Crisis cottage framing starts Friday

by W. Winston Skinner

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Heidi Becker, Phil Kouns, George Martin and Bob Crutchfield of Christian City meet with supporters after a meeting on the planned cottage construction effort. From left are Becker, Kouns, Peg Jones of Trustdale.com, Joe Ard, Chris Foster, Martin, Dale Cardwell, Bob Adams and Crutchfield. 

Coweta County volunteers are being sought for a building project at Christian City.

The Children's Village at Christian City will start building a new cottage in its Children's Village starting this Friday. Heidi Becker, director of marketing and development at Christian City, said volunteers are needed to help with framing the 5,300-square-foot crisis cottage.

The Children's Village at the Union City facility has been caring for abandoned, abused or otherwise homeless children since 1965. 'Kids live in cottages on our campus with full time houseparents,' Becker said.

'Over 1,500 kids have found loving homes - safe from abuse in the night,' she said. 'This new crisis cottage will serve kids who need attention on an emergency basis or who are runaways needing a safe haven.'

Build days will be July 26-27 and Aug/ 2-3 from 7:30-3:30 p.m. Lunch, snacks and drinks will be provided for volunteers.

'It will be a fun day of community service as we work together to build a home that will shelter children from the storms of life for many years to come,' Becker said. For information or to volunteer, call Becker at 770-703-2636.

'I'm just amazed with this build. I think it's going to be a really, really great community effort,' Becker said.

Consumer investigator Dale Cardwell is helping Christian City raise funds and awareness of its programs. He is the host for a benefit golf tournament at Smokerise Country Club on Sept. 16. 'We're excited about that,' Becker said. She said the tournament will be 'a fun day' – with a goal of raising money for this crisis cottage and possibly another cottage to be built on the campus.

A new Children's Village opened at Christian City in 2008. There were plans for 10-12 cottages on the 30 acres dedicated to the Children's Village. 'It's got its own area,' Becker noted. The Christian City property also includes a range of facilities that serve senior citizens.

Christian City leaders realized the 1965 children's cottages needed to be redone, but the ministry has been committed to doing work without debt. 'We've always just paid as God provided,' Becker said.

After the fourth new cottage was completed, 'the bottom fell out of the economy,' Becker said. Christian City has since been 'kind of in a waiting mode, waiting for the economy to pick up,' she explained.

'In the meantime, there's been a great need for homes for children,' Becker said. At the same time, Christian City has begun participating in a national program for teens, Project Safeplace, 'that has given us additional responsibility and commitment.'

Cardwell is friend with Joe Ard, president of Vestlet Realty. Ard asked Cardwell to get involved with the Christian City project, and Cardwell 'reached out to folks he thought would be an asset.'

Cardwell formed a steering committee - chaired by Chris Foster, president of LivHome. 'Dale is reaching out to all kinds of folks in the community to help raise the money,' Becker said.

'We have a growing need to provide more homes for children,' Becker said. 'The immediate need is another boy's cottage, a girl's cottage and a crisis cottage.'

Cardwell has taken on raising funds and support for all three - with people being asked to donate financially and to give in-kind materials and supplies. 'We're building them one at a time as the money is raised,' Becker said.

A donor has given all the windows for the projects. Bob Adams of Bob Adams Homes is serving as the general contractor, and Terry Chapman with Habitat for Humanity is helping to coordinate framing of the first cottage.

A number of groups have already volunteered their labor.

'We have had such an outpouring. That's just kind of by word of mouth,' Becker said.



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