The Proven Cure for the Drug Epidemic

The Proven Cure for the Drug Epidemic

Special Feature

Presented by Alabama Teen Challenge Adult Men’s and Women’s Centers

Phil Cook in 1977 after completing the Alabama Teen Challenge program and today serving as Senior Pastor at Rich Valley Church, Valrico, Fla.

1977 Alabama Teen Challenge graduate, Phil Cook, came to Alabama Teen Challenge as a teenager and now 40 years later he is sharing the life-saving message that saved him. A supporter of Teen Challenge and senior pastor of Rich Valley Church, Valrico, Fla., Cook testifies to the longevity and continued success of Alabama Teen Challenge:

“In 1977, at the age of 15, living in NYC, doing drugs and rebellious- I got deep into trouble and I was interviewed for Teen Challenge at the Brooklyn NYC Teen Challenge on Clinton Ave. –My parents didn’t know what to do with me, my dad was from Alabama and I had family there, so I ended up going to B’ham Alabama Teen Challenge-within two weeks I asked Christ into my heart and was born again and baptized in the Holy Spirit. I stayed at the induction center for the whole year- the director even moved me into his own home for the last 6 months. I went on to Southeastern University, met my wife, have 3 children, 3 grandchildren and even went to grad school. I was ordained and in 1986 we started the South Florida Teen Challenge- I have also started two churches -Calvary Church & Rich Valley Church- these ministries are all thriving! None of this would have been possible without the beautiful mercy and grace of God…….and the ministry of Teen Challenge!” Pastor Phil Cook, ’77 Alabama Teen Challenge Graduate

 

Alabama Teen Challenge, Adult Men’s and Women’s Centers

205-763-0909, P.O. Box 270, Lincoln, AL 35096, www.alatc.org 

“Too many young people have already lost their lives, and too many others have suffered serious injury for us to ignore the problems. Programs such as Teen Challenge work to change people’s lives by changing their hearts. Let us bring to all Americans who struggle with drug addiction this hope: The miracle of recovery is possible, and it could be you.”  President George W. Bush

 

“I saw the humble beginnings of Dave’s ministry in New York City and it was a dangerous setting with all the violence in the gangs. It’s beyond calculation, the lives that have been touched and changed, who in turn have touched and changed many more. The impact is enormous. Really, it’s God’s work.” Pat Robertson/Pres. The 700 Club 

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5 Tips to Preventing Childhood Obesity

5 Tips to Preventing Childhood Obesity

Healthy Living

September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, and as a leading community-based organization dedicated to improving health, The YMCA of Greater Birmingham offers the following tips to help families in Birmingham incorporate healthy eating and regular physical activity into their lives. These tips will not only help families live healthier together but also help prevent childhood obesity:

  1. Eat & Drink Healthy: Make water the drink of choice and encourage everyone to fill half their plates with fruits and vegetables by offering two or three colorful options at every meal. As a family, choose a new fruit and veggie every week to taste together. Place a full pitcher of water on the table during meals, and allow children to pour their own water.
  2. Play Every Day/Go Outside: Children should have at least an hour a day of unstructured play outside (when possible) and break a sweat at least three times a week by getting 20 minutes or more of vigorous physical activity. Join your children in games that get your hearts pumping and bodies moving.
  3. Get Together: Eat as a family as frequently as possible. Involve kids in meal planning, preparation and clean up. In addition, adults should take a break from electronics and spend one-to-one time each day with their kids, enjoying one another’s company.
  4. Reduce Recreational Screen Time: Time spent in front of a television, computer, tablet, cell phone or video games should be limited to two hours or less per day. Make a family plan to reduce screen time at home (i.e. turn off screens during meals, go for a walk after a meal, set a timer to remind you to power down the screen).
  5. Sleep Well: Kids and adults need to keep a regular sleep schedule; unwind together in the evenings by reading a book or listening to soft music to ensure the body is preparing for sleep. Kids are growing and need 10-12 hours of healthy sleep per night and adults need seven to eight hours.

