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Meet Len Romano of Christian City

Today we’d like to introduce you to Len Romano.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I joined Christian City as President and CEO in December 2015 after a 34-year career with the YMCA. Before coming to Christian City, I was President/CEO of the YMCA of Greater Omaha, a 10-branch Y serving two states and over 100,000 people. Other Y positions during my career included: COO of America’s first YMCA, the YMCA of Greater Boston; President/CEO of the YMCA of Metropolitan Denver; and additional leadership roles with YMCAs in St. Louis, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Washington, DC.

Len was also appointed by two different mayors to serve as a commissioner for the Omaha Housing Authority, Nebraska’s largest provider of affordable housing.

When he’s not working at Christian City or spending time with his family, you may find Len enjoying a game of tennis.

You can learn more about Len at www.leadershipwithlenromano.com

Has it been a smooth road?
Raising sufficient funds for necessary facilities and daily operations of the Children’s Village has been an ongoing challenge. While we have been around for more than 50 years, there are still a lot of people across metro Atlanta who are not familiar with Christian City.

We are trying to change that by connecting with those who are interested in learning more about our programs and ministries for children and older people. We are not a church, but we provide life-changing hope through faith, community, and care. And we are finding a lot of people throughout metro Atlanta who want to be a part of what we do.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Christian City story. Tell us more about the business.
In 1962, a group of people associated with area churches saw a need for a home for eight boys. Christian City was established 52 years ago when the first cottage for abused and abandoned children opened on Valentine’s Day, 1965. Since that time, we have served many children who were abandoned, abused or would otherwise be homeless. Today, there are more than 1,000 residents, both children, AND senior adults, living hope-filled lives here. The 500-acre faith-based community is located in south metro Atlanta.

Christian City Children’s Village is a non-profit program that provides a loving and secure environment in family-structured homes. Children ages 5-17 live with full-time house parents, where they work to heal their wounded spirits and break the cycle of abuse they have endured. A warm home, healthy meals, clean clothing, quality education, necessary counseling, and a lot of loving care are provided to the children who are victims of neglect, abuse, and abandonment. Some children live here briefly, while others spend their entire childhoods at the Children’s Village. The program is sustained through generous community support from individuals, churches, civic groups, businesses, and grantors.

Christian City is a retirement community with affordable patio homes and apartments for seniors on limited incomes. In addition, our caring and committed staff provide a full continuum of care with an emphasis on both physical and spiritual health. A 200-bed Skilled Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, a 150-bed Assisted Living Center, Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care, Home Health, an on-site Pharmacy, Hospice Care and Graceland Thrift Store are located on the campus. Peace of mind and a vibrant community of loving people is what sets Christian City apart among senior living communities.

Vision:
Christian City envisions a world where the most vulnerable among us have a safe home and loving community, which enables them to thrive.

Mission:
To extend Christ’s call to love your neighbor through housing, health care and crisis intervention for children, families and older adults.

Promise:
Life-changing Hope through Faith, Community, and Care.

Christian City’s concept is somewhat unique in that we serve both children and seniors. We provide homes for children who have been abused or abandoned, and our housing includes both patio homes and apartments for active seniors who enjoy recreation and volunteering opportunities on our campus. Beyond independent living, our senior residents can also transition to assisted living and skilled nursing & rehab without leaving the Christian City campus.

The campus includes patio homes and apartments for active seniors, the Children’s Village, a thrift store, 200-bed skilled nursing and rehabilitation center, 150-bed assisted living center and two memory care units. More than 200 individual volunteers and numerous corporate, church and school-related volunteer groups serve at Christian City each year.

Individuals, churches, foundations, and businesses provide financial support that helps us fulfill our mission at Christian City. In fact, philanthropy sustains the Children’s Village operating budget of $3.5 million per year, which includes our 24/7 Safe Place program for runaway and homeless youth.

Statistics show that timely help for runaways is critical. 30% of runaway children are lured into sex trafficking in their first 48 hours on the street. Our staff and volunteers help identify, recover and restore children who have run away from home or have been forced from their home.

While we have been around for more than 50 years, there are still a lot of folks across metro Atlanta who are not familiar with Christian City. We are trying to change that by connecting with those who are interested in learning more about our programs and ministries for children and older people. We are not a church, but we provide life-changing hope through faith, community, and care. And we are finding a lot of people throughout metro Atlanta who want to be a part of what we do.

All who support us financially are changing the lives of children, providing them with hope, and helping to break the cycle of generational poverty.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
There are more than 400,000 children in foster care in the United States. According to Georgia’s Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS), there are approximately 19,000 children in foster homes in the state, and the need for foster care homes in Georgia is growing. During National Adoption Month in November 2017, Georgia DFCS announced approximately 1,200 children were adopted in Georgia over the past year.

In response to the need, Christian City Children’s Village is in the process of adding a new Crossroads program to train new foster care parents and facilitate adoptions of foster care children. We have completed the accreditation application, hired our staff, and are now awaiting approval by the state to begin operating the Crossroads program in the coming year.

Also, we have a lot of untapped development potential at our 500-acre campus that is conveniently located south of Atlanta’s Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport. In fact, almost 200 acres of our property is currently undeveloped.

A market study is underway to help us develop a master plan for future development that will allow us to best serve our residents and the surrounding community. We are just a mile north of the Fayette County line, and only 15 minutes down I-85 from the airport, so we are uniquely situated between Aerotropolis Atlanta to our north and Fayetteville/Peachtree City to our south.

Contact Info:

  • Address: 7345 Red Oak Road Union City, GA 30291
  • Website: www.christiancity.org
  • Phone: 770-964-3301 or 770-703-AMEN
  • Email: ccity@christiancity.org
  • Instagram: @ChristianCityInc, @childrensvillage
  • Facebook: Christian City, Inc., The Children’s Village at Christian City
  • Twitter: @ChristianCity_, @CCIChildren

Image Credit:
Larry Regier

Getting in touch: VoyageATL is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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