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

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Michael Scherer

17-YEAR RESIDENT OF HOME FOR CHILDREN

“Christian City helped me develop into the man I am today. If I had been raised with my ‘real’ family, the path that I would have followed would not have led me to this same place in my life!”

As a pastor, I find it easy to talk to others of God’s purpose and plan – showing people how God has moved with intent to help direct their path. However, for a time, it was not so easy for me! I came to Christian City in August of 1973. I was six years old.

I did not know what divorce was back then, but I do remember being shuffled back and forth each weekend from one household to the other. I later found out that I ended up at Christian City because my mom was initially trying to hide me from my father.

After it was all said and done, I ended up a ward of the state and Christian City became my official guardian. All I knew at that time is that I no longer lived with my Mom or Dad, and that I was not sure I would ever see them again. My world was turned upside down. But, it was all part of God’s plan!

When people find out I was raised at a children’s home, I get many questions on my life there, but I get two questions the most: “Do I ever wish I was raised with my “real” family? And

“How do you think you would have turned out if you had not been raised at Christian City?”

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Although there are things about being raised with my biological family that I missed, like spending time and watching my brother and sister grow up, spending holidays with cousins, aunts, uncles, etc., I would not change a single moment of my life that I spent at Christian City!

Christian City helped me develop into the man I am today. If I had been raised with my “real” family, the path that I would have followed would not have led me to this same place in my life!

Since hindsight is 20/20, I can now see how God moved and worked things out for my good, and Christian City was that vessel used to work His plan for me! Christian City is so different now than when I first came in 1973. My first house parents were Fred and Anita Parks. They had two young daughters, Angela and April, that were close to my age. I even remember their dog, Toby!

Our cottage had both boys and girls, and I remember that we were all young and we were all strangers. And even though this was all new and overwhelming, some of the new things I got to experience for the first time were not so bad. The Parks were the first people that I remember ever showing me unconditional love – love with no strings attached. I was not used to that. I thought that if you loved someone, you had to prove it! This unconditional love “thing” was awesome!

As time went on, I had several different house parents, but God saved the best for last in Lois McGhee! I am the associate Pastor at the church in Nashville that Lois attends, and I introduce Lois to others as my Mom. I can honestly say that Lois’ example of Christ in her life put the finishing touches on my personal development. Christian City provided that! One of my life verses came as a result of Lois’ wonderful example. It comes from 1 Corinthians 11:1. “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.”

Each house parent left their impression on me. Each brought something new to the table that helped to train me or remind me that I was someone special. And not just house parents! People on the administrative side were intimately involved in the ministry of Christian City. People like Sandra Walker, Dr. Cocker, Mr. Pew, Bob Puckett, Ruth Groover and Normer Adams! They all were used by God through Christian City!

The 17 years I lived at Christian City provided so many wonderful things: family, friends for a lifetime, unconditional love, self-worth, how to be an overcomer, to be a servant, and most importantly, they introduced me to Christ.

I followed up by graduating from Point University. Then I traveled in a Christian rock band and met my amazing wife Amy to whom I have been married to for 24 years (at this writing in November 2019). I have three incredible kids. Our oldest son is 24 and pursuing a career in music. Our second son is 20 and plays football and rugby. And our 14-year-old daughter loves basketball and Bible Bowl.

I have been in the ministry for almost 34 years now. I am presently at Lakeshore Christian Church in Nashville where I have been for the last 23 years! My desire for ministry came out of being at Christian City. I was a witness to all the different kids that came through, their stories and their situations. They all needed something different, and in every circumstance, Christian City was able to provide.

Christian City started with a vision. That vision took root and the ministry continues to bear much fruit! I may not always understand God’s plan and purpose for my life. But, I know now that Christian City was that instrument being used by God for me; and I believe that Christian City, as part of God’s purpose and plan, is still being used today!

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

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75 Veterans Honored at Christian City

75 veterans who live at Christian City were honored with daily events and activities during the week of Veterans Day. Individuals and groups from surrounding communities joined in the celebration to honor the men and women of Christian City who served in World War II, Korean, Vietnam and Gulf Wars.