For more information on how your family can live a healthy, active life, visit www.ymcabham.org or speak to your branch Healthy Living Director about how The YMCA of Greater Birmingham can help get your entire family involved!

-Jennifer Neil 

YMCA of Greater Birmingham, www.ymcabham.org 

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Using a Trust to Protect Your Children from Divorce & Creditors

Using a Trust to Protect Your Children from Divorce & Creditors

Legal Matters

presented by: Bradford & Holliman, Estate Planning

Parents frequently ask us how they can leave their assets to their children when they die without those assets being vulnerable to a child later divorcing or having problems with debt. The sentiments expressed by the parents are almost always the same: “We want our child to have our assets, we do not want an ex-spouse or creditor to have our assets.”

The typical Last Will and Testament that leaves everything to the child or percentages to children cannot provide this kind of protection because once the assets become the property of a child, they become subject to the laws governing divorce or other debt collection. However, parents can create trusts to hold the assets they leave for children that will protect the assets from divorce or other creditors. These trusts can be set up to provide assets to a child as needed. Since the assets are not placed into the child’s name, the assets do not become the property of the child which would be subject to division or seizure. Of course, not all trusts can accomplish this goal. The trust must contain the right provisions and restrictions to accomplish asset protection for a child.

Parents may choose to use a Last Will and Testament that has the proper trust provisions inside the Will; or, they may choose to use a Revocable Living Trust that completely avoids the probate court process at death while providing protection for the heirs. If you wish to provide protection for children or other heirs, talk with your estate planning attorney to determine the best way to achieve your specific goals.

Melanie Bradford Holliman 

Partner, Bradford & Holliman, LLC

Practice focuses on estate planning, elder law and special needs trust.

2491 Pelham Parkway, Pelham, Ala. 35124

205-663-0281, www.bradfordholliman.com

This article is for educational purposes and is not intended for specific legal advice.

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ACT: Practice Car Heat Safety

ACT: Practice Car Heat Safety

Healthy Living

We all have forgetful moments at times. We may forget our cell phone or misplace our keys, but what happens if you forget your sleeping baby is left in the back seat of the car? Or what if you decide to leave your baby in the car while you run inside for “just a minute?”

Hot vehicles are the primary non-crash, vehicle-related killer of children under the age of 14, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In 2016, 39 U.S. children died from hyperthermia or heat stroke while in automobiles. When the outside temperature is 85 degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature inside a car can reach 114 degrees in just 20 minutes. This can quickly raise body temperature to dangerous levels. Cracking a window open and parking in the shade are not sufficient safeguards. A child’s body heats up three to four times faster than an adult’s body. Children’s of Alabama has joined the national initiative, ACT, which educates the public about the dangers of leaving a child in a hot car. ACT stands for: 

Avoid heat stroke-related injury and death by never leaving your child alone in the car, not even for a minute. Always lock your doors and trunk so a child doesn’t climb into a hot car without you knowing.

Create reminders for yourself by placing something you’ll need at your destination, like a cell phone, next to the child safety seat. This can be a helpful reminder on a chaotic day.

Take action. If you see a child left alone in a car, call 911 immediately. Emergency personnel are trained to respond to these situations .

For more information, visit safekids.org or childrensal.org/childpassengersafety.

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Stay the Course with John Croyle

Stay the Course with John Croyle

Bringing Out the Winner in Your Child

“Don’t get to high. Don’t get too low. Just stay the course.”

This is one of our mottos at Big Oak Ranch. We are not saying don’t get excited when something good happens, nor are we saying don’t be sad when something bad happens. We are simply saying that things seem to run so much better if we maintain a consistent balance on our emotions.

Every time I’ve gotten too excited over something or gotten overly frustrated about an issue, it always seems to have a negative ripple effect. In every voyage of every ship, there will be calm waters and there will be difficult storms. How we handle these extremes in our lives reveals our trust in the Lord as the Captain of our ship. He has given us control of the steering wheel, but He is the master navigator of our lives. You and I as Christians cannot honor the Lord when we lose control of our emotions over things that are completely out of our control, or even worse when things are in our control.  A healthy emotional balance is the key to consistency in our walk with the Lord.

