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Drive & Dine event raises $250,147 for Christian City Children’s Village

Want to see photos from our event?

Click on the graphic above for photos by Larry Regier

Click here for photos by Chris Rank

Did you get a chance to go for a ride? Find yourself in the riding gallery!

410 guests joined together on April 28 for the inaugural Drive & Dine event at Porsche Experience Center Atlanta to raise $250,147 in support of Christian City Children’s Village and the Safe Place program. Event proceeds will help provide abandoned, abused, runaway and homeless youth a safe home in a loving family environment to heal their wounded spirits and thrive at Christian City Children’s Village. The South Fulton non-profit serves the entire metro Atlanta area and beyond.

Following a VIP reception among vintage Porsches in the Classic Car Gallery, guests had an opportunity to take a thrill ride around the 1.6-mile driver development track with a professional driver at the wheel. Cheryl Preheim, the evening anchor of WXIA 11Alive News, served as emcee. As she welcomed guests at dinner, Cheryl said, “That ride was every bit as thrilling as any roller coaster I’ve ever ridden! Now I understand what the term performance vehicle really means!”

Porsche Experience Center is part of the 27-acre Porsche Cars North America headquarters adjacent to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. The construction of the new headquarters in 2015 was Porsche’s largest investment outside of Germany. “We are thrilled to be able to invite our guests to experience this beautiful and unique venue while making a difference for children in need,” said LaVann Landrum, Chief Development Officer of Christian City.

With a dramatic backdrop of flight departures and landings at the world’s busiest airport, event chairs, Taylor and Anne Josey, took the stage. Philanthropists and residents of Newnan, the Joseys thanked guests for joining them in supporting Drive & Dine.

Taylor Josey is a commercial real estate professional and founding partner of Josey, Young & Brady Realty. He thanked sponsors and volunteers for answering the call to help fulfill the critical needs at Christian City Children’s Village and the Safe Place program. “Unfortunately, we are all aware that Atlanta is one of the top locations in this country for human trafficking,” Anne said. She continued by sharing a list of heartbreaking statistics:

  • Within the first 48 hours on the street, 33% of children are lured by sex traffickers. The number jumps to 90% when the youth remain on the streets.
  • For both boys and girls, the average age of a child who is trafficked is 11-14.
  • Sex trafficking is a $32-$50 billion profit industry in the U.S.
  • The average remaining lifespan of a child once lured into sex trafficking is only 7 years.

Christian City Children’s Village is a licensed agency of the National Safe Place Program. Partnering with QuikTrip convenience stores, local fire stations, law enforcement agencies and recreation centers throughout metro Atlanta, staff and volunteers provide immediate support and safety for runaway and homeless youth. “We are so thankful to Christian City for stepping to the forefront to rescue these children and bring them to safety. Safe Place is one way we can prevent children from becoming victims of the sex trafficking industry,” Anne concluded.

Cheryl Preheim introduced Len Romano, President and CEO of Christian City, saying, “There is a peace in the place at Christian City. Len Romano is clearly working at his passion in leading this organization.” Romano joined Christian City in 2015 after a 36-year career with the YMCA. “You can’t give love if you haven’t received love,” he said. “We help abused and abandoned children experience love – sometimes for the first time,” Romano continued, “We want our kids to have the ‘eye of the tiger,’ and that comes from having hope. When they have hope, they can have a better life.”

Sarah Booth, Program Executive of the Residential, Safe Place and Transitional Living Programs, is a shining example of the difference Christian City Children’s Village can make in a child’s life. “I came to live at the Children’s Village when I was twelve,” she said. “In the beginning, I didn’t love it, but that changed.”

Sarah graduated high school and Emory University’s Goizueta School of Business. After a few years working in Atlanta, she came back “home” to Christian City to become Director of Safe Place. Since then, she has earned a Master’s degree in professional counseling and was recently promoted to Program Executive. Sarah stressed the need for volunteers and funding for basic food, clothing, and shelter. “It takes $4 million per year to run the Children’s Village,” she said, sharing that she can relate to the children in her care today. Please know this program matters,” Sarah said to the crowd. “You guys have a chance to change the trajectory of a life.”

Landrum was overjoyed to see so many people from the community investing in the Children’s Village through the inaugural Drive & Dine event. “We sold all 400 seats well before the event date,” Landrum said. “The support from sponsors, volunteers and attendees has been phenomenal,” she said.

