spiritual, social and artistic enrichment of senior residents not only at Christian City, but also for those in the senior retirement neighborhoods that surround Christian City.

We have speakers, musicians, singers, preachers, motivational speakers, authors, public servants, and many other great folks in the People’s Club lineup. For their ministry, we thank each featured speaker/entertainer for giving their time and talent for the benefit of our residents. For many Christian City residents, People’s Club is a chance to gather with neighbors to socialize, be entertained and learn something!

Yes—we loved Christian City in the 1970s and we love Christian City today. We are blessed to live among residents, staff and leaders who strive to love our neighbors as God commands.

Truly, the Lord was, and still is, in this place called Christian City!

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Ben Parham

RESIDENT OF CHILDREN’S VILLAGE – 2002 to 2012

I was 9 years old when I came to Christian City on Mother’s Day in 2002.

There were four of us – my older brother who was 13, my 11-year-old sister, and my younger brother who was 5.  We were taken out of a very messy home, and I came to Christian City with just a black bag of clothes. It was very sad at the time, but now I know it was for the better.

A year after being at Christian City, my grandma passed away. If we had stayed with her instead of going to Christian City, we would have been homeless after her death. I realized then that Christian City was for the better.

But, Christian City was different. We had a much bigger family there, and it took about a year or two of getting used to living with a bigger family. And we all went to private school, which was great. I went to private school from 6th grade up to graduation – Bedford through middle school and Lighthouse for high school. The camps were awesome, too.  I loved WinShape Camp and Squirrel Hollow Camp.

We went to church every Sunday when I lived at Christian City. I went to Peachtree City Christian Church and was involved in some of the youth activities. Going to church every Sunday was new to me, but I liked it. I got to meet new friends and a lot of people.

While at Christian City, I lived in two of the first cottages built in the 1960s – Flint Cottage and Price Cottage. They were made of cinderblock. Flint Cottage is now the new Recreation Center for…

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retired seniors who live at Christian City. I was able to walk through it while it was being remodeled in 2018.

The Children’s Village of today was built during the time I was living at Christian City.

The new cottages were awesome! The buildings were all new with the latest designs, including drywall instead of cinderblock. Our furniture was new, too. I actually moved into the first new cottage that was built, and the open floorplan made a big difference. We had a study area with three new computers instead of one computer for eight people to use like at the older cottages.

When I think about what life was like at Christian City, I remember pushing the grocery carts when the family went shopping at Sam’s Club, Walmart or Kroger. We always needed several carts! A typical day for our family with Mom and Dad Cater began with getting up in the morning and getting into the van to go to school. After we were picked up from school, we went home and did homework. Afterwards, sometimes I’d leave with Dad Cater to pick up kids who played sports. We’d come back home and Mom Cater fixed dinner. Mom and Dad Cater were good cooks, and I learned a little bit about cooking from them.

After dinner, we had to do chores. Each person had an assigned chore for a week.  I’d clear the table, load the dishwasher, and wash dishes. I didn’t like that part. Doing dishes was my least favorite chore, but I didn’t mind vacuuming, because it was easy with the big open floor plan of the house.

Mom and Dad Cater cared about us kids. If we needed something, they helped us get it.  They were easy to talk to. If I had a hard day at school, I could talk to Mom and Dad Cater and they would help me calm down.

I volunteered at Graceland Thrift Store at Christian City when I was 15. We weren’t paid, but we got an allowance. One important thing I learned at Christian City was to save money. I was taught to work for what I wanted, and money was put into a savings account. I still do that. It is true that you value things more when you work for them.

After I graduated from high school, I moved over into the graduate transition apartment located on the older campus at Christian City. I lived there for 6 months.

I’m 26 now, and I’ve been in Florida for 7 years. Life was moving along pretty good until last year when I lost my home in Mexico Beach during Hurricane Michael, a category 4 storm.

My wife, Brittany, and I were engaged at the time. She is a police officer, and she was still on duty when I was told to evacuate. All our belongings had been placed upstairs in our house with only flooding expected. Brittany was told to evacuate the next day, and we rode out the storm together in a hotel in Dothan, Alabama, watching CNN the whole time.