Greatness, or the lack of it, is oftentimes revealed during life’s losses. May we be found to be stable in all our ways – win or lose.  Every great man I’ve ever known has had control of his emotions. Let’s work at being great!

John Croyle, Founder, Big Oak Ranch 

Author, Who You Are/Defying the Circumstances that Define Us, Bringing Out the Winner in Your Child, The Two Minute Drill to Manhood and Raising a Princess, www.bigoak.org.

 

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The Proven Cure for the Drug Epidemic: Alabama Teen Challenge

The Proven Cure for the Drug Epidemic: Alabama Teen Challenge

Special Feature

presented by Alabama Teen Challenge Adult Men’s and Women’s Centers

 

Alabama Teen Challenge offers both men and women a one-year Christ centered residential program to help them learn how to live drug free lives.

As a ministry that reaches out to the community and seeks to educate teenagers and adults about the dangers of drugs, Teen Challenge is the oldest, largest, and most successful program of its kind in the world. Established in 1958, the ministry has grown to more than 1100 centers in 118 countries. Along with education efforts, Teen Challenge centers in Alabama offer: a one-year residential program for adults, designed to help men and women learn how to live drug-free lives. Teen Challenge staff members encourage the residents to embrace the Christian faith, with the belief that when they do, their lives will be transformed and they will find true meaning and purpose. Residents follow strict rules and discipline. All residents adhere to a daily schedule that includes chapel, Bible classes and job skill training. Many men and women have experienced the transforming power of Jesus Christ by way of their Teen Challenge encounter. For those of us at Teen Challenge, Brother David Wilkerson’s enduring legacy will always be that he founded this ministry for the addicted, the hurting and the disenfranchised.

To learn more about admission to the program, providing financial support to the ministry or to schedule a Teen Challenge speaker for your school, church, youth group or civic group, call 205-763-0909. Visit www.alatc.org. Teen Challenge is a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, Alabama Assoc. of Non-profits and Amazonsmile. †

Alabama Teen Challenge, Adult Men’s and Women’s Centers

205-763-0909

P.O. Box 270

Lincoln, AL 35096

www.alatc.org
“Thank God for Teen Challenge.” Rev. Billy Graham

“Not only does Teen Challenge help our young people deal with their substance abuse but it also gives our kids something to live for- a relationship with God, a healthy self-esteem, and a direction in their lives that finally leads somewhere.” President Ronald Reagan

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Serving Alabama Children through CASA

Serving Alabama Children through CASA

For children who have experienced abuse or neglect, the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) can help make a difference by helping them work their way through the court and child welfare systems in search of a loving home. Each time a child is paired with a CASA Volunteer, their chances are greater to have the best possible outcome. CASA recruits and trains volunteers to advocate for the child’s best interest in the court process. They work with judges, lawyers, social workers, and families to ensure each child has an advocate in court, the child welfare, and foster care systems.

Many life goals and achievements that our culture considers normal rites of passage do not occur for children who are in foster care. Statistics show that 40% do not graduate from high school, 20% become homeless within one year and 25% will be incarcerated after leaving foster care. In contrast, children with CASA volunteers spend 7.5 months less time in foster care, experience fewer out-of-home placements, have significantly better educational performance, and are 90% less likely to reenter the system. By working to reduce the length of time a child spends in foster care, CASA saves the state thousands of dollars while drastically improving the quality of a child’s life, one child at a time. Every child that CASA helps to find a safe, permanent home is one more future adult who has a chance to thrive and succeed in our society.

In 2015, there were 10,279 dependency proceedings in Alabama. Currently, we only have the capacity to serve 10% of the children who need a CASA Volunteer. We must serve more but we cannot do it without the help of caring individuals willing to be trained to serve. You don’t have to be “qualified,” just a caring, compassionate and concerned person willing to be trained.

CASA is presently recruiting volunteers to work with abused and neglected children in all areas of Shelby County and parts of the Hoover area. Training classes begin Monday, October 9th.  For more information on how you can help, please visit www.casaofshelbycounty.org or call Beth at 243-8753. †

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Family Fun with American Village

Family Fun with American Village

Are We There Yet?

