In a land far, far away (St. Petersburg, Russia) a little girl named Caitlyn was born to alcoholic parents. Placed in an orphanage at age 4 with her brother, they stayed there for five years, until a wonderful Christian couple adopted them.
Sadly, Caitlyn’s childhood trauma began to manifest itself in her early teens. Anger, rebellion and self-hatred left her adoptive parents at wit’s end. After exhausting all other options to help her, they sent her to live with Turn Around Kids.
“I went kicking and screaming,” Caitlyn said. “But, because of the many opportunities to be involved in ministry while there, I started to experience God for who He really is. He is love, and He loves us, and He loves me. Now, I am so thankful. For me, it’s not just some Christian organization, it’s family. Christi and Cheryl are the hands and feet of Christ. I owe a debt to them I cannot pay. … I am now a faithful wife to the best husband I could ask for, a homeschooling mom of seven, and, above all, a follower of Jesus.”
Co-founded by Cheryl Anderson and Christi Vieira, Turn Around Kids (TAK) began in Cherokee County in 2003. This powerhouse mother-daughter team, and those in their family who come alongside to help, are champions for children, and advocates for those who have been through unspeakable trauma.
An advocate is a person who actively promotes the goals of a cause. At TAK, the cause is to support vulnerable children around the greater Atlanta area. The goals are to ease the suffering of homeless, abandoned and abused children. TAK has advocated for and rescued 90 children out of dire circumstances since it began 16 years ago.
TAK’s mission is to make a difference one child at a time. This is accomplished in a family environment where siblings are kept together. “When children come to live with us, we take parental guardianship. We become their family. We are committed to them for life from that moment on,” Anderson said.
Relationships in the TAK homes are nurtured through a holistic approach, addressing each child’s spiritual, physical, nutritional, academic and psychological health. Groups and independent counseling are utilized, along with spiritual and devotional instruction, classroom and hands-on education, outreach and exit strategy.
“It has been my great privilege to participate with TAK for the last several years,” Bart Campbell said. “Witnessing the selfless devotion and loving kindness that’s immeasurably meted out to the children is what inextricably drew me in to want to be involved with their great work.”
TAK is growing, and presently operating in two locations, one home in Woodstock and another in Acworth. Dual homes present a set of challenges. The Acworth location, a 21-acre dream come true, was acquired in July of 2015. The property has a nine-bedroom five-bathroom house on it that was left unoccupied, vandalized, and was in bad shape. It had to be gutted. Renovations were completed, and the rooms now are filled with precious Turn Around Kids. Today, the ultimate goal is to build another house on this property, so everyone can relocate to Acworth and live together in one spot.
Cheryl and Christi are inviting you to become an advocate for at-risk children. You can make a big difference by helping with the construction of the second home, volunteering, or spreading the word about the work being done there.
For more information, visit www.turnaroundkids.org or call 678-388-7660. You can make a tax-deductible donation online or mail to: 2295 Towne Lake Parkway, Suite #116-102, Woodstock, GA 30189.