When we saw the news the next morning with overhead footage of the destruction, we knew everything was gone and we had nothing to go back to. The 100-mile drive from Dothan to Mexico Beach took 13 hours. We salvaged some stuff – a toy box, some memorabilia, and I got some of my work clothes out of the rubble.

In November, we decided to get married on the slab where our home had been located.

We cut down trees and found wood in the rubble to make the benches, and everything for our wedding was donated, including food. Brittany’s dress was donated from Bainbridge, Georgia, where she grew up. Our photographer came all the way from Orlando. She heard about our story and wanted to take free wedding photos for us.

Everything was set up the day of the wedding, and it was a major hit. Brittany’s police sergeant performed the ceremony. Since we didn’t have electricity, our music was played from a police intercom and a phone. Even the police chief got involved. Since there were no street signs, the chief and a fellow officer put his police car at the top of the road to mark where our wedding was being held.

It was different, but I would not change a thing. It was memorable, and it made news headlines! It was closure for us to get married on the foundation slab. Brittany described our wedding as being “from the end of an era to a new beginning.” That made sense to me.

We’ve decided to move 15 minutes inland. A friend bought the land for us, and we just closed on the property. We’ll have a modular home placed on it and go from there.

I’m a volunteer firefighter, and my paying job is with the Mexico Beach public works department. My job is to dredge the mouth of the canal to make boaters happy. Right now, we have no boaters, because of the storm. I dredge the canal to keep it open, so water keeps flowing out.

When I first came to Florida and took a job in the City public works department, my boss asked if I knew how to operate a barge. When I said I didn’t, he told me I was about to learn. I’ve been operating a barge for seven years now. I know the position very well, but I’ve also worked every position in the city. For the past two months, I’ve been working in the sewer and water department. I can do every position, and my goal is to move up in city employment.

I credit my time at Christian City with preparing me to be a good employee and hard worker.

When people ask me where I grew up, I tell them I grew up at Christian City, a foster home in Union City, Georgia. I get asked that a lot down here in Florida. I learned a lot from being at Christian City. If I hadn’t been there, I probably wouldn’t be the person I am today.

I still enjoy church in Florida like I did at Christian City. My church here was destroyed in the storm, but I have a new home church. It takes me an hour to drive there, and sometimes we miss because of our work schedules. It’s so important to have a church family when you’re going through hard times.

If I were asked to talk to a 9-year-old boy who had just come to Christian City to live, I would let him know the house parents are there for him. I would tell him it may be hard for a couple of months, but it will get better and he’ll make friends. There’s always somebody he can talk to. I’d let him know it’s going to be okay, because I’ve been there. I remember what it’s like.

See the TV story about Ben Parham’s unique wedding on the slab of his hurricane-devastated home.

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Dreambuilder Award Presented to Christian City CEO, Len Romano

The Fayette Chamber of Commerce has presented the 2018 Carolyn Cary Dreambuilder Award to Christian City President & CEO, Len Romano. The award was renamed in 2017 for Fayette Chamber founder, Carolyn Cary, the first recipient of the Dreambuilder award in 2002.

“The award is given to an individual or company that has had a significant vision for our community,” said Fayette Chamber CEO, Colin Martin. “Like Carolyn Cary, award recipients have selflessly given of their time and talents to make a difference in Fayette County; and their community spirit and dedication are shown both in word and deed,” Martin added.

The award recipient is selected by the outgoing board chair and announced at the chamber’s annual meeting. “Len’s dedicated service on the board of the Fayette Chamber for the past few years has been invaluable. Combine that with his amazing leadership of an organization that brings hope to the abused and the neglected, we see a dedication to this community that will have a lasting impact for generations to come which led to his selection for this well-deserved award,” said Stephen Childs, 2018 Fayette Chamber Board Chairman and an executive with Panasonic Automotive Systems Company of America.

