Jan Taylor Promoted to I.T. Director

The name and the face are the same, but the job title has changed.  On September 22, 2008 Janet ‘Jan’ Taylor, became the Director of Information Technology. 

Jan, having strong family ties to Selma, is a two-time graduate of Brevard Community College in Cocoa, Florida.  She graduated with honors receiving Associate of Science Degrees in Drafting Technology (Major in Electronic Design) and Computer Information Systems in 1984 and 1986 respectively.  She is currently working on a Bachelor degree in Information Technology at Columbia Southern University, Orange Beach, Alabama, again maintaining a high G.P.A.

Jan, who has been employed with the Children’s Home since April 2003 as the Executive Administrative Assistant, was selected because of her administrative and professional experiences having functioned in multiple information technology positions over more than twenty years.  Her skills and passion for computers and the field of technology began in the 80’s when she held the position of Computer/System/Data Analyst for the NASA Space Shuttle Program at Kennedy Space Center, Florida.  

The decision to leave my old position was difficult,” said Jan, “knowing that I would no longer be at the right hand of such a dynamic boss. At the same time, I am fulfilling a dream, and I am very excited about being in this particular position as we launch the new UMCH!

Jan will be responsible for overseeing all technological areas for the Children’s Home.  Congratulations, Jan!

They Are Not Alone! – CHAPLAIN'S CORNER

“Chaplain’s Corner” is a regular feature written by the Children’s Home chaplain, Rev. LuAnne Wages-Smith

Take a moment and think back. Do you remember your first day of school? How old were you? Did you know what was going on?

It can be very confusing especially for the little ones. My family has the story of my Uncle Vernon who lived right down the street from his school. On his very first day of school he came home three times–at recess, at lunch, and at snack time. He told his mother, “they let me out.” Of course his mother kept taking him back to school.

But in the afternoon once school was over he didn’t come home with all the other children. When my grandmother–we called her “Mama”–arrived at the school, she found him sitting on the steps, dwarfed by the bigness of the building. When asked why he hadn’t come home he said, “Well, every time I come home you bring me back!”

It isn’t just the little ones, though, who get scared and confused that very first day of school. Several of our children graduated from high school last year, or received their GED, and many of them began college in August. But their stories are different.

Like my family, these children also buy new school clothes, get school supplies, go to orientation and then come back and pack their bags. But they don’t spend hours deciding what they want to take to college on that first day. They must take everything they have.

For most college students this is a wonderful and exciting time. They are finally on their own. But for our kids it’s just one more time to start over! This one more time, they will have a new place to hang their clothes, brush their teeth, and a new place to sleep. In most cases they will also have a new roommate–probably one they have never met and did not get to choose.

They won’t ever go back and sleep in their childhood beds again. All of that, and all those they knew are behind them, and they truly are on their own.

I stopped by to deliver some school supplies to one of our college students, and asked if they had eaten. My plans were to take them to lunch somewhere of their choice. My agenda was to let them know that they are not alone, and that we still love them.

What I discovered was that they had eaten in the cafeteria the day before, but it was so big, and they had decided to just cook some noodles and not go back that day. It was just so big and they were all alone.

But they are not alone!!!! Not now and not ever. Their name is written on the palm of God’s hand right next to our names, and our last names are “Christian,” or “Christ’s own,” and WE ARE FAMILY!!!!

I will go back and take others with me. We will invite the director of the school’s Wesley Foundation to join us for supper. We want this student–all of our students–to know that our United Methodist family is still their family.

Namasté and Shalom

Children’s Home Plans to Relocate Headquarters

Pictured is Hillman Hall, the Children’s Home’s administrative headquarters in Selma, AL. Plans are to move administration functions to a new facility in the Montgomery/Prattville area.

The United Methodist Children’s Home is carefully making the tough decisions needed for the future of today’s children. With a new Mission, we pledge to work harder than ever to transform the lives of children in need… so that they can begin to discover the plan God has for their special lives.

We take this Mission very seriously, and we are thankful for the many supporters who have kept this ministry going … and growing … for the sake of all God’s children.

