Lake Norman Magazine

Church of God Children's home

2/22/11 FOR  LAKE NORMAN MAGAZINE.  For Enterprise feature on  William (MIke) Walker  executive director  for Church of God CHildren's Home in Concord .  ROBERT LAHSER - rlahser@charlotteobserver.com
2/22/11 FOR LAKE NORMAN MAGAZINE. For Enterprise feature on William (MIke) Walker executive director for Church of God CHildren's Home in Concord . ROBERT LAHSER - rlahser@charlotteobserver.com Robert Lahser, rlahser@charlotteobserver.com

Church of God Children's Home in Kannapolis has provided a safe and loving place for kids for nearly seven decades. And with the support of the local community, Executive Director Mike Walker says the home can continue to teach and guide young people with no parental care, a need that continues to grow more urgent throughout the region.

On the home’s origins: The Church of God Children’s Home started in 1944 when two young girls were brought to the home of Rev. A.V. Childers, then pastor of Kannapolis Church of God, says Walker. In looking for a way to care for the girls, the pastor reached out Charles Cannon, owner of Cannon Mills in Kannapolis. Within a week Cannon handed Childers a deed to seven acres of land and a two-story farmhouse in Kannapolis, and the children’s home was founded.

On meeting different needs: Today the home has the capacity to accommodate about 30. The kids range in age from 4 to 21, and they’re placed at the home both privately and through the Department of Social Services. Most kids come from North Carolina, but on occasion they receive kids from out of state. Walker, who took over as executive director in 2008, says the home has launched several new initiatives, including a foster care program. They’ve also started an independent living program for kids 18 to 21, as well as a teen mother to teach parenting skills.

On future expansions: The home is located on 228 acres, and the kids reside in six furnished cottages. But Walker says the number of kids in the region who need their assistance continues to increase. Donations and grants help keep the non-profit going, said Walker, including from folks like NASCAR driver Kyle Busch, who has designated the home one of his foundation’s primary charities. But every bit helps. “We don’t turn anyone away for an inability to pay, so we need resources to help,” says Walker. “We want to remain a part of this community, and continue to help as many kids as we can.”

More info: www.kylebuschfoundation.org/charities/

For an inside look at Kyle Busch's recent wedding to model Samantha Sarcinella, click here.

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