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 in south metro Atlanta. The 500-acre campus includes the Children’s Village Residential Program, Crossroads Foster Care & Adoption Program, Safe Place Runaway & Homeless Youth Program, Thrive Graduate Transition Program, 500 homes for active seniors, a thrift store, 200-bed skilled nursing and rehabilitation center, 150-bed assisted living center, and two memory care units. For more information, call 770-703-2636 or visit www.christiancity.org.

PHOTO (by Larry Regier): Lee Whetstone (left), 2019 Chairman of the Fayette Chamber of Commerce and Regional Business Manager with MAU Workforce Solutions, presents the 2018 Carolyn Cary Dreambuilder Award to Christian City President & CEO, Len Romano. Pictured at right is Colin Martin, Fayette Chamber President & CEO.

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Little Free Libraries Installed at Christian City

Union City, Ga – January 14, 2019 – Cooper Roman, a Boy Scout and Peachtree City resident, recently built and installed four Little Free Libraries on the campus of Christian City. The libraries are located outside each of Christian City’s three Active Senior Living patio home clubhouses and next to the Dog Park.

Christian City’s senior residents are excited about the libraries. They provide meeting places for neighbors to connect and share their favorite books as they take one and leave one.

Tyler Wright, Director of Campus Recreation, says, “We’re grateful to Cooper for initiating and completing this project for us. The Little Free Libraries are more than just another campus amenity; they are a way for our seniors to engage with their community in a positive way. We’re excited to read and share the joy with others!”

Cooper first learned about Christian City during his family’s search for housing for his grandfather. “My mom has also volunteered at Christian City and given presentations there,” Cooper said. His work on the project at Christian City contributed to earning his Presidential Service Award. Cooper has been in Scouting since third grade. He is a sophomore at McIntosh High and a member of the school’s lacrosse team.

About Little Free Library

Little Free Library is a nonprofit organization that inspires a love of reading, builds community, and sparks creativity by fostering neighborhood book exchanges around the world. A Little Free Library is a small, freestanding box with two shelves that hold books, providing 24/7 access to encourage reading. Through Little Free Libraries, millions of books are exchanged each year, profoundly increasing access to books for readers of all ages and backgrounds. More info at www.littlefreelibrary.org.

About Christian City

Christian City was established more than five decades 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 south of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, includes the Children’s Village Residential Program, Safe Place Program for Runaway & Homeless Youth, Thrive Graduate Transition Program, Crossroads Foster Care & Adoption Program, patio homes and apartments for active seniors, a thrift store, skilled nursing center, assisted living center, memory care, home health and hospice care. Individual and group volunteer opportunities available. More info at www.christiancity.org or call 770-703-2636.

(PHOTO by Larry Regier)

Cooper Roman, a Boy Scout and Peachtree City resident, recently built and installed four Little Free Libraries on the campus of Christian City. Cooper is pictured with several active senior residents and staff at the library located next to the Dog Park. From left: Cooper Roman, Danny O’Neal, Tyler Wright (Director of Campus Recreation), Arlene White, Gloria Kerns (with her dog Zippy), and Renee Trice.

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Soiree in Senoia Raises Funds for Crossroads Foster Care & Adoption Program

Union City – November 15, 2018 – More than 100 people came out to Bistro Hilary on November 12 for Soiree in Senoia benefiting Christian City’s Crossroads Foster Care & Adoption Program. Guests were treated to a warm, inviting atmosphere, delicious food, an online silent auction, and an informative and inspiring message about fostering and adopting children. Visit the event photo gallery here.

Len Romano, President & CEO of Christian City, opened the program by welcoming guests. LaVann Landrum, Chief Development Officer, explained the need for foster care and adoptive families, stating that more than 15,000 children are in the foster care system in Georgia. A video presentation highlighted a recent placement by the Crossroads Program of a six-child sibling group. Jennifer and Peter Barnett, a Peachtree City couple, are in the process of adopting the children. Peter says, “These children have changed our lives tremendously. They’ve been such a blessing to our family.”