The UMCH Board of Directors has taken a very important and exciting step forward in the advancement of our vital ministry. After several years of comprehensive research and discussions, the Board voted unanimously in July 2008 to move the UMCH Headquarters to the Montgomery/Prattville area. It has been located on the Selma campus since the original home moved from Summerfield, Alabama in the early 1900’s.

As the ministry has expanded and opened more homes to children – in many other locations across the two Conferences – we have struggled with the limitations of this location while trying to adequately meet the administrative needs in an efficient and effective way. The result of the Board’s thorough study was the determination that the UMCH headquarters would best serve the ministry in a more centralized location. The main benefits for relocating its headquarters are:

* Enhanced efficiency of administrative operations

* Centralization of operations to better connect and serve all 15 UMCH locations throughout the state of Alabama and Florida

* Strengthening the core administrative team and its connection to all UMCH programs

* Continuing the tradition of hiring quality staff by increasing access to highly qualified candidates

* Increasing opportunities for outreach, and enhancing fundraising efforts

With our Mission as our guiding light, we are confident that this unanimous decision was made in the best interest of the children we serve. With change, some discomfort is inevitable.  Change is sometimes necessary to maintain this ministry’s long tradition of transforming the lives of young people in need of God’s love and grace.

Thank you for your continued support, love and prayers for our children and our staff. This ministry is far too important to make any changes without careful consideration. You can trust that your Board of Directors has done what is necessary to lead this vital ministry for all God’s children, and continue its strong, century-old tradition of changing lives – young lives that will go on to fulfill God’s great Mission.

Conference Delegates’ Notes Encourage Children’s Home Kids

At the Annual Conferences this year, we set up a prayer baskets at our booths. Below are some of the notes that were left in the basket for our children. Thanks so much to all those that cared enough to encourage our children!

Dear Children of God,
Bless you … God loves you!
From the Marianna/Panama City District

We think you all will be blessed this day. We wanted you to know we are thinking of you and we can see that smile!
From Mary Boone & Pastor Boone

Hi everyone,
I just wanted you to know that a lot of people care about you. You are in good, safe hands. God is always with you and he loves you very much. You will never be alone.

Hey Kiddos!
Stay strong in your faith and in your self! May God be with you!
Love, your friend in Christ!


Church and God can bring a lot of fun and love into your life. If your family doesn’t go to church, find a friend or teacher to take you. You will have a great time and maybe soon you can take your parents and family with you.
Mrs. Cindy Montgomery, 3rd grade teacher

Give the best that you have to the world and the best will come back to you.
“In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.” Proverbs 3:5-6

Dear Child,
I thank the Lord for children. I am a father of four children that turned out well. The Lord has always been with me and I hope He will be with you as well. One thing I have learned over the years that is so very important; “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added unto you.” Seek Him above all else and He will provide for all of your needs.
God Bless you,

Dear Children of God,
Many people love you and pray for you daily. We know that God has a wonderful and important plan for your lives, and we believe that you will find that plan and cooperate with God in making the world a better place.
God Bless You!
Rev. Gillis Crenshaw, Dothan, AL

Dear Children,
Remember always that you are a gift to the world from God. He loves you more than you can ever really realize! You are all special to Him. As you grow stay close to Him and learn His word and live for Him. God Bless You!
Barbara, Uriah UMC

Children Honored with Awards for Academic and Other Achievements

On June 14, residents from all of our group homes traveled to Selma, AL, for our annual Awards Day celebration. Below are comments from three of the programs that attended.

The Settlement, Headland, AL

On June 14th the staff and residents from The Settlement in Headland, AL, traveled to Selma to attend the annual awards day banquet honoring residents of the Alabama and West Florida UMCH facilities. The Settlement residents had an opportunity to fellowship with peers from other group homes as well as staff members from the main campus.

Residents learned how developing connections with members of the community can prove to be very helpful in the future, especially when seeking employment, community services and assistance when working toward independent living. The young men from The Settlement won several cash awards for answering Bible drill questions before the awards presentations.