On Monday morning, the Creekside High School JROTC Color Guard presented the colors at the Veterans Day ceremony, and Kristie Kenney, Christian City’s Director of Annual Giving, beautifully sang the National Anthem. The Monday program also included live music by the Hillbilly Band, which included a 96-year-old World War II veteran, Lofton Hill, on guitar and vocals.

President and CEO, Keith Horton, called each veteran’s name and presented a commemorative pin to each veteran. Horton 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. Horton joined Christian City as President and CEO in July 2019.

The commander of Creekside High JROTC, Col. Ret. George Fields, returned to the campus on Tuesday evening with several members of VFW 6649 in Fairburn for an evening of fellowship with the veterans who currently reside at Christian City in active senior homes, the assisted living center or skilled nursing & rehabilitation center.

Thanks to Newnan High School’s history department, a Wednesday Student-Vet Connect event allowed the juniors and seniors who are enrolled in an advanced elective Military History class at NHS to talk one-on-one with a 100-year-old World War II veteran, William Muckenfuss, a current resident of the Christian City Skilled Nursing Center. The 55 students who visited also talked one-on-one with several veterans about their experience during the Vietnam War.

Student-Vet Connect events started at Newnan High in 1995 with the 50th anniversary of World War II. Twice a year, 60-80 veterans participate in the event at the Armory in Newnan. “Over the last 25 years, we have introduced about 10,000 students to veterans through this program,” said Stephen Quesinberry, NHS History Department Chair.

Approximately 40 – 50 NHS students are also involved in the “Adopt a Vet” program, a student idea that came out of the History Club. The vets and students meet a few times a year and some have formed lasting relationships beyond high school graduation. “One of the goals of the program is to have the kids become comfortable talking with people other than their peers,” Quesinberry said.

The week-long celebration continued Thursday afternoon with a visit from Dale Barnett, US Army Ret., and National Commander of the American Legion from 2015-2016. Barnett spoke at “A Patriotic People’s Club” event in the Christian City auditorium.

On Friday afternoon, a Wall of Honor featuring portraits of many of the veterans who currently reside at Christian City was unveiled at the Recreation Center. As he welcomed the veterans and their family and friends to the vent, CEO Keith Horton stood before two World War II veterans, Albert Sessoms and Bill Muckenfuss, as he reflected on his desire to do something spectacular for our vets. “We stand on the shoulders of those who served in all conflicts. If not for those who served, we would not be where we are today,” Horton said.

“I’m grateful for the work of Tyler Garcia, our Director of Campus Recreation, in organizing a full week of events to honor our veterans,” Horton said. He also recognized Myrna Johnson, Christian City’s Director of Life Enrichment and a veteran who served five years in the U.S. Marines. Johnson presented “The Missing Man Table” in remembrance of POW and MIA veterans. Following the ceremony, attendees enjoyed refreshments and fellowship with the veterans of Christian City.

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. The nonprofit serves the entire metro Atlanta area and beyond from its campus in south Fulton County. For more information, visit www.christiancity.org or call 770-703-AMEN.

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Public Invited to Events Honoring Veterans at Christian City

UNION CITY, Ga. October 29, 2019 – Christian City has announced a week-long slate of events and activities to honor the 62 veterans who currently reside at Christian City in active senior homes, the assisted living center or skilled nursing & rehabilitation center. The public is invited to attend all events.

Monday, Nov. 11, 10am-11am
Salute to Veterans
Christian City Auditorium – 7290 Lester Road

Join us as we salute the veterans who live at Christian City! The Creekside High School JROTC Color Guard will present the colors in the opening ceremony, followed by a musical program and recognition of Christian City’s veterans by branch of service. President and CEO, Keith Horton, will present a commemorative pin to each veteran. Horton 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. Horton joined Christian City as President and CEO in July 2019.

Tuesday, Nov. 12, 6pm-8pm
Evening of Fellowship with VFW 6649
Christian City Auditorium – 7290 Lester Road

VFW 6449 will host an evening of fellowship, including a meet-and-greet and discussion of veteran benefits. The guest speaker is District 3 Commander, Wilbert Jordan.

