TALLADEGA -- Earlier this month, new Presbyterian Home for Children President and Chief Executive Officer Doug Marshall was officially recognized during a special installation ceremony at First Presbyterian Church Talladega.

Attendees included Presbyterian Home for Children staff and board members, area presbyteries,city and state leaders, community members and more.

“It was a time of reflection and for us to all to pause and think about why we are here,” Marshall said. “The Presbyterian Home for Children consists of an amazing team, who have all been called to serve.”

The Presbyterian Home’s 16th president was officially hired Nov. 20 and brings more than 30 years of experience in corporate and nonprofit leadership.

He received his business degree from the University of West Florida in Pensacola. He received a degree in theology from Liberty University in Pensacola and serves as a life and career coach at Grace Ministries Inc. in Birmingham.

During the installation ceremony, the new president shared an inspiring message with guests.

“One thing I’ve noticed on campus are all the oak trees; it’s much different than downtown Birmingham,” Marshall said. “It occurred to me when I picked up an acorn one day that often we see ourselves as just an acorn, but God sees (us) as Oak trees, he sees our potential. There is so much potential here, and mothers, young women and children all have an opportunity to thrive while being here.”

The Presbyterian Home for Children has provided services to children in need since 1868. Although it was originally founded as an orphanage, today, it provides a wider range of services for homeless children, families and young adults from all across the state.

Programs include an on-campus ministry for homeless children and their female caregivers, and homeless women age 19-24; a therapeutic residential care program for children; an accredited school system; a family preservation and reunification program serving families in a seven-county area; and a homeless shelter in north Alabama.

Presbyterian Home for Children Vice President of Programs and Operational Services Felicia Storey stressed the importance of two of its many programs for women and children.

“Secure Dwellings is an on-campus ministry for homeless children and their female caregivers,” Storey said.“We help these women reach the next level by providing them with education, life skills, job training, employment, housing, transportation and access to social services,” Storey said. “The goal is to provide a safe haven for children who have been homeless to rest, grow and play while their parent or guardian works on developing the educational, vocational and social skills necessary to become self-sufficient.”

The organization also takes pride in its Transition to Adult Living program.

According to staff, the program is a ministry focused on helping young women ages 19 to 24 successfully transition to adulthood.

“These are often women who have slipped through the cracks of society by no fault of their own,” Marshall said. “They are often living in poverty or facing domestic violence and/or neglect.”

Participants in the transition program are given training with budgeting, financial aid, job interviews and more.

“We meet each young woman where she is on her life journey and assist her in mapping out and reaching her personal goals,” Storey said.

Presbyterian Home staff note their programs also partner with local businesses, Talladega College and Central Alabama Community College.

“They are making an impact on this community,” Storey said.

Marshall added he hopes the Presbyterian Home can continue to expand its services to those who are often forgotten.

“Helping children is our core purpose,” he said, “We have evolved into so much more and we want to keep sharing our story with the community.”

For information on how to donate or volunteer at the Presbyterian Home, call 256-362-2114 or visit www.phfc.org.

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