Help support a great cause: The World’s Children Center
by Laura Armstrong
MDJ Columnist
January 13, 2010 03:26 PM | 690 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Smyrna businessman Don Whitney dropped me a line to acknowledge my column on children last Sunday. What an honor to hear from this extraordinary man.

Whitney heads up Corporate Sports Unlimited as well as the U.S. 10K Classic and Family Festival (that’s the big road race to benefit children’s charities that’s been held in Cobb each Labor Day for the past 16 years). He is also the creator and driving force behind The World Children’s Center, a 710-acre master planned community in Haralson County that will ultimately be a safe haven for over 800 parentless children on any given day, providing them loving house parents, high quality educations, opportunities for character development and all around brighter futures.

Whitney’s story is so inspiring. You know those info commercials on television for sponsoring hungry children “for just pennies a day?” According to Whitney’s online bio, he saw the hungry and hurting children and his heart was so crushed he decided right then and there that he was going to make a difference. He was all of 13 at the time.

Now, he heads up a board of caring individuals that includes such notables as former NFL star Steve Bartkowski, Bellsouth CEO Emeritus John Clendenin, 1968 Olympian Kip Keino, artist Thomas Kincade, Publix’s Robert Moore, motivational speaker Zig Ziglar, Chrystal Cathedral visionary Dr. Robert Schuller and others.

The list of sponsors for The World Children’s Center jumps out as well. My former employer and a prolific-but-humble philanthropist, John Wieland, is the builder. Haverty’s, the great, family-owned furniture company, is the designer, and numerous other corporate icons are actively supporting the vision of providing hope for so many children who’ve been dealt the cruelest hand at a young age.

If you haven’t heard of the fantastic effort behind the World Children’s Center, which is now a reality near Tallapoosa, Georgia, you really should peruse their website, http://www.worldchildrenscenter.org/ and see if there’s a way you can help.

Government isn’t doing the job, folks, of keeping our children safe. It’s up to us to become aware and involved for so many reasons, and to support the private efforts that can make a real difference. Boys Town, the Catholic Boys Home just across the road from the neighborhood where I grew up in Omaha, has become world-renowned. But we’re about to have another world-class facility right here in Georgia, thanks to the vision, leadership and dedication of many wonderful people, right here in Cobb.

The first of 100 homes in the community is now built. You can volunteer, buy a brick and get involved in 2010.

John O’Brien, alumnus and president of the Milton Hershey School, a century-old childrens home in Pennsylvania and the model for the WCC, spoke to supporters recently in Atlanta. He said:

“When we offer a school to a child, it helps and expands their mind, but when we give them a home it saves their very soul.”

I like that idea, a lot, don’t you?

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