Wednesday, Nov. 13, 9:30 am-noon
Student-Vet Connect
Christian City Auditorium – 7290 Lester Road

50 students from the history department at Newnan High School will visit Christian City for one-on-one visitations and Q&A with veterans. Veterans are encouraged to contact Tyler Wright at 770-703-2730 to participate. Stephen Quisenberry, Newnan High’s History Chair, will also present about various opportunities for veterans to interact with the NHS history department.

Thursday, Nov. 14, 3pm-4pm
A Patriotic People’s Club
Christian City Auditorium – 7290 Lester Road
Presentation by Dale Barnett, US Army Ret., and National Commander of the American Legion from 2015-2016.

Friday, Nov. 15, 2pm-3:30pm
Veterans Wall of Honor Portrait Reveal
Christian City Recreation Center – Park at 7345 Red Oak Road
(shuttle service provided from parking to Rec Center)

Join us for an afternoon celebrating the men and women who have served our country in the military. A Wall of Honor featuring portraits of more than 50 veterans who currently reside at Christian City will be unveiled. A reception with light refreshments will follow.

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. The nonprofit serves the entire metro Atlanta area and beyond from its campus in south Fulton County. For more information, visit www.christiancity.org or call 770-703-AMEN.

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Shavonda & Roc

A FAMILY REUNIFICATION STORY

Shavonda & Roc share their family’s journey to reunification with help from the Children’s Village Residential Program; along with comments from Jill & Kelvin Thompson, Human Services Professionals at Christian City for more than three decades.

Roc (Dad):
We met at Marietta High School in 10th grade.

Shavonda (Mom):
I was a teen parent in high school, but he was always there for us, since day one.

Roc:
We started struggling about three or four years ago,

and we did a lot of shuffling around back-and-forth from Union City to Rome to Cedartown to Douglasville, Georgia, just moving around and getting a temporary roof here and there. The idea of dropping your kids off somewhere while you go off and try to get started was a little much for me. I couldn’t come to terms with the idea, but Shavonda told me that it really wasn’t worth the way we were struggling. She took the big step by coming to Christian City and asking for help.

Shavonda:
I learned that not everybody is going to help when you need help. Not everybody is going to be there like you would think. I was cornered at that time, so I decided after that last weekend I spent with my kids in a hotel room that I would come and visit Christian City and at least just see the place. I didn’t have any more money. They needed food.

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I just wanted to make sure that whatever I could provide they would have. Long story short…..we came to Christian City and I was scared and devastated. I have to admit that! I came to Christian City looking for any reason to say “No, I can’t leave my kids there; no, I can’t do this; and no, this is not the right thing.” But, when I got here, it was gorgeous and beautiful. Kids were outside playing everywhere.

I got to meet with the social worker, Kelvin, and talk to him and cry to him like a big baby, and I felt terrible. I felt like I was giving my kids away. I felt horrible. I don’t know if it was Jill, but somebody came in the room and they just comforted me, handed me tissues and water, and told me “You know, we’re not trying to take your kids from you. We’re simply trying to be your hands and feet until you can get back on your feet.” That helped me feel so much better. I don’t know what it was about that statement, but that is really what made me stop and realize “I can do this.”

Kelvin (Human Services Professional – Children’s Village):
When Shavonda approached us about placing her children here, it was an emotional struggle for her. I remember that she would have emotional ups and downs and she would walk away at times feeling confident that this was the right decision and then second-guess herself, because she’s a mother and she doesn’t want to leave her children unattended someplace where she’s not present herself.

In the struggles that I experienced with Shavonda, there were times when I could listen to her and talk to her about those emotional struggles, and then offer a spiritual solution. I think that was very helpful at the time. It seemed to bring a lot of relief to her whenever we would sit down and talk and then also pray, oftentimes over the telephone, just to help her know she was on the right track and making the right decision and then she was re-motivated again.

