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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Bringing Comfort to Area Families: Baby Steps Memorial Run

Bringing Comfort to Area Families: Baby Steps Memorial Run

Healthy Living

Between 500 and 600 runners are expected at the 9th annual Baby Steps Memorial Run September 30 at Tannehill. The run benefits the Amelia Center at Children’s of Alabama which provides free grief support services to area families.

Tragedy struck the Nicholas family in 2008 when they miscarried their twin sons. Grief-stricken, mom Abby Nicholas went to the Amelia Center at Children’s of Alabama for help. The center provides free professional counseling for parents and grandparents who have suffered the loss of a child of any age ranging from pregnancy loss through adulthood. The non-profit program also provides a safe place for children grieving the loss of a loved one-  giving them ways to creatively express feelings through art and play. The Amelia Center was such a catalyst in the Nicholas family’s healing process they began to look for ways to give back to the organization. Along with the Hodge family, who also benefited from Amelia Center services, they founded the Baby Steps Memorial Run (5K and 1 mile fun run). Nicholas says organizing this fundraiser for the past 8 years has given her purpose through her grief. Though she has never run a 5k and doesn’t plan to anytime soon, the event has become an integral part of her life. Every year, she sees something good come from her tragedy.

In recent years, race organizers began taking name submissions of loved ones lost and adding them to yard signs. As participants run the course, they pass by the names of these individuals. Nicholas sees this as a way to solidify that the annual fundraising event goes much deeper than medals and record times. Those who participate in the race—volunteers, runners, and onlookers alike—gather in memoriam and the race is a celebration of wonderful lives that have been lived and of healing made possible in part by the Amelia Center. Nicholas credits the race’s growing popularity to the tireless efforts of volunteers- many of whom have walked a similar grief journey as her own family and have together found the race to be a part of their healing process. “We are here by God’s grace and He’s allowed us to get this far,” says Nicholas.

Be a part of this extraordinary event on September 30 at Tannehill State Park in McCalla. Learn more and sigh up at www.babystepsal.com. For more details on services offered by the Amelia Center, visit www.childrensal.org/amelia-center.

-Abby Holcombe

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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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“Traveling the World in Your Own Backyard”

Photo Fun 

7th grader Max McGwin shares his knowledge about United Arab Emirates with other students during the International Fair at Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School in Homewood.

Students enjoy learning about Kazakhstan as 7th grader Zach Wedlund explains its culture at the International Fair held at Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School.

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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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Shades Mountain Christian Becomes Heritage Christian Academy

Shades Mountain Christian Becomes Heritage Christian Academy

Education Extra

As classes start this fall, Shades Mountain Christian School staff and faculty will welcome students back under the school’s new name, Heritage Christian Academy (HCA). In addition to the name change, a location change was also anticipated but instead students will remain at the school’s original home, Shades Mountain Community Church (formerly Shades Mountain Independent), for the 2017-2018 school year. HCA planned to purchase the Riverchase Middle School campus from the City of Pelham but a delay in the closing this summer opened the door for Hoover City Schools to purchase the property instead. In a written statement to the community, HCA leadership shared, “We are disappointed but not disheartened. Heritage Christian Academy has the same great faculty, same great students, and same great families as we had in the past. We look forward to what God has in store for HCA for this year and for the future.”

Established in 1974 as Shades Mountain Christian School, Heritage Christian Academy has a rich heritage in Christian education. The “Heritage” name plays tribute to the legacy and history reflective of the school founder, the late Richard “Dick” Vignuelle. Pastor Vignuelle had a vision to start a Christian community school in Birmingham. Since its inception, the school has served students and families for over 40 years, and has graduated over 1,000 alumni. The independent, community, Christian school serves grades K-4 through 12 and is accredited by AdvancED, formerly the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and is a member of the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI). †

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OLS Inventors!

OLS Inventors!

Education Extra

Fourth-graders Adam Grimes and Nicole McKie explain their original inventions to students during the OLS Invention Convention.

Some fourth-grade students at Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School (OLS) can now call themselves inventors! During their final month of school in May, the students created original inventions and displayed them at their own Invention Convention in the OLS Parish Hall. The fun event was a major part of their science curriculum. As a part of a month-long project, the fourth-graders had to think of an original idea or develop a new method of doing something. The students then worked through a systematic process to make their invention a reality. The class project was structured to help the students learn about inventors and develop their own product. It also taught them how to create their own concept through research and development and how to design a blueprint as well as create a convincing advertisement for their new device. A summary report and writing a tribute letter to another inventor were also a part of the assignment which culminated with the Invention Convention. †

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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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