On Saturday afternoon, 60 middle school and high school students from three churches, Trinity Chapel in Powder Springs, Oasis Family Life Church in Dallas and New Season Church in Hiram, threw a large party for disadvantaged kids living in the heart of west Cobb.
The Calvary Children’s Home, at 1430 Lost Mountain Road, sits on 13 acres with a large building for offices, a cafeteria and library, as well as three residential cottages to house the 23 children in need.
Campus Director Brian Busby, who has worked for Calvary for 15 years, said he was in awe from the churches wanting to “demonstrate the love of God with no strings attached.”
Busby said many of the children at Calvary are long-term residents, who must stay at least two years because their parents cannot take care of them. One young woman, who will attend bible college this fall, has lived at the home since she was three years old.
Not only were they treated to a fun day with laser tag and video games, but the Calvary kids were also given gift cards, school supplies and toiletry items.
The three churches distributed a list of needed donations to their congregations and 90 percent of everything listed was raised, according to Ruth Guerrier, whose husband Andrew is the youth pastor at Trinity Chapel.
“They are an organization that will always need more,” Guerrier said.
Busby agreed and added that Calvary Children’s Home is always in need of paper goods and perishable items, such as meat for the dinners served every night.
When the Calvary children saw the miniature carnival in their yard, it was a surprising sight for kids who do not get the chance to participate in family outings.
“They were a little shocked. It took them a moment,” Guerrier said.
Toni Preyer, the youth pastor of Oasis, said it was a challenge at first to describe to the teenagers she leads why they were throwing a party for other kids instead of organizing one for themselves.
But soon, the teens were doing all the heavy lifting and dirty work to spruce up the grounds of The Calvary Children’s Home, including pulling weeds, laying mulch and painting fences in the Saturday morning sun.
Shay Riley, 14, said it was worth the sweat for the children to have a better surroundings to live in.
Riley said she plans to tell the rest of her church that there is a need to keep coming back to keep the land and kids at Calvary renewed.
“When I saw the kids smiling, I knew my work paid off,” Riley said.
One final project was a blue and white dunk tank that was being assembled with the help of Bradley Newson, 15, of Amberton.
Newson said he loves community service and getting to know new people, but he was not sure when they arrived at 11 a.m. if the day would come together as well as it did.
After three months of planning by the youth leaders, said Jaron Shaffer, the youth pastor for New Seasons, the children from various churches, along with the kids at Calvary, became one intermingled group in bright yellow, blue and green shirts with “The Takeover” written across their chests.