Family Fun with Pirates, Spies and Paul Revere’s Midnight Ride!

Summer admission at the American Village is only $5 (Tues.-Sat. thru July 29).

This past election year brought about tremendous political and social tension. In this time of heightened partisanship and feuding, our country cannot hide its disunity. Still, there are places that promote patriotism and unity that we can view as beacons of hope, including The American Village in Montevallo. The Village did not halt its operations or surrender during this tumultuous year. Rather, the organization’s historians, writers, and actors have created and produced a one of a kind summer program that interactively promotes citizenship and is designed for all ages. You may meet some of Blackbeard’s pirates or partake in Paul Revere’s historic midnight ride; change the course of history and spy for the Continental Army.

All the American Village’s activities center around getting people involved in history. Each visitor participates in re-enacting history, adopting a temporary participatory role in shaping America. This unique experience goes deeper than the text of a book or a long lecture. The program places each person in a specific moment. Each visitor will find themselves with historic characters in a replica building from America’s founding era. In a sense, passing through the gates into the American Village is entering a modern time machine.

Costumed historical interpreters at the American Village bring to life our country’s revolutionary history. They re-enact moments when farmers put down their plows and took up arms to defend liberty, when a new nation was born, and when freedom rang true for the first time. No matter the story or season, the American Village promotes patriotism.

The American experiment has survived and thrived for hundreds of years. As we celebrate Independence Day this month, the American Village’s summer program is sure to encourage you to take up your civic duty and be grateful for the freedoms we enjoy. Let freedom ring for America’s past, present, and future. Bring your kids to the American Village any Tuesday through Saturday from 10-4 until July 29th to experience Celebrate America! Or join the American Village July 4th from 11:30 to 9:00 p.m. for red, white and blue family-friendly Independence Day fun, food and fireworks! Let freedom ring, www.americanvillage.org.

-Abby Holcombe

 

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Alabama Splash Adventure: A Koch Family Masterpiece

Alabama Splash Adventure: A Koch Family Masterpiece

Are We There Yet?

Alabama Adventure offers great rides like the Drop Zone and Tea Cups. Alabama Splash Adventure Owner Pat Koch is seen here (third from left) experiencing Drop Z.

Alabama Splash Adventure owners Pat and Dan Koch have a unique amusement park to say the least. The goal of the mother son team is simple. Provide guests the best family atmosphere a park can offer from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

Many amusement parks can be very draining on a family’s bank account but the Koch’s park is different in that regard. “We offer seven stations of free drinks called the Pepsi Oasis so our guests don’t have to wait in line,” Koch said. “We also want to keep our guests healthy and hydrated with water and Gatorade.” When the Alabama summer heat gets to guests, the park also offers the Star Theater for groups to meet and greet other guests.  The Koch’s also offer free sunscreen stations throughout the park for guests to take care of their skin. “We are a family,” Koch said. “We want to offer a great family atmosphere, which is what we strive for.” In order to do that, mother and son hardly ever leave the park. They are constantly adapting and upgrading the park in any way possible to enhance visitors’ experience.

The Koch’s take pride in keeping the park litter free and the attention to detail is evident. The rides have been updated and new ones added like the Drop Zone which takes riders 30 feet in the air and Teacup which is a fun, easy ride for the whole family to experience.

Despite the ups and downs of owning an amusement park, Pat Koch always keeps her faith in perspective and feels blessed. “My faith plays a role in everything that I do,” Koch said. “Two women say to me we pray for you every time we pass the park because we want you to be successful.”

If you are looking for a fun venue to take your family at a reasonable price, Alabama Splash Adventures has everything and more, www.alabamasplash.com.

Plus, this month Birmingham Christian Family is giving away a Family 4-Pack (four general admission tickets) to the park. To enter, simply Like and Follow our Facebook Page, Facebook.com/BirminghamChristianFamily and Share the Alabama Splash Adventure Family 4-Pack post. Offer Ends July 18, 2017.

-Brian Hill

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