Presbyterian Home for Children is an Alabama Bright Light for hope, healing

Presbyterian Home for Children is an Alabama Bright Light for hope, healing
Doug Marshall and the Presbyterian Home for Children provide a stable, loving place for at-risk kids. (Karim Shamsi-Basha/Alabama NewsCenter)

Doug Marshall sums up his mission as president and CEO of the Presbyterian Home for Children (PHC) in Talladega County with two words: love and hope.

“We serve at-risk children and meet their needs across Alabama,” Marshall said. “When the children and their mothers come, they usually have so much pain, and there’s not a sparkle in the eye. We surround them with love and with hope, and we see that sparkle come back after a while.”

The website spells out the mission: “Raising hope, growing confidence, nurturing faith since 1868. The Presbyterian Home for Children serves children, young adults and families from throughout Alabama who seek healing and hope for their troubled lives.”

“Everything we provide at the Presbyterian Home for Children is wrapped in love,” Marshall said. “This place has been serving at-risk and homeless children in troubled families for a very long time. We are a place of love and we place a path of hope in front of these children.”

Presbyterian Home for Children has been an Alabama Bright Light shining for 150 years from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

For 150 years, PHC has been a beacon for troubled families, at-risk children and children who may have experienced abuse. Marshall and his staff walk with them toward healing.

In addition to the programs the PHC provides, the Ascension Leadership Academy serves K-12 students through an accredited academic program.

“The average age for a homeless child is 6 years old,” Marshall said. “We are able to provide these children with a place to grow, rest, learn and play. We are working with their moms, teaching them life skills and surrounding them with love and support.”

The home partners with churches, businesses and individuals to care for the homeless and at-risk children. Marshall said providing love and hope to children is in PHC’s roots.

“The Presbyterian Home for Children started as an orphanage. As the needs and family dynamics changed, we have changed,” Marshall said. “We have created programs to meet the needs of these children and families.

“One thing hasn’t changed: our love,” he added. “We surround them with love and with hope. Hope is like oxygen; you gotta have it or you give up.”

Those are the ingredients PHC seems to always have an abundance of: love and hope.

“Everything we provide in the Presbyterian Home for Children is wrapped in love and with hope,” Marshall said.

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Alabama Bright Lights captures the stories, through words, pictures and video, of some of our state’s brightest lights who are working to make Alabama an even better place to live, work and play. Award-winning journalist Karim Shamsi-Basha tells their inspiring stories. Email him comments, as well as suggestions on people to profile, at [email protected]

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