The Light: August 2016

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Up from the Ashes

“Mommy and Daddy are the paper,” said 9-year-old Tyshaun, “but I’m the glue. I’m going to hold this family together.”

Tyshaun was just 9 years old when she and her mom and sister had to sleep on the streets.

“It was scary,” she remembers.

Tyshaun’s father, Clyde, had just gone to jail for forgery. Her mother, Kim, had just been released, after serving time for writing bad checks. Both parents struggled with alcoholism, and the family had lost their home.

With no place to turn, Kim, Tyshaun, and older daughter Danielle (14) lived on the streets for about a week. But things were about to get better . . .

A cruel upbringing

Kim’s childhood was brutal. Her father was a drug dealer, her mother was mentally ill, and both were abusive. “Constant violence,” Kim says. “I had to learn the streets pretty quick.”

She drank heavily as a teen and young adult, but quit when she was about 30. She got married, had kids, stayed sober for 14 years, and became an executive chef. Life was good — at work, at home, and in the family.

But when she lost her job, Kim relapsed hard. Then Clyde relapsed. Facing poverty, both turned to petty crime to make ends meet, both got caught, and both did time. The kids ended up with Children’s Services for a couple of months before being returned to their mother.

Kim had heard about Atlanta Mission, and she and the girls ended up at My Sister’s House, Atlanta Mission’s home for women and children.

Kim went through addiction recovery, intense counseling, and parenting classes. Then she was hired as a cook at My Sister’s House. Danielle and Tyshaun started making friends.

When Clyde was released from jail, he went to Atlanta Mission and turned his life around. Today, the family is reunited and living together in an Atlanta apartment complex.

The family “glue”

When Kim was at her lowest, hung over and in bed, Tyshaun said, “Mommy, God knew you were going to relapse. That’s why he gave y’all me. You and Daddy are the paper, but I’m the glue. I’m going to hold this family together.”

“It was like hearing the words of an old soul,” Kim says today.

Now that the family’s intact again, Tyshaun says she’ll never forget how Atlanta Mission helped them.“They took care of us,” she says. “I’m happy they were part of my life.”

Stories like this are a direct result of your kindness. The lives of men, women, and children are being transformed every day at Atlanta Mission. Thank you for your continued support!

Ministry with Class

How your support helps students.

When you’re a child without a home, and often in a broken family, life is hard enough. Trying to keep up in school is often even more difficult.

That’s where your support of Atlanta Mission makes a difference.

At My Sister’s House, Atlanta Mission’s home for moms and children, staff and volunteers help kids and their parents in all facets of the educational experience.16.08-Aug-eNewsletter-Blog-Story-1-280x260

At the beginning of each school year, each child is given two uniforms and a backpack full of supplies — so they’re just as equipped as their classmates. My Sister’s House also offers homework help and tutoring, with a big assist from After-School All- Stars, a volunteer organization.

But it’s way more than just the tangibles. Many kids at My Sister’s House have difficulty focusing, or sometimes act out in class. My Sister’s House equips and encourages parents to be more involved in school meetings and activities.

“Involvement in their child’s school is a parenting skill we help develop,” says Vanessa Carey, Vice President of Women’s Services at Atlanta Mission. “It shows both the child and the school that you’re supporting them in their education.

“We understand that these children are in a unique living situation, and we don’t want that situation to impede their success. We have the opportunity to make a significant impact on these children and their parents during a very formative time. So we do everything we can to give them the same opportunities that any other child would have at school.”

Thank you for providing those opportunities for these kids!

Birthday Parties They’ll Never Forget!

For most children coming to Atlanta Mission, their needs are obvious — nutritious food, safe shelter, adequate clothing, a solid education, and unconditional love.

Less obvious is the need to be recognized simply for what they are: gifts from God, blessings from above.

BIRTHDAY PARTIES!

16.08-Aug-eNewsletter-Blog-Story-2-280x260These events are a big deal at My Sister’s House, Atlanta Mission’s facility for women and children.

Once a month, Atlanta Moms Making a Difference, a local volunteer organization, stages a festive celebration for every child who has a birthday that month. All of My Sister’s House’s moms and children are invited, and the themed gatherings — a carnival, a petting zoo, etc. — are a blast.

It’s great to see the children’s faces as they revel in the fun. But it’s often just as special for the moms, some of whom have never been able to afford to throw a party for their children.

One mom recently cried tears of joy when she saw a “bounce house” set up for the party. She had always wanted one for her son’s birthday, but it was beyond her financial means.

“Birthday parties are such a big deal for our kids,” says Carolyn Patterson, founder of Atlanta Moms Making a Difference, “and we wanted to create the same happy memories for the kids at My Sister’s House. And also to provide their moms with a break from thinking about the stressors in their lives.”

Your support is needed! Learn more about how you can help the children at My Sister’s House on our website at atlantamission.org/ways-to-give

Help Vulnerable Children Today

Hundreds of homeless children come through the doors at Atlanta Mission every year . . . and every single one of them needs your support to have an opportunity to flourish in this world.

Just $21 provides a day of services to a guest at Atlanta Mission. For a child, that includes meals, shelter, clothing, school supplies, counseling, activities, celebrations, stability, structure, and a loving environment.story4

Our professional staff, with help from volunteers, meets the children’s needs, and also works with parents to give kids the strong families they deserve . . . all with the aim of breaking the cycle of homelessness.

Thank you for providing those opportunities for these kids!

Treasures in the Present

Dear Friend of Atlanta Mission,

Two Scripture passages are key to Atlanta Mission’s philosophy of caring for the hundreds of children who come through our doors every year.

The first includes the words of Jesus, who reprimanded his disciples when they tried to shoo the little ones away. “Let the children come to me,” Jesus said. “Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children,” (Matthew 19:14. NLT).

We believe children are immeasurably valuable in God’s eyes, vital members of the Kingdom. And I’m sure you feel the same way. Your support goes a long way in treating these precious young souls accordingly, to bring innocence back to their childhood. And we hope they will someday trust Jesus as Savior.

The second passage comes straight from Solomon: “Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it,” (Proverbs 22:6).

We believe children’s best chance to break the cycle of homelessness and become thriving members of their community comes via wise training and a solid education. So we work with both kids and their parents on these matters — the importance of spiritual growth, of acceptable behavior, of academic and social success.

Our children are not only our future, but treasures in the present, right here and right now. Thank you for helping to meet their needs!

Humbled to serve with you,

16.07-eNewsletter-Blog-Director-Photo-140x140Jim Reese
President & CEO