Drive & Dine also featured a silent and live auction. Four pieces of art by Atlanta artist, Ruth Barrett, were featured in the live auction along with several unique travel packages. As Ruth took the stage, she said, “I feel very blessed to be an artist in Atlanta. When I paint, I ask God to create through me. I like to paint roads, because we are all on a journey, moving toward light and hope,” Barrett said. “I like to empower children to use their gifts, too,” she said. Over the past couple of months, Ruth worked with the youth at Christian City Children’s Village to coach them in developing their own art creations. She then grouped their art into theme-related pieces presented in the silent auction at Drive & Dine. George Franco, Fox 5 News reporter, served as auctioneer.

Dinner guests also heard from one of the top sponsors of the event, Steve and Marie Swope. Steve is the former Chairman & CEO of The Rubicon Group and currently serves with the Archdiocese of Atlanta.

Addressing the guests of Drive & Dine, the Swopes expressed their desire to support organizations that make a profound difference. “God placed each of us on this planet to make a difference,” Steve said. “Everything we do every day of our lives is for ourselves or for someone else. I heard recently that we need to decide if we are pilgrims or tourists. Pilgrims make their communities better,” he said. Before leaving the stage, the Swopes invited the crowd to “join them as pilgrims on the journey.”

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-AMEN.

(All photos below by Larry Regier)

Steve Swope, a top sponsor of Drive & Dine, takes a thrill ride with a professional driver around the 1.6-mile driver development track at Porsche Experience Center Atlanta.

 

The inaugural Drive & Dine event to benefit Christian City Children’s Village was held at Porsche Experience Center Atlanta, part of the 27-acre Porsche Cars North America headquarters located adjacent to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. The construction of the new headquarters in 2015 was Porsche’s largest investment outside of Germany.

 

Many guests raise their hands in response to questions from Len Romano, President & CEO of Christian City. “We help abused and abandoned children experience love – sometimes for the first time,” Romano said.

 

Four pieces of art by Atlanta artist, Ruth Barrett, were featured in the live auction at Drive & Dine. On stage with auctioneer George Franco, Ruth said, “I feel very blessed to be an artist in Atlanta. When I paint, I ask God to create through me. I like to paint roads, because we are all on a journey, moving toward light and hope.”

 

Co-chairs of the inaugural Drive & Dine event, Taylor and Anne Josey (left), residents of Newnan, announce 2019 Drive & Dine co-chairs, Kenn and Alison Bruley, residents of Atlanta.

 

During the VIP reception in the Porsche Classic Car Gallery, Delores Epps (left), Vice Chair of Christian City’s Board of Trustees and Drive & Dine Planning Committee Logistics Chair, chats with Emcee, Cheryl Preheim, evening anchor of WXIA 11Alive News, and LaVann Landrum, Chief Development Officer at Christian City.

 

A current resident of Christian City Children’s Village, Paris will graduate from high school this year. “I don’t know where I would be if I had not found the Safe Place Program and Christian City Children’s Village,” Paris said from the podium at the Drive & Dine event.

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Ruth Barrett lends talents to charity

Ruth Barrett is featured on AJC for her amazing dedication to Christian City and her wonderful talent for art. Click here to read her story.

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Swopes Interview on ATL & Co.

Christian City is featured on 11Alive!

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Do You Have a Need for Speed?

Event Co-Chair, Anne Josey, invites you to satisfy your need for speed at the Drive & Dine Event at Porsche Experience Center Atlanta on April 28th! Click the video to hear more.

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Nursing Home Resident is Chef for Day at The Studio Cafe

George Fortuchang has been a resident at Christian City Skilled Nursing & Rehabilitation Center since 2006. He was born in Cameroon, West Africa, and moved to the U.S. when he was 22 years old.

After settling in Atlanta, the father of two sons began working at The Vinings Club where he started as a line cook and later advanced to chef at the club. George will never forget cooking for the World Series Champion Atlanta Braves in 1995. For many years, he dreamed of one day owning his own restaurant.

Unfortunately, George had a massive stroke at age 42 that left him paralyzed on one side of his body. He resided in a nursing home in Marietta for several years before moving to Christian City Skilled Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in south metro Atlanta, which is operated by PruittHealth.

In conjunction with the company’s annual “Committed to Caring – Second Wind Dreams” project, the Christian City Skilled Nursing & Rehab staff partnered with The Studio Café operated by Hanna Brothers, located at the Pinewood Atlanta Studios Production Centre, to fulfill George’s dream to be a chef again. George was surprised with a grand send-off by staff and residents in the lobby of Christian City Skilled Nursing & Rehab Center, followed by a limousine ride to the Cafe.