One of the things that we try to hold onto at the Children’s Village is a wholistic approach to what children need. We are not just a place to house the children and provide for the physical needs, but also the spiritual needs, the emotional needs, the social needs, and the vocational needs. We look at all of it and try to address everything that’s needed for the child while they are here.

Jill (Human Services Professional – Children’s Village):
Family is one of the core parts of our program. We serve families and we want to give the children placed with us a family to be in, which is the house parent mom and dad family figure. They run their home much as any other family would. Kids come home from school. They have dinner time. They might play basketball. They have a bedtime. Meal times are in the dining room and everybody’s in one place sharing that meal together.

The model for Christian City is “it takes a village,” and it does. It’s not just Kelvin and me. It’s not just the birth mom or the house parents. It’s not just the kids. It really takes that team of people working together to bring the family together to bring them home. That’s our goal.

Kelvin:
We work extensively with these families to get them back together again and to give them the services and resources that they need in order to come back together again in a healthier manner.

Jill:
Mom was able to put her children’s needs first. Even though she wanted the kids to be home, she was able to say, “Let’s wait till school is out and then let me come and get them.” So we planned for that. The kids were aware of that plan, and mom worked toward that plan, and it worked out really well. We worked toward increasing visitations so the kids could become acclimated to their new home environment as well as ours. So it worked out really well.

Shavonda:
When I called Christian City, I actually got genuine, honest help. I could show people I was serious. I wanted to take this opportunity to get on my feet, get my kids, and get my home in order. I was serious and they took me seriously. I really appreciated that. I’m going to school to get my degree, my bachelor’s degree. it’s a dream come true. A year ago, I was living in my car. I would have never guessed I would be at this point today. That’s amazing.

Jill:
Shavonda was always invested in coming to the care plan meetings. Sometimes parents are not able to make it to the meetings for different reasons. She made it a point to be at the meetings so we could discuss the goals of her children while they were here. I just appreciated her always being there for her kids. They might’ve been with us, but she was always there for them.

Shavonda:
They made sure the kids were learning and developing. When my son got here, he would barely talk, and he had issues with reading. And math he didn’t understand all together. He’s at a point now where he’s better with communicating; his reading is improving; and he even understands math. He hasn’t caught up entirely, but he’s made significant progress, which I can honestly say was because of Christian City. They were amazing.

Jill:
it was very important to Shavonda to supply the needs she could for her children. She didn’t leave it all up to us. From the beginning, she was self-motivated and really invested in her children and in wanting to get them back home. We saw that by her attending school. She went back to school to get a degree. She established an apartment for them, so that they had a place to go when they started going home every weekend. Each child had a room. She fixed their rooms up and took pictures. It was a really fun process to have them make that return in the last few months.

Saniyah (daughter):
I’m happy to have my family back.

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Community Champion Awards

Stephanie Blank, Westside Future Fund and Delta Air Lines Honored at the Community Champion Awards Presented by Christian City

ATLANTA- (September 24, 2019)- The inaugural Community Champion Awards presented by Christian City was held on Thursday, September 19, 2019, at the Georgia Aquarium. Under the leadership of co-chairs Ron Canakaris and Miguel Southwell, Christian City honored individuals and organizations that have demonstrated outstanding leadership and commitment toward the betterment of the greater Atlanta community.

The Community Champion Awards dinner paid tribute to three special and deserving recipients in three categories: Stephanie Blank in the Individual category, Westside Future Fund in the Nonprofit category and Delta Air Lines in the Corporate category. Renowned broadcast journalist Monica Pearson served as emcee.

Proceeds from the 2019 Community Champion Awards focused on Christian City’s Safe Place program for runaway and homeless youth in greater Atlanta who are at risk of falling prey to sex traffickers. BJay Pak, US Attorney for North Georgia, spoke about the current state of sex trafficking in Georgia. The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, BMW of South Atlanta and Delta Air Lines supported the event as Gold Sponsors. Westside Future Fund also received a donation from the Community Champion Awards.