Each one of the boys residing at The Settlement were honored and earned at least one award during the presentations. One of our Transitional Living program residents received several honors. Residents also very much enjoyed the luncheon afterwards. The Settlement has long enjoyed a reputation as being highly competitive and this day was no exception.

The Settlement brought home the plaque for earning the most awards the previous year after winning eleven. This year The Settlement earned a total of twelve awards, but surrendered the plaque to the Scottsboro Girls Home who received thirteen.

Gulf Coast Group Home, Milton, FL

The girls from the Gulf Coast Group Home enjoyed awards day program. Chasity was surprised to receive her 2 awards, as was Jade. The 4 girls who received awards were very pleased to be recognized, and enjoyed seeing and meeting others in foster care too. Besides the long drive (6 hours total) it was a nice day for them to see and hear how hard many of the recipients worked to
receive recogniton for their dedication.

Tuscaloosa Group Home

All residents of the Tuscaloosa Group Home attended the Awards Day festivities in Selma. Two residents won awards ranging from Christian leadership to music. All residents enjoyed the day as some residents were given the opportunity to spend time with family or past friends that they have made from other programs.

Florida Foster Care Program Thanks Great Foster Parents with Picnic

Foster parents of the West Florida Foster Care program ate and enjoyed a picnic hoseted by the United Methodist Children’s Home in thanks for their dedication to the kids we serve. Pictured are (back row, left to right) Tim Gardner, Keith Vinson, James Stevens, Andrea Short, and Lisa Needham, (middle row) Dalen Gardner, Marybeth Slade, Jeff Slade, Jennifer Allen, Patrick Allen, Chasity Stevens, (front row) Pat Vinson, Ken Paxton and Debbie Paxton.

Submitted by Kristin Webb, Program Supervisor for the West Florida Foster Care Program of the United Methodist Children’s Home.

In an effort to show some our thanks for all of our wonderful foster parents, the Gulf Coast Group Home hosted a Foster Parent Appreciation Picnic for the West Florida Foster Care families on May 17, 2008.

We had a great turn out of families and children in our care. The Gulf Coast Group Home residents did a great job of face painting, keeping drinks and food supplied, and interacting with other foster children so their foster children could enjoy their afternoon.

UMCH would also like to extend a thank you to the Women’s Circle/Lunch Bunch of Gulf Breeze, Target of Pace, Tommy and Dawn Sander’s, Carl Rector, Calvin Holtcamp, Sander’s Brother’s Electric, Emerald Coast Entertainment, Pete Moore Chevrolet, Discount Muffler’s and Brakes of Pensacola, and All Pro Tune-Up of Milton for their generous donations which helped make the picnic a success.

Volunteers from 1st UMC of Pace grilled over 150 hamburgers and hotdogs to feed the crowd. The children enjoyed jumping and sliding on an inflatable bouncer as well as playing with bubbles and making crafts.

Our 20 foster families have cared for more than 100 children in the last year. UMCH appreciates everything they do.

Two Shoes touches soles at the United Methodist Children's Home

Touching Soles – Two Shoes founder Helen Musante Cary, left, receives help unloading the shoes her organization donated to the United Methodist Children’s Home from UMCH president and CEO, Steve Hubbard and UMCH executive administrative assistant, Jan Taylor.

Originally printed in The Selma Times-Journal on June 4, 2008 by Deborah Goodwin

Helen Musante Cary is on a mission to touch soles – with shoes.

The Selma native is using her organization, Two Shoes, to cover the feet of children across the state and the region. On Friday, May 30, 2008, Cary delivered 31 pairs of shoes to the United Methodist Children’s Home.

Cary called UMCH President and CEO, Steve Hubbard, and had gotten all the children’s shoe sizes. Hubbard said this was the first time anyone had called him with such a unique request.

“She plans to cover the feet of every child in our agency,” said Jan Taylor, UMCH executive administrative assistant.

Cary said she also plans to deliver shoes to every county in the state. “I’m the last of seven children, so I know what it is to have hand-me-down shoes, so I give new shoes,” said Cary.

Cary has given away 125 pairs of shoes to underprivileged children and adults since February. Two Shoes solicits donations from businesses and individuals. For more information about this organization, call (256) 531-6907.