I came to Selma when I was 10, in 1963. My sister Gayle who is a year older also came. At first, it was a big adjustment for me but I soon began to be comfortable. I was in cottage 55, my sister in 26. When I think back of what I was taught while there it was such a blessing. We had everything we needed — Mr. Kirkland was a wonderful role model and mentor! For me the most important were the life lessons. Going to church every Sunday, I had no idea then how it would impact me throughout life. I have instilled the same tradition in my family. Even the way we were taught doing chores. This too, I used in raising my children. If not for the home, not sure how stable I would be today. I am a member of All Saints Episcopal Church, and have found a fellow member whose mother Agnes Howell was our music teacher at our sweet little chapel! We have bonded over this. I had a successful marriage of 36 years before my husband passed away. I have many friends from the home and we still keep in touch.
Many many blessings were bestowed upon us, they never missed a step in giving us integrity, honesty, traditions and more than anything, feeling loved.
Reflections of Sherryl Chafin Bailey
My name is Sherryl Chafin Bailey and I want to say Happy 130th Birthday to the United Methodist Children’s Home and say thank you for all you’ve done to help disadvantaged children throughout the decades. I know because I was one of those children – in the early 1960’s, at age 14, I, along with my three younger siblings, were placed in the Children’s Home in Selma, Alabama. After previously living in several unpleasant stressful foster homes since the age of 9, for me the Home was a positive environment. There were around a hundred children living at the Home and we were given stable home-like cottages to live in, with support and guidance from house-parents and other Home staff.
Many recreational, educational, and spiritual activities were provided, both on-campus and off, and we learned valuable skills and habits encouraging personal and social development. There were so many opportunities there that I would not have had otherwise, including a college financial scholarship which I utilized. I’m now retired and attribute my successful life and career to the support and influence of the Children’s Home. I know that living at the United Methodist Children’s Home in Selma was the best thing that could have happened to me.
Reflections of John Longo
I want to extend Happy Birthday wishes to the Children’s Home on your 130th anniversary.
I, along with my brother Charles, and sister Loretta, were at the home from 1949 through 1951.
I retain fond memories of being there and having close friends. The Livingston family treated us as part of their family, which gave us support.
Reflections of Jane Wyatt (Gibe)
I am grateful my father decided to place me at the United Methodist Children’s Home. He worked with Ms. Green and Mr.Kirkland to make it go as smoothly as it could go. I had been there and played there with others before the major move. No one could imagine all that transpired in my life within a short period of time – moving seven times before I even got to High School and seeing things no child could handle.
I went back to walk the grounds later in life and noticed they had to put the houses in numerical order because we would get lost. I looked and said we had to learn the sound of our bells our cottage rang, and it was a very structured life that every child needs. The bell would wake us up, we got dressed, and went down to look for our name to see what we needed to do. And we were lucky if Ms. George had the television on when Lawrence Welk aired! I loved watching Lawrence Welk and skating too!! I thank God for having the family I did have there. God bless, and thank you, UMCH. You helped me to be the person I am today.