Upon arrival at The Studio Café operated by Hanna Brothers, located at the Pinewood Atlanta Studios Production Centre, George was outfitted in a chef’s uniform complete with a chef’s hat. The Executive Chef, Matt Iffland, invited George into the kitchen to help prep the Wednesday buffet meal. George’s family attended the event, and his brother graciously spoke to the group about George’s dream of becoming a chef and owning his own restaurant.

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. The campus includes the Children’s Village, patio homes and apartments for active senior adults, a thrift store, 200-bed skilled nursing and rehabilitation center, 150-bed assisted living center, and two memory care units. For more information or to donate, visit www.christiancity.org.

George Fortuchang (left), a resident of Christian City Skilled Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, realizes his dream to serve as a chef once again. Matt Iffland, Executive Chef of The Studio Café operated by Hanna Brothers, located at the Pinewood Atlanta Studios Production Centre, assists George in preparing the Wednesday buffet meal.

 

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Joseys’ Atlanta & Co appearance

Christian City is featured on 11alive!

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National Safe Place Week Celebrates Safe Place Program for Youth

National Safe Place Network (NSPN) is pleased to announce March 18-24, 2018 as National Safe Place Week. The nationally recognized week serves to raise awareness about the Safe Place program, a national program which brings together businesses and volunteers to help youth in crisis.

“Unfortunately, young people face troubling issues in today’s world, such as abuse, neglect, bullying and serious family problems,” said Laurie Jackson, President / CEO for NSPN. “It’s up to all of us to offer solutions, places where youth can go to get help. National Safe Place Week is the perfect opportunity for communities across the country to assess and strengthen their safety net for youth.”

It is estimated that more than one million youth run away from home each year due to abuse, neglect, family conflicts and other issues. The Safe Place program is an option for young people who feel they have nowhere to turn.

Safe Place consists of a national network of more than 21,000 partnering businesses and community locations, such as fast-food restaurants, convenience stores, fire stations, public buses and libraries, which display the Safe Place sign in their windows. As youth enter a designated Safe Place and ask for help, trained staff members connect them to the appropriate youth shelter for assistance.

In addition to Safe Place sites, youth may also access immediate help via TXT 4 HELP, a text-for-support service for youth in crisis. Teens can text the word “safe” and their current location (address, city, state) to 4HELP (44357) to receive a message with the closest Safe Place location and the number for the local youth shelter. Users also have the option to text interactively with a counselor for more help.

Safe Place, operated locally by Christian City Children’s Village, partners with businesses and community organizations to provide immediate safety and support for local youth. Safe Place site locations include QuikTrip convenience stores, local fire stations, law enforcement agencies and recreation centers throughout metro Atlanta.

“Our staff and volunteers help identify, recover, and restore children who have run away from home or have been forced from their home,” says Mark Andrews, Director of Safe Place at Christian City Children’s Village.
Statistics show that 30% of runaway children are lured into sex trafficking within 48 hours on the street. “We provide a safe haven for children who may otherwise become victims of human trafficking,” says Andrews.

“As a nonprofit organization, we rely on the generosity of the community to provide necessary funding to operate Christian City Children’s Village,” says LaVann Landrum, Chief Development Officer at Christian City. “When our donors support us with ongoing financial donations or by attending fundraising events like our annual Golf Fore Kids tournament in September or the upcoming Drive & Dine event at Porsche Experience Center on April 28, they are helping us rescue runaways and get to these children before human traffickers get to them,” says Landrum.

This year marks the 35th anniversary of Safe Place as collaborative community initiative working to strengthen the safety net for youth. Since its inception in 1983, Safe Place has helped more than 359,000 youth and currently serves more than 1,400 communities across the country. The program is managed by 136 youth agencies in 37 states and the District of Columbia.

