Mission Spotlight: Children’s Hope Alliance

In 1883, two Presbyterian women in Charlotte, North Carolina founded the Presbyterian Orphans Home, later called Barium Springs. In 1914, almost 100 miles away in the small mountain community of Banner Elk, North Carolina, Presbyterian minister Edgar Tufts, established Grandfather Home for Children.

Both of these historic agencies functioned primarily as orphanages until the mid-1900’s. Children coming to these homes would stay for long periods of time. Many came as infants and stayed until graduation from high school or college. Both homes were self-sustaining farms where the children learned trade skills and assisted with daily chores.

In the 1950’s, needs for an orphanage decreased, partially due to peacetime and advances in medical technology. Instead, children needing care had one or both parents still living; but suffered from abuse and neglect. Not only did these children need a place of refuge but they also required treatment and therapy. Services expanded after 1970’s to focus mainly on the needs of children were classified as “troubled” or abused. Between the 1970’s and early 2000’s both Barium Springs and Grandfather Home for Children experienced expansion of services to better meet the needs of children at the time. These expansions included foster care and adoptions services, educational services and therapeutic services for children who had suffered complex trauma.

In April of 2014, the two organizations merged in an effort to have a greater impact in helping children and families across the region. The name chosen for the newly formed, merged organization was Children’s Hope Alliance (CHA). This name allows everyone to understand their deeply rooted mission, to provide hope and healing for hurting children and families.

In 2018, CHA became the state’s largest provider of therapeutic foster care primarily focusing on training quality foster parents.

With 2020, a new decade called for a new vision. Children’s Hope Alliance wants to bridge the tragic gap that exists between what is and what they know to be possible – to have the ability to see the issues challenging the children and families they serve, and then do something about it. Recognizing today’s child – and meeting the needs of the children of today.

These are the children that others sometimes cannot or will not help. Children who have endured trauma, who have severe mental health needs, or who may have underdeveloped coping skills.

Eleven years ago, a young boy named Cameron was living in a home plagued by addiction. His mother was unable to care for him because she was losing her battle with drugs. She was in and out of jail, which left her young son with a sense of uncertainty and hopelessness. The Department of Social Services took Cameron into custody when he was seven years old. That was the start of his battle.

Cameron was placed in a series of foster homes, psychiatric hospitals, and group homes for nine years. And adding to the complexity of his situation was the fact that he was developmentally delayed.

Then, in October 2017, 16-year-old Cameron came to Children’s Hope Alliance. Through their residential program, Cameron was finally able to challenge the thoughts he had about hurting himself. He has worked for two years to control these urges and win his battle. And it’s been a tremendous success.

Today, at age 18, Cameron has earned his high school diploma, has work experience at two different jobs, and is starting classes at a local community college to improve his reading and writing abilities. He has re-established contact with members of his biological family and is looking forward to getting to know them better.

Imagine a world where that tragic gap is eliminated and the needs of today’s children are met – where they have everything they need to meet mental health challenges, and can be successful members of a community. Imagine who these children can grow up to be. Imagine what they can bring to the world, how they can change it, and how they can make it better.

The mission support annually given by FPC helps CHA continue to provide high quality service to children in their care. Children’s Hope Alliance and the children they help always welcome and appreciate our prayers. The future of Children’s Hope Alliance is bright. To learn more, visit www.childrenshopealliance.org »


2021 Thanksgiving Offering

As is our tradition at First Presbyterian Church, the Thanksgiving Service offering goes to support the mission of Children’s Hope Alliance. This Thanksgiving, in lieu of a traditional service, we will have a joint Rise Against Hunger meal packing event on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. Please consider making a donation to support the children at Children’s Hope Alliance by sending a check payable to First Presbyterian Church, with “Children’s Hope Alliance” in the memo line.