Other community champions were also recognized throughout the evening, including Warrick Dunn for his work in support of single mothers, Stacey Eames of Highland Bakery for her work with Boys & Girls Clubs, Charlie Brown who after serving 26 years in jail has fought to sustain himself and help others, Delta flight attendant Kim Mills-Smith who led the renovation and rebuilding of a Christian City cottage, Jennifer and Peter Barnett who adopted a group of 6 siblings, and former Children’s Village resident Cassandra Arbrester who has persevered through hardship and has found stable employment and is enrolled in college.  America’s Got Talent Season 12 runner-up and Georgia resident, Angelica Hale, closed out the night with an inspiring performance of “Rise Up.”

“We often forget to pause and reflect on the good work being done in the community,” said Christian City CEO, Keith Horton. “We are grateful for the opportunity to shed light on these individuals and organizations whose impact is felt throughout Atlanta. It has been an honor to be a part of the inaugural Community Champion Awards!”

The 2020 Community Champion Awards will be held on October 29th at the Georgia Aquarium. To submit nominations for the 2020 Community Champion Awards visit christiancity.org/communitychampion.

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 in south metro Atlanta. In addition to four Children & Family Programs (Children’s Village Residential Program, Crossroads Foster Care & Adoption Program, Safe Place Runaway & Homeless Youth Program, and Thrive Graduate Transition Program), the campus includes 500 retirement homes and apartments for active seniors, a 200-bed skilled nursing and rehabilitation center, a 150-bed assisted living center and two memory care units. For more information or to learn how you can help, call 770-703-2636 or visit christiancity.org.

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Stephanie Blank, Westside Future Fund and Delta Air Lines to be honored at Community Champion Awards presented by Christian City

The inaugural Community Champion Awards will be presented by Christian City on Thursday, September 19, 2019, at the Georgia Aquarium. Under the leadership of co-chairs, Ron Canakaris and Miguel Southwell, Christian City is honoring individuals and organizations that have demonstrated outstanding leadership and commitment toward the betterment of the greater Atlanta community.

The Community Champion Awards dinner will pay tribute to three special and deserving recipients in three categories: Stephanie Blank in the Individual category, Westside Future Fund in the Nonprofit category and Delta Air Lines in the Corporate category. Renowned broadcast journalist Monica Pearson will serve as emcee.

Stephanie Blank has made countless contributions to the community through her many years of service with United Way, Georgia State Advisory Council on Early Childhood Education, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students.

Westside Future Fund has made great strides in the revitalization of the Westside community, specifically Vine City, Ashview Heights, English Avenue and the AUC neighborhoods. With the help of Westside Future Fund, these neighborhoods have seen a significant reduction in crime and an increase in community wages.

Delta Air Lines has committed over 50 years of engagement and generous giving of time and service to the Atlanta community and beyond. Delta Air Lines also began a relationship with Christian City in 1972 by building a children’s cottage that housed teenage boys in need of a loving home.

Christian City is pleased to have support from The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, BMW of South Atlanta and Delta Air Lines as Gold Sponsors for the awards. Proceeds from the 2019 Community Champion Awards will focus on Christian City’s Safe Place program for runaway and homeless youth in greater Atlanta who are at risk of falling prey to sex traffickers. BJay Pak, US Attorney for North Georgia will speak about the state of sex trafficking in Georgia.

“We are very grateful for the examples the 2019 honorees have set for all of us,” said CEO of Christian City Keith Horton. “Our hope is to inspire others in our community to step up and support the community, including key programs like Safe Place that have a significant impact on the youth in our city.”

Click here for tickets and sponsorships!

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 in south metro Atlanta. In addition to four Children & Family Programs (Children’s Village Residential Program, Crossroads Foster Care & Adoption Program, Safe Place Runaway & Homeless Youth Program, and Thrive Graduate Transition Program), the campus includes 500 retirement homes and apartments for active seniors, a 200-bed skilled nursing and rehabilitation center, a 150-bed assisted living center, and two memory care units. For more information or to learn how you can help, call 770-703-2636 or visit christiancity.org

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Fayetteville Christian Church

SUPPORTING THE MISSION OF CHRISTIAN CITY

“…the church is the hands and feet of Jesus Christ. Christian City offers us a wonderful venue to express that kind of love.”