National Safe Place Week, March 18-24, 2018

  • This week is National Safe Place Week. Have you seen the yellow and black Safe Place signs on buildings around town? Ever wonder what they mean? The Safe Place sign indicates that any young person can enter the location and ask for help. Local Safe Place locations include QuikTrip convenience stores, fire stations, law enforcement agencies and recreation centers. If you visit a Safe Place location this week, please take time to thank the employees for strengthening the safety net for youth in our community.
  • March 18-24 is National Safe Place Week! Teens out there – If you ever find yourself in a tough situation and need help right away, look for the yellow Safe Place sign and tell an employee at the location you need help. Within minutes, a volunteer or staff member from Christian City Children’s Village will be there to meet you. If you’re struggling and need immediate help – Safe Place locations are there for you.
  • Have you ever seen the yellow Safe Place signs around town and wonder what they mean? Safe Place signs indicate that a community business or location is willing and able to help a young person in need. Many teens deal with troubling issues like abuse, neglect, bullying and family conflicts. We need to provide immediate options, places where young people can get help fast – that’s where Safe Place comes in. Make sure you know where the Safe Places are in metro Atlanta so the next time you or a friend needs help, you know just where to go.
  • Metro Atlanta is joining communities across the country to recognize the network of Safe Place locations and volunteers that respond to young people in need. Safe Place helps more than 12,000 youth a year connect to immediate help and safety. Metro Atlanta is proud to be a Safe Place community.
  • March 18-24 is National Safe Place Week! Did you know that Safe Place has helped more than 359,000 youth in crisis since it was created in 1983? Thanks to Safe Place, youth can access community locations that display they yellow and black sign and ask for help. But wait, there’s another way to get Safe Place help! Teens in crisis can text the word SAFE and their current location to 44357 to receive information about the closest Safe Place location. Youth will also be able to text live with a counselor for more help.
  • Are you between the ages of 12-18? If so, please listen up! Did you know you can access help 24 hours day via text messaging? That’s right! TXT 4 HELP is a 27/7 text-for-support service for teens in crisis. Here’s how it works – simply text the word SAFE and your current location to 44357 to receive information about the closest Safe Place location. You will also be able to text live with a counselor for more help. It’s quick, easy, safe and confidential. Don’t be afraid to help yourself or a friend.

About National Safe Place Network

National Safe Place Network (NSPN) provides quality training and technical support for youth and family service organizations across the country. Along with being a leading membership organization offering tailored organizational development, training and professional development packages, NSPN also operates the nationally recognized programs Safe Place, Runaway and Homeless Youth Training and Technical Assistance Center (RHYTTAC) and Human Trafficking: Recognition, Respect, Response (HTR3). To learn more, please visit www.nspnetwork.org or www.nationalsafeplace.org.

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 in South Fulton County includes the Children’s Village, Safe Place program, Crossroads Foster Care 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-AMEN.

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Drive & Dine Event – April 28, 2018 at the Porsche Experience Center Atlanta

Take a thrilling ride AND impact a child for life!

Event proceeds will help provide abandoned, abused, runaway and homeless youth a safe home in a loving Christ-centered environment to heal their wounded spirits and help them thrive at Christian City Children’s Village.

  • Cheryl Preheim, evening anchor of WXIA 11Alive News, is serving as guest emcee.
  • George Franco, Fox 5 News reporter, is serving as auctioneer.
  • Works of art by Atlanta artist, Ruth Barrett, will be featured in the live auction.
  • Co-chairs are Taylor and Anne Josey, philanthropists and residents of Newnan. 

What to expect? A wonderful meal. A thrilling ride. An entertaining live auction. And lasting priceless inspiration that comes from knowing you have made a difference in the life of a child.

Help Christian City Children’s Village rescue runaway and homeless kids before human traffickers get to them. Register to attend Drive & Dine today!

 Advance tickets required. Purchase tickets at www.christiancity.org/driveanddine or call 770-703-2636.

Get engaged! Watch for updates on the Drive & Dine Facebook page and follow #driveanddine on Twitter and Instagram.

Event Details

Saturday, April 28, 2018
6:00 – 10:00 p.m.
Porsche Experience Center Atlanta
1 Porsche Drive
Atlanta, GA 30354
(adjacent to Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport) 

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 in South Fulton County includes the Children’s Village, Safe Place program, Crossroads Foster Care 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-AMEN.

Related Links

Porsche Experience Center Atlanta:  
https://www.porschedriving.com/porsche-experience-center-atlanta

Event Co-chairs:
Anne and Taylor Josey (http://tjosey.jybrealty.com/)

Guest Emcee:
Cheryl Preheim, Evening Anchor, WXIA 11Alive News  (http://www.11alive.com/article/news/local/cheryl-preheim/85-381948318)

Artist:
Ruth Barrett (https://www.facebook.com/pg/AtlantaArtist/community/)

Auctioneer:
George Franco, Fox 5 News  (http://www.fox5atlanta.com/about-us/fox-5-people/george-franco-081715)

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