Guests watched a trailer for the movie “Instant Family” (releasing Nov. 16), which provides a realistic portrayal of fostering and adopting. Michaela Guthrie, Crossroads Program Executive, spoke about growing up in foster care along with her twin sister. “Our goal at Crossroads is to find loving homes for children who are victims of abuse or neglect, especially the hard-to-place children in the foster care system: large sibling groups, teenagers and medically fragile children,” said Guthrie.

Chairman of the Christian City Board of Trustees, Delores Epps (an adoptive mother herself), closed the program by encouraging guests to share information about the Crossroads Foster Care & Adoption Program, consider becoming a foster parent, and donate to support the program financially.

Christian City’s Crossroads program was launched in 2018 with a mission to find and equip loving families for children in need of a home. Each family is given specialized care and attention to ensure adequate training and support. For more information about the program, visit our Crossroads page or contact Michaela Guthrie.

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 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, Safe Place Program, Transitional Living Program, Crossroads Foster Care & Adoption Program, patio homes and apartments for active seniors, a thrift store, skilled nursing center, assisted living center, memory care, home health and hospice care. For more information, visit www.christiancity.org or call 770-703-2636.

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Celebrities Attend Bob Crutchfield Memorial Golf For Kids Tournament

Atlanta, Ga. – October 30, 2018 – Christian City hosted celebrities and players at the sixth annual Bob Crutchfield Memorial Golf For Kids Tournament in support of the Christian City Children’s Village. The tournament was held Monday, October 8, at the Chateau Elan Golf Club.

Among the players were celebrity athletes including College Football Hall of Fame Kicker and former Chicago Bears player Kevin Butler, former Atlanta Braves players Alejandro Peña and Luis Gomez, and former standout Georgia Bulldogs DJ Jones and Fred Gibson.

The tournament was followed by a dinner, award ceremony and a panel of celebrity athletes who engaged with the crowd and discussed their professional careers and why they chose to participate in the tournament. Additionally, the Program Executive of the Children’s Village, Sarah Booth, shared a powerful story of her own childhood at the Children’s Village and how she came to work for Christian City later in life.

“We are so grateful for the sponsors and players of this tournament.  It is because of their support that Christian City is able to break the chains of generational poverty, frustrate human traffickers and provide hope and healing for abused and neglected children,” says Christian City President and CEO, Len Romano.

All proceeds from the Bob Crutchfield Memorial Golf For Kids tournament benefited Christian City’s Children’s Village, an organization that provides care for homeless and runaway children. For over fifty years, Christian City Children’s Village has acted as a safe haven for these children through residential programs, adoption programs and independent living programs. Additionally, they are partnered with twenty-six QuikTrip gas stations in Atlanta in support of the Safe Place Program.

At the suggestion of Chick-fil-A Founder Truett Cathy, the Golf For Kids tournament was started by Dale Cardwell of TrustDale. The first Golf For Kids Tournament focused on raising money to build a cottage for housing children and subsequent tournaments have provided support for the Children’s Village. This year, Christian City’s Golf For Kids tournament hosted more than 100 golfers, 42 sponsors, and raised $47,000 which was used to help abused and abandoned children who now live safely at Christian City Children’s Village. This year the tournament was named in memory of Christian City CEO Bob Crutchfield who passed away from ALS to honor his legacy of service and his love of golf.

More information on the Christian City Children’s Village is available here.

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 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, Safe Place Program, Independent Living 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. For more information, visit www.christiancity.org or call 770-703-2636.

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Christian City Hires Director of Major Gifts

Union City – September 11, 2018 – Newnan resident Anne Josey has joined Christian City Inc. as the director of major gifts. Reporting directly to the chief development officer, Josey will develop and implement strategies to raise funds through private foundations, corporations/businesses, government entities, and individuals.

With three decades of fundraising experience, Josey has raised funds for a variety of nonprofit organizations including United Way of Greater Atlanta, Piedmont Hospital Foundation, Emory University, and the Atlanta Ballet.

“We are thrilled to have Anne join the Christian City team,” said LaVann Landrum, chief development officer at Christian City.  “Along with having decades of wonderful experience and expertise that she can bring to the team; she and her husband were phenomenal chairs of our Drive & Dine event this year.  We know she will do great work for Christian City.”