I’m Andrew Higle, and I’m the preacher at Fayetteville Christian Church. I’m so thankful to have the opportunity to tell you about the wonderful relationship that can exist between churches and Christian City.

Christian City gives the church I serve so many wonderful opportunities to pray and give and volunteer and serve. Christian City really does make the church to be a better place.

Coming from the Midwest, I had no paradigm to understand a place like Christian City. Yes, it’s a retirement village. It is a nursing home. But, it also has a children’s village and a place for at-risk teens. And Christian City has a wide range of care from physical therapy to hospice care. It truly is a city.

When I first came to Fayetteville Christian Church, I learned that one of our official missions was Christian City. But, I had no appreciation for what that meant. I’m used to a mission were you just give a monthly gift, but with Christian City…

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…it’s really more like a spiritual friendship. As with every friendship, there’s a blessing that goes both ways. We are a blessing to Christian City, and Christian City has been a blessing to our church members.

In fact, Christian City has become a gold standard for me. I would choose a mission that is so big that it engages everybody, both young and old. I think of a couple like Brian and Barbara who along with other people in the church met together and made lunches in appreciation for the staff at Christian City. Most recently, they brought sack lunches to the volunteers who were working to renovate and repurpose a children’s village cottage. I think that is practical way the church can bless Christian City and they’ll be blessed by using their gifts as well.

So what I’m talking about is not just bringing meals to Christian City, which is important, but volunteering in all capacities. We have students wheeling residents to Sunday afternoon worship services. We have people volunteering in the chaplain’s department and making visits to residents and offering prayers. We have church members serving on Christian City’s board. We’ve had work crews volunteer for a day and some members have volunteered in the thrift shop. Members have volunteered at Christian City for team building, too.

At all levels, we have had our church members involved in the mission at Christian City. I think it’s a beautiful thing when the mission relationship becomes so close that it kind of becomes part of the church’s DNA. I’m a preacher, so I hesitate to say that creating this kind of relationship is easy. But, it really is easy to partner with Christian City and the benefits are innumerable.

Of course, we give money, too, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Ultimately, we believe that the church is the hands and feet of Jesus Christ. Christian City offers us a wonderful venue to express that kind of love. Christian City makes the church to be a better place.

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Delta Air Lines Employees Volunteers Renovate Christian City Cottage

Hundreds of Delta Air Lines employees volunteered over a two-month period to help renovate and repurpose a Christian City cottage originally funded by Delta Air Lines employees in 1972. The Delta-Jim Turner Memorial Cottage that served as a home for children for more than four decades now has a new life as a duplex guest home serving the children and senior adults living at Christian City, a non-profit located on a 500-acre campus just nine miles south of Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

One of the 2-bedroom apartments in the duplex will be used to help facilitate family reunifications for children who live in the homes at Christian City Children’s Village. The second 2-bedroom apartment will be available for senior residents’ families and friends to lease while they are visiting. The renovation project kicked off on April 2 and the repurposed cottage was rededicated on May 30. Churches and individual supporters of Christian City provided meals for the volunteers each day.

Jim Turner, Vice President of Tech Ops and long-time Delta Air Lines employee, was also a trustee of Christian City. He was 56 when he passed away in 1971. At the renovation project kick-off event in April 2019, Jane Turner Hannon, daughter of Jim Turner, expressed her family’s appreciation for the honor bestowed on Turner when the cottage was named in his memory.

“My father truly believed that relationships built strength, whether in family, church, community or work. That is what we see at the heart of the Delta ‘personality’ and ‘spirit.’ Dad believed that we all have a responsibility to other people, and he lived out that belief through all aspects of his life, at Delta, and in his church,” Hannon said.

