Helping Inspire Hope: The Presbyterian Home for Children

The greatest gift someone in need can receive is a helping hand. One of Borland Benefield’s oldest nonprofit clients, the Presbyterian Home for Children, has been reaching out and lifting those in need for more than one hundred and fifty years.

Thanks to PHFC, homeless and at-risk children and youths, young women, families, and those of the deaf-blind community have a protector, even in the most trying of times.

Borland Benefield and Presbyterian Home for Children

Storied Beginnings

The aftermath of the Civil War left many Southern families broken and scattered. Children, homeless and devoid of hope, wandered the ravaged South without notice or aid. 

Members of the Presbyterian Church in Alabama saw the widespread suffering of these children and decided to act. In 1864, the parishioners began laying the foundations of hope for those in need.

But the war left many Southern institutions in ruin, hampering progress. The Presbyterian Church in Alabama struggled for years to raise the necessary funding, but in 1868, all their hard work paid off. The Presbyterian Home for Children opened its doors in Tuskegee, Alabama.

PHFC continued to grow decade after decade. In 1892, the organization moved its operations to a large dairy farm in Talladega, Alabama, just down the road from the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind. The Home has flourished and continued to create new opportunities for the vulnerable of Alabama both on and off its current campus through innovative programs designed to nurture, equip, and educate individuals entrusted to the Home’s care.

What a View

The main campus holds all the amenities needed to support children and their female caregivers coming from uncertain situations, from their secure dwellings program to their therapeutic treatment program for teen girls in moderate care, as well as programs to help young female adults transition to adult living and families in crisis over a seven-county area of east central Alabama. 

In 1997, the Ascension Leadership Academy (formerly Hope Academy) opened its doors, providing affordable K-12 education for PHFC and non-PHFC children and youth to attend. The Home recently opened a 20K square foot PHFC Thrift Store, located on Highway 77 in Talladega, to provide a community outreach location where new members of the PHFC and the AIDB community can find their footing and gain job experience before heading out into the world. The net proceeds serve to help continue the Home’s mission for children and families in need.

Even now, PHFC continues to grow. Union Village, PHFC’s latest undertaking, seeks to create a safe, sustainable environment for the deaf and blind community. Together in partnership with the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind, this supportive housing community offers 5 large cottages with over 30 residents as Phase 1. Phases 2 and 3 will offer up to 42 tiny cottages also tailored to deaf-blind residents, complete with support services and designs tailored to deaf, blind, and deaf-blind residents for the entire community. Four cottages currently stand completed, with another six on the way.

PHFC’s work doesn’t stop at the borders of its campus. Its reach extends throughout Alabama thanks to the Family Bridges program, a service designed to visit at-risk homes and help keep families together.

Well-deserved Accolades

The countless individuals and families who have been saved from dire circumstances aren’t the only ones praising the work of PHFC. The organization has been accredited by Social Current and EAGLE, while Ascension Leadership Academy is accredited by Cognia. Recently, the Home was recognized as a Gold Seal of Transparency by Candid and a Top-Rated Nonprofit for the third year in a row by Great Nonprofits.

The Home also expanded its mission outreach of compassion and support to children and youth living in extreme poverty within Wilcox and Marengo counties in central Alabama in partnership with a nonprofit mentoring organization, M.I.N.D., Mentoring In New Dimensions, located in Wilcox County.

Social workers and caregivers at the Home have more than 100 years of combined experience serving at-risk children and families. Felicia Storey, Vice President of Program Operations & Services, has worked at the Home for 38 years and was recently recognized with several prestigious regional and state awards for her work, including Top 50 over 50 in central Alabama in 2021 and One of the 25 Women Who Shaped the State in 2020.

Helping Hands for Helping Hands

The secret to earning such high recognition is simple: PHFC focuses all of its time and effort on helping those who need help the most.

Fortunately, Borland Benefield is there to help with the less urgent tasks of recordkeeping, account filings, and accounting for the nonprofit organization. Borland Benefield accountants have aided in PHFC’s mission for more than fifty years and will continue into the future to ensure PHFC can stay focused on protecting the most vulnerable in the Alabama community.

Giving Season

The COVID-19 pandemic hit all Americans hard. Still, those in precarious positions have found the past few years especially difficult, making it more important than ever to give during this season of giving. Whether it takes the form of donated items or money or getting out and lending a helping hand, small acts of kindness are enough to change a life forever. Please consider making a donation to help the Home continue to serve the children of Alabama.

Steady. Accurate. Consistent.

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