The first vision for a home such as Calvary took place on the streets of Jerusalem, Israel, several years ago while Rev. Ben F. Turner was leading a tour group to Israel. A woman with five small children approached him and offered to sell her baby for ten dollars. When Rev. Turner told her he could not buy the child, she lowered the price to seven dollars, then to five, saying she needed the money to feed her other children. Suffering from malnutrition, each child looked like skeletons with skin merely stretched over them.
That experience continued to live with Rev. Turner until 1965. That year, the Calvary Children's Home moved from a touching experience in Israel to a reality in Smyrna, Georgia.
A father and a mother, returning from the grocery store, were involved in an automobile accident. Both were killed, leaving their six children without anyone to care for them.
Since it is almost impossible to add six children to an already existing family and budget, the children were separated and placed in four different homes. As they were being separated, Rev. Turner watched as the children were crying - the younger wanting to stay with the older. He realized the tremendous need for them to stay together, especially after losing both parents . . . "If children can't have the love and guidance of parents, they should at least be able to live together as brothers and sisters. If I could build a home large enough, I could keep all the children of one family together." That was the incident that prompted the building of the Calvary Children's Home.
Originally, the Children's Home consisted of one building with two rooms for the girls on one side, and two large rooms for the boys on the other. These facilities were designed to house 10 to 15 children, with a kitchen and dining area, and supervision provided by houseparents. Once we began accepting children, we received many calls from the Juvenile court, individuals and local pastors in the community seeking placement for children in need. Very soon another wing was added to accommodate the requests for help being received.
Our children attend public schools and take part in community activities that will help them to become accepted and responsible citizens of society. We strive to provide the children with a balanced approach to the physical, social, educational and spiritual needs of their life. The children residing in the Home generally range in ages from six to eighteen. Since we desire to maintain a homelike atmosphere, the children may continue to live in the Home as long as there is a need for them to. One of our young men is currently attending Chattahoochee Technical College and a young lady who recently graduated from high school will be attending there in the fall.
Our young people are actively involved in the community and participate in church as well as local community and school activities. As they grow older and more responsible they are allowed to have part-time jobs in the community.
Since the Home's beginning in 1966, we've had the privilege of offering a home to well over 400 children. Our goal is to provide them with opportunities that challenge and prepare them for life in a difficult and demanding society by showing love, acceptance, understanding and encouragement.
In 1997, after thirty one blessed and happy years in Smyrna, we finally realized the fulfillment of many years of praying, working and dreaming.
Through the kindness and generosity of many dear friends of Calvary, we were able to relocate our campus. We moved from approximately one acre in Smyrna to our new home site of thirteen acres in Powder Springs, GA., affectionately called the Vaughan Campus, because of the generosity of the late Mr. and Mrs. Dwight Vaughan.
By God's grace and the thoughtful giving of our friends, we were also able to move from the one long dormitory style building that had been home to our children, to three amazing cottages that could house approximately 35 - 40 children. In 1999, we were able to build a large and beautiful administration building containing our offices, counseling center, library and dining hall.
We were able to make this move of over $2 million for acquisition and construction without incurring any debt or borrowing any money. We simply let our friends know and continued building only when sufficient funds were available for the next phase. What an incredible tribute to the loyal and thoughtful support of the friends the Lord has led to stand by us.
The future of the Calvary Children's Home will be, as it always has been, totally dependent on God as He cares for us through the hearts and hands of our friends. We are committed to providing the best possible home to these children but we cannot do the work alone. Your interest and support is also important because of the encouragement it provides. It demonstrates to our children that they really are important as our friends take such an interest in them. The impact of that message is one that will remain with them throughout their life.