The prevailing sentiment from alumni, staff, and friends of Cunningham at the 120th Anniversary and Homecoming Celebration yesterday was how their lives had been positively impacted by Cunningham Children's Home.
One alumnus mentioned how she learned to share her feelings and find joy. Another told how Cunningham helped him understand his mental health challenges and gave him the skills for a better life. A parent told how staff helped her to help her child. A United Methodist Woman said that she was grateful to be part of improving a young person's life because hers was positively impacted too. The comments went on and on. Cunningham is a special place.
As mentioned during the Celebration Service yesterday, Judge Joseph Cunningham wrote a special dedication in his journal on the day that he and his wife, Mary, deeded their home to become an orphanage. It read, "May God's blessing go with this gift, and may it be the means of doing much good." The Anniversary and Homecoming events highlighted how a simple blessing has done much good! (see more photos on Facebook)
And our hope is that it continues. That's why during the Celebration, Cunningham Board President Rhonda Whitaker talked about efforts to raise $120,000 for spiritual life programming between now and October 25 - the day the doors to the orphanage opened in 1895.
We are calling these Blessing Gifts because it was a simple blessing written in a journal 120 years ago and supported by many people over the years that has brought hope to thousands of youth and families.
We want to bless the lives of those to come in the next decades by raising money to support spiritual life programming on campus. Throughout the history of Cunningham Children's Home nurturing the spirituality of children and youth has been an integral part of our provision of care. Today, two Chaplains offer a variety of programs and experiences for Cunningham youth to grow their spiritual foundation.
Blessing gifts will pay for things like bibles for each new child, a cross when they leave, Vacation Bible School, church camp, and spiritual curriculum for small groups and Chapel. And can lead to spiritual moments like the one shared by one of our teenagers, Michael. During a Chapel service, he felt the welcoming spirit of God's presence and shared his experience with Chaplain Gay King-Crede. Their conversation led to his opening up about some difficult issues and beginning a process of healing.
You can bless the lives of youth by making a Blessing Gift. Go to our website and make a gift online or print a form, designate your gift as a Blessing Gift and mail to Cunningham Children's Home.
Be sure to make your gift before October 25!