NuLink Visits Angel's House in 2015

Children’s Shelter Breaks Ground

Published by theangelshouse on August 22, 2002

Published 8/22/02
By SARAH FAY CAMPBELL, Newnan Times Herald Staff Writer (Story used by permission)

“It’s a great day in Newnan, ” said radio deejay Cadillac Jack as he emceed the groundbreaking celebration for Angel’s House, the Newnan-Coweta Children’s Shelter. The emergency children’s shelter has had support from the local community, the metro-Atlanta area, and around the country, he said. When his radio station, Kicks 101.5, was giving away tickets to the Alan Jackson concert held last year to benefit Angel’s House, people were calling from all over the country wanting to go to the country music star’s concert, he said. He praised Coweta for its sense of community and the ability of the community to come together for a good cause. “Nothing is possible without the hand of God in it, ” said Central Baptist pastor Dr. Joel Richardson as he gave the invocation. Richardson asked everyone to take the hand of the person next to him while Richardson prayed to God that every child will ”know how much you love them and how much we should. ”

Singing for the festivities was Chordially Yours, a trio featuring Jackson’s sisters, Cathy Wright and Carol Glover, along with Merry Todd; as well as Jackson’s brother-in-law, Lamar Wright. Then Cadillac Jack spoke a bit about Bernie Parks, chairman of the Angel’s House board of directors who has pushed so hard for a year and a half to bring the shelter to reality. When he was working with Parks on the Alan Jackson benefit concert and the raffle of a Corvette, also donated by Jackson, ”we learned, just like many of you have, that you just do not not take Bernie’s call. You don’t say ‘no’ to Bernie, ” he said. ”I love her to death. She’s a firecracker, and she will not take no for an answer. ”

Kicks got involved in Angel’s House about halfway through the fund-raising drive and ”we’re here today for the final phase, ” he said. “What can I say but, Wow? ” said Parks as she spoke. ”This is a great day, not only for Angel’s House but also for the community. ” She introduced her board, who have ”worked so hard the last 18 months. ” Also, ”there are thousands of people I would like to thank, ” Parks said, ”but if I ever started to try and tell you each and every name, we’d be here ’till evening. ” She did call two names, though, Alan and Denise Jackson. They are the personification of giving back to the community, Parks said. “In the beginning of all of this, Bill McCorkle had a dream, ” said Parks. ”And it was only a dream. ” McCorkle is the director of the Coweta County Department of Family and Children’s Services, and the dream was to have an emergency shelter in Coweta.

Now, that dream is becoming a reality. Parks said she was recently talking to a friend who told her that last spring, when the fund came to about $200,000, she thought they would be stuck. “I said, ‘you know, that never crossed my mind,’ ” Parks said. ”I hope the next step is I’ll see each and every one of you at the dedication of Angel’s House in the near future. ” When Parks asked her to speak, Denise Jackson said, she felt a bit like ”the cheerleader getting up and speaking for the winning team, ” she said. When she left home, Alan asked her if she was going to speak, ”I said ‘no, I’m not going to say anything’ and he just laughed, ” she said. “It’s been an incredible experience ” Jackson said of her work with Angel’s House. When she first found out about the project and heard that the board was trying to raise a million dollars, she was flabbergasted. ”I had to think to myself; a million dollars is a lot of money, ” she said. But the work went on, and the goal is almost reached. It makes her think of how nothing is impossible with God. ”I think this is his plan, ” Jackson said. ”I think everybody involved with it will continue to be blessed… every one of you have made it happen. ” A number of members of the Jackson family were on hand for the groundbreaking, including Alan Jackson’s mother, Ruth.

Paul Linney, who is planning a benefit music festival for Angel’s House coming up Sept. 13-15 at Powers’ Crossroads, told a bit about his experiences as a teenage runaway. Many of the people he knew growing up on the street ended up dead or in prison, he said. ”It’s good to see a community that is willing to follow up and support ” a project like Angel’s House, he said. ” Kids really need love and support. Without that, self esteem is broken down, ” he said. And the children need help, no matter how strong they are. ” I don’t think anyone can do it alone, ” he said. ”There wasn’t anything like this in Atlanta when I was in my situation, ” he said. ”I really wish there had been. ”

The groundbreaking celebration was held under the pecan trees at the home of Scott and Debra Shefelton. The actual groundbreaking was held earlier on the wooded site of Angel’s House. “I thought it just all went great, ” Parks said afterward. There will be a building committee meeting next week, and construction should start soon, she said.

Country music star Jackson again helping Angel’s House

Published by theangelshouse on October 28, 2002

Published 10/28/02
By SARAH FAY CAMPBELL, Staff Writer Newnan Times-Herald (Story used by permission)

Internet users can now take a virtual tour of country star Alan Jackson’s home, tour bus and garage showroom — and proceeds from the paid tours will benefit Jackson’s favorite charity, Angel’s House, the Newnan-Coweta children’s shelter.

The virtual tours, at Web-site, will feature panoramic pictures, closeups, and photo galleries. Some of the closeups will feature an in-depth description of the area, written personally by Jackson.

The total tour costs $14.95, and viewers can look at it as much as they want for 24 hours after purchasing. Purchased individually, the house tour is $9.95, the bus tour, $4.95, and the garage tour, $7.95. The Web-site also features a virtual tour of NASCAR star Dale Jarrett’s home.

“Denise and I are excited to share Sweetbriar and the bus because it gives us an opportunity to support a charity that is close to our hearts, ” Jackson said.

