UM Children's Home enjoys 'Celebrity' status
BY GLENN HANNIGAN
The calls roll in from distant cities. The website is experiencing a marked increase in traffic. People around the nation are curious to know more about the United Methodist Children’s Home (UMCH).
The Decatur-based UMCH has never experienced anything quite like this. Perhaps, it is simply evidence of how a little “Celebrity” can go a long way.
The UM Children’s Home, established in 1871 to care for children orphaned during the Civil War, has been thrust into the national spotlight in the fourth installment of NBC’s popular reality show “Celebrity Apprentice.”
One of the contestants, Atlanta native Lil Jon – a successful music producer, recording artist and entrepreneur -- has selected the UMCH as his designated charity. On the episode that aired March 27, Lil Jon led his team to victory as project manager, winning $40,000 for the UM Children’s Home.
“People from all over the country are hearing about us,” said Richard Puckett, director of public relations for UMCH. “On the day before the show aired, we had 200 hits on our website. They after it aired we had 1,500 hits.”
Lil Jon, given high marks from his teammates for his leadership skills and organization, has made a strong pitch for supporting the UMCH.
"I chose the United Methodist Children’s Home as my charity because it’s a personal thing for me,” he said. “My family took in some foster kids when I was young, so I know the importance. Every kid deserves a good home, and the best opportunities."
The United Methodist Children’s Home is a ministry to hurting children and families. Efforts are aimed at preventing the breakup of families, restoring and healing separated families, or teaching teens and young adults how to create successful and meaningful lives for their own future families.
“Of course, everyone around here is following the show pretty closely,” Puckett said. “We are hoping to have a media event in May where we can invite Lil Jon here and thank him for what he has done for us and have him talk to our kids.
“We hope this is the start of a long-term relationship with him.”