Homeless Children and Caregivers Find Multifaceted Help at Presbyterian Shelter in Talladega
In December 2014 a mother watched as her hopes and dreams for her family and children were ripped apart and her expectations of success and happiness became a fight for survival. Planning to celebrate Christmas with a new baby boy, she instead felt fear when doctors discovered that her baby had been born with no immune system. During the next three months while her child fought for his life in an intensive care unit, her two other children were separated from her and from each other while in the care of relatives.
Unable to leave her baby’s bedside, this mother lost the three most important things for her family’s security: her job, her car and their family home. A referral from a homeless shelter brought the family to the Presbyterian Home for Children’s Secure Dwellings program, a ministry to homeless children and their female caregivers, in Talladega, Alabama.
This family is like so many others who enter the Secure Dwellings program: tired, overwhelmed and scared. Many families are fleeing abuse and arrive with just the little they can carry in their arms. Families are welcomed into a peaceful place to live where once-homeless children can rest, grow and play while their caregiver works on developing the educational, vocational and social skills necessary to become self-sufficient.
The Presbyterian Home for Children was founded in 1868 to meet the needs of orphans in Alabama. For 145 years this dynamic ministry has changed often to meet the needs of children. In addition to providing a program for homeless children and their female caregivers, the Presbyterian Home today includes a transitional program for homeless young women ages 19–24, a therapeutic residential foster care program and an accredited on-campus school that provides personalized education so that children who have fallen behind can live up to their academic potential. The Presbyterian Home for Children is supported by the North Alabama Presbytery, Sheppards and Lapsley Presbytery and the South Alabama Presbytery. For more information, please visit www.phfc.org.
Jacque Cordle, Director of Resource Development
Let us join in prayer for:
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Let us pray
God, we pray for the children who never have new clothes, who never get to play outside, who live in places we would not. We pray for the children who have no security blanket to drag behind them, who go to bed hungry and cry themselves to sleep. We pray for the children who watch their parents fight and whose pictures are not on anyone’s refrigerator. We pray for those whose monsters are real and whose nightmares come in the daytime. We pray for the children whose tears we never laugh at and whose smiles will make us cry. Grant these children your peace and surround them with your love. Amen.
(Adapted from “A Prayer for Children” by Ina Hughes)