The Jacksons, both Newnan natives, have been very supportive of Angel’s House, which will be a temporary place for children to stay when they are removed from their homes by the Department of Family and Children’s Services. Last October, Jackson returned to his hometown for a benefit concert at Newnan High School for the shelter; and last December, donated his Corvette, which was raffled off in Newnan.

Angel’s House — named by the Jacksons — had its groundbreaking in August.

“We’ve got a hole in the ground, ” said Angel’s House Board President Bernie Parks. The plans for the home have been sent to the state fire marshal’s office for approval, she said, and ”as soon as it dries up, we’ll start pouring foundation. ”

Money is still coming in for Angel’s House, though there haven’t been any huge fund-raisers so far this year. The Angel Festival will be held in downtown Newnan on Dec. 7, and the Heritage School is having an American Girl Fashion Show the weekend of Nov. 22, Parks said. A portion of the proceeds from the event, which she expects will be huge, will go to Angel’s House.

A class at Western School will be donating money instead of buying presents for their teacher, Parks said, and other events are in the works for the spring. She’s also trying to start getting more individual donations.

There have been lots of donations of building materials, lately, though, and nearly all the labor on the house will be volunteer. Still, the house is likely going to end up costing more than Parks originally thought. The Angel’s House fund, so far, is around $930,000, which will pay for the house and, hopefully, a few years of operation.

“This is A Dream” Angel’s House Children Shelter Dedicated

Jan 9, 2004 The Times-Herald
(Story used by permission)

Three years of effort were commemorated as the Angel’s House children’s shelter was dedicated Thursday morning.

“It was a dream,” said founder Bernie Parks of the plans for Angel’s House three years ago. “It could have been a pipe dream, but it wasn’t.”
In November of 2000, Parks and several other ladies met with Coweta County Department of Family and Children’s Services to discuss starting a shelter for children in Coweta County.

“This is a dream, and this is what you all have done,” Parks told the gathering. And now, the house is ready to go; all that’s left is state inspections for the house to be able to open its doors to children.

“It has been truly a magnificent experience,” said Parks, who is chairman of the Angel’s House board of directors.
A large crowd turned out to stand in the frosty air for the dedication. Afterwards, everyone went into the house, which has now been fully decorated, for a tour and refreshments.

Georgia First Lady Mary Perdue was the keynote speaker for the event. She and her husband Sonny served as foster parents for a short time, keeping infants waiting for adoption. State Rep. Lynn Smith was master of ceremonies.

“As I told Lynn and Bernie, this project is exactly what I would like to see all over the state,” Perdue said.

Foster children “haven’t had a champion” in Georgia, Perdue said, but she intends to be one. And when she travels around the state talking about the issue, she will tell everyone about the people in Coweta County that came together to create a children’s shelter.

And she is committed to “making sure, in Georgia, children in state care are well taken care of.”

But the government can’t do it all, nor should it, she said. The way communities respond to and meet the needs of childrenis “of far greater value than anything the state can provide,” Perdue said.

Providing something like Angel’s House “provides so much more than just a home,” Perdue said. And getting involved in such a project “will enrich your lives as you enrich the lives of children who come into Angel’s House.”

Perdue spoke briefly about some items that the governor wants to make sure to provide for the the budget, including $18 million to fund PeachCare health insurance and $12 million to support increased level of care services “that are so necessary for meeting the needs of children in state custody.”

Perdue said that she’s convinced that, when the people of Georgia see a need for children, they will step up and meet that need.
“I want to see effort like this brought to the forefront, so people will know,” she said. She wants to “point to you as an example of what we need to do all over the state of Georgia.”
“I know together we can make a difference in our state.”

Denise Jackson, honorary co-chair of Angel’s House, was on hand with her parents Dan and Nell Jackson for the ceremonies. She and husband, country music star Alan Jackson, grew up in Newnan and have been big supporters of the project. They were given the honor of naming the facility, and did so remembering calling their own children “angel baby” or “angel biscuit.” It is a name by which children staying there can refer to it without it being an institution – “Angel’s House.”

Mrs. Jackson told the gathering she had been trying to think of what she was going to say at the dedication. She asked her husband, and he said “you’ll figure it out,” she said. Then she found a magnet in a drawer that used to be on her microwave. It contains verses from Matthew 25, and seemed to be the perfect thing, she said.

“For I was hungry and you gave me food… whatever you have done for the least of these, you have done for me.”

“I think there’s no better example” of that than Angel’s House, Jackson said – a group of people seeing a need and responding to it.

“That’s what he commands us to do. He doesn’t ask us to do, he commands us,” she said.
When it comes time for us to be judged, Jesus won’t care what kind of car we had. He’ll want to know how many times we have a ride to someone who needed it, Jackson said.

“When we meet him face to face, there’s no doubt he will ask us about Angel’s House.”
Parks and board member Val Cranford expressed their thanks for the Jacksons’ involvement in Angel’s House. After a benefit concert, the Jacksons were asked to choose the name for the facility.

But “they did more than give it a name, they gave it wings,” Parks said. “They provided the credibility behind this project and made it take off.”
The fan club, helped too, as many Alan Jackson fans who read about the project sent in donations. And there are several autographed pictures of Jackson in the hallway, as well as a picture of the Jacksons’ three children making snow angels in the sand.

Angel’s House has been supported by people from all over the country, “and I’m not kidding when I say that,” Parks said. One woman from West Virginia recently sent a donation with a card that said “I hope this will help an angel I wasn’t able to have.”Another person, surfing the Internet in England, sent an angel.

The Angel’s House campaign raised approximately $1.1 million, Parks said. “It goes to show, when a community works together, what we can do,” Parks said. She wishes that the whole country could see what happened in Coweta County.