She recalled that her mother kept a ledger of all the donations received from Delta employees all over the country who chose to assist in the effort to build a home for teenage boys in need. “The Delta-Jim Turner Memorial Cottage was built in 1972 for $30,000, and by 1975 the home was paid off, thanks to the combined contributions of a lot of caring Delta people,” she said. “My dad had an ‘open door’ policy with the employees at Delta and regularly held meetings across all stations where he not only informed employees but also listened to them. I believe the donations from the employees were a result of their relationship with my dad. He was a wonderful father and exceptional man,” Hannon added.

Kim Mills-Smith, a 30-year veteran flight attendant with Delta Air Lines, worked with Michel Aletraris of Delta Tech Ops to organize volunteer effort and secure funding from Delta Air Lines to complete the renovation. Mills-Smith designed the floor plan and handled the interior design for the renovated duplex. She and Aletraris worked alongside Christian City volunteer project manager, Terry Chapman. “This renovation project created a vision of hope for the next 47 years,” said Mills-Smith at the re-dedication event.

Terry Chapman praised the volunteers saying, “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,” said Chapman. “It was great to see so many people committed to making sure the project was completed,” he said.

“I believe Jim Turner would be pleased with the renovation and repurpose of the cottage we just completed, and he would have enjoyed seeing all the Delta employees come together for a good cause,” said Aletraris. “At Delta, we stand on the shoulders of Delta pioneers and servant leaders like Jim Turner who came before us. I’m honored to have been a part of continuing the Delta-Jim Turner legacy at Christian City,” said Aletraris.

LaVann Landrum, Chief Development Officer, thanked Kim Mills-Smith, Michel Aletraris and Terry Chapman for coordinating and managing the cottage renovation. “None of this would have happened without you. Successful projects like this one are the result of the combined efforts of many,” Landrum said. “Delta Air Lines has been a faithful friend of Christian City for more than 50 years, and we are grateful for this continued show of support. We also appreciate contributions to this renovation project from Lowe’s of Newnan, Mega Granite and Marble, Owens Corning, Atlanta Community Tool Bank, Legacy Christian Church, Aaron’s, 44 Appliance & Supply, M-Con Construction, the Grey Ghosts from Southern Crescent Habitat for Humanity, Sherwin Williams/Fairburn, Cheryl and Mike Cater, and the many others who stepped up to make sure all necessary building supplies and meals for volunteers were provided. Because of this dedicated group of people and companies, Christian City has been strengthened for future service to the children, families and seniors who need us,” she said.

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.

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PHOTOS:

PHOTO ABOVE (by Larry Regier):

George Martin (left), Christian City Interim President & CEO, is presented with a re-dedication plaque for the Delta–Jim Turner Memorial Cottage at Christian City. The original cottage, funded by employees of Delta Air Lines in 1972, housed teenage boys. The cottage was completely renovated and repurposed through Delta Air Lines funding and employee volunteer effort in the spring of 2019. Pictured with the plaque at the re-dedication ceremony on May 30 are (from left, front), George Martin, Christian City Interim President & CEO; Kim Mills-Smith, Delta Air Lines flight attendant and volunteer project manager; Jane Turner Hannon, Fayetteville resident and daughter of Jim Turner, Delta Tech Ops VP for whom the cottage was named; Terry Chapman, Christian City volunteer project manager; (from left, back), Michel Aletraris, Delta Tech Ops volunteer project manager; and Barry Matthews, Delta Air Lines Community Engagement Director.

PHOTO ABOVE (by Chris Rank Photography)

PHOTO ABOVE (by Chris Rank Photography)

“Before” PHOTO ABOVE (by Larry Regier

“After” PHOTO ABOVE (by Larry Regier)

“Before” PHOTO ABOVE (by Larry Regier)

Rededication Event PHOTO ABOVE (by Larry Regier)

PHOTO ABOVE (by Larry Regier)

Kim Mills-Smith, a 30-year veteran flight attendant with Delta Air Lines, worked with Michel Aletraris of Delta Tech Ops (standing in doorway) to organize volunteer effort and secure funding from Delta Air Lines to complete the cottage renovation at Christian City. “This renovation project created a vision of hope for the next 47 years,” said Mills-Smith at the re-dedication event.

 

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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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