Len Romano, CEO of Christian City, says, “We continue to work toward solving problems in society and we continue to answer the call to serve – to extend Christ’s call to love our neighbor.  Anne’s role will directly affect our efforts by gaining more support from our community.”

As director of major gifts, Josey will be responsible for maximizing grant funding and sponsorships as well as maintaining relationships with current and potential donors.

Josey is a graduate of Mary Baldwin College where she received her bachelor’s degree in French and political science. She and her husband Taylor live in Newnan Pines.

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 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, Safe Place Program, Transitional Living 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. For more information, visit www.christiancity.org or call 770-703-2636.

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Christian City to Showcase Patio Homes for Active Seniors

(Union City, Ga – August 2, 2018) Active seniors considering moving to a retirement community are invited to tour available patio homes during an open house event at Christian City on Saturday, August 18, 9 am – 1 pm. “We have a number of one and two-bedroom patio homes that are move-in-ready and available for lease now,” said Jane Finch, Executive Director of Active Senior Living at Christian City.

There are four neighborhoods of patio homes on the 500-acre Christian City campus, located in south Fulton County between Fairburn and Fayetteville. Active seniors over the age of 60 can lease a home for life.

“Our program allows the resident to pay a one-time amount to lease a home for the remainder of his or her life,” says Finch. Utilities are included for select communities. And a monthly maintenance fee covers trash removal, recycling, pest control, and general maintenance service.

Amenities available to residents include a strengthening center, indoor swimming pool, walking paths, planned activities, events and classes at the recreation center. Arts Alliance member and volunteer chaplain Jan Gwaltney has enjoyed living in her patio home at Christian City for eight years. “Christian City is not just affordable. It’s a special, neighborly place to live,” she says. “From live concerts and resident art shows to recreational activities and classes, there is always something to do. We look out for our neighbors, and I feel safe here,” Gwaltney says.

The open house event will be held on Saturday, August 18, from 9 am to 1 pm, in the clubhouse at Christian City’s Hilltop Acres Active Senior Living neighborhood, located at 7500 Lester Road in Union City. For more information, visit www.christiancity.org or call 770-703-2683.

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Christian City Residents Celebrate Independence Day with Golf Cart Parade

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.

PHOTO (by Larry Regier): Active senior resident, Jan Gwaltney, waves to her neighbors as the Independence Day golf cart parade passes through one of the patio home communities at Christian City.

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Christian City Launches Crossroads Foster Care & Adoption Program

In Georgia, there are currently over 15,000 children in the foster care system. This number has doubled within the past five years due to the ever-growing opioid epidemic. Christian City recognized this issue and in February of 2018, launched the Crossroads Foster Care & Adoption Program to provide private and public foster care, foster-to-adoption and public adoption for children within a 50-mile radius of their location, which is just south of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

“We wanted to respond to this issue by increasing the number of loving homes available to children in foster care and that is when we decided to launch the Crossroads program,” said Len Romano, President & CEO of Christian City.

The program is designed to help children from newborns to the age of 21 years find a loving home. The Crossroads Program provides families who are interested in adoption or foster care with initial training, home study, 24/7 on-call support and unlimited access to Christian City’s thrift store and pantry.  These services are provided to ensure the foster children and families have specialized care and support.

“We offer a crisis program for the foster child and adoptive parents. If a caregiver reports to us the child is under distress when acclimating to their new environment, we bring the child back onto the Christian City Children’s Village campus for 48 hours. Here, we give the child the attention and any skills they may need to help them reintegrate into their new home,” said Michaela Guthrie, Program Executive for the Crossroads Foster Care and Adoption Program.

Starting July 1st, Christian City will have a contract with the state to help the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services place children in foster care or adoptive homes.

More information on the Christian City Children’s Village Crossroads Foster Care & Adoptive Program is available at https://christiancity.org/crossroads/.  Interested parties may also reach out to Program Executive Michaela Guthrie at mguthrie@christiancity.org or 770-336-6566

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 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, Safe Place Program, Transitional Living 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. For more information, visit www.christiancity.org or call 770-703-2636.

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