Jamie Foxx, Oprah Winfrey, Maya Angelou, Angelina Jolie: These are just a few of the famous faces who have gotten involved in the world crisis of homeless children. What is in the best interests of the child is once again a hot topic, and finally, with a twist. Orphanages are becoming part of the discussion again, but in a modern-day form.
A Place to Call Home is the untold story of present-day orphanages — now called residential education facilities (REFs) and academies — and how they fit into the spectrum of choices for children who no longer have a family to return home to every night. Noted journalist Martha Randolph Carr tells the story of five residential education facilities from the heart of urban America to the plains of Texas.
Go along with Carr on an amazing journey of discovery as she opens the doors of REFs and shows the cottages, resident couples, dining halls, gyms, flute lessons, bowling trips, hayrides, karate lessons, graduations, and many more glimpses into the lives of the thousands of children who now live and thrive in these places and call them home today. Learn how the tools for successful reinvention used in these academies can be adapted by anyone who is facing great changes such as divorce or career shifts. And get solid tips from each home on how every family can raise a happier, more confident, and independent child.
As Carr learns about the families that are made in residential education facilities, she relates the moving story of her relationship with her son, Louie. She discovers that though they have been pulled apart, the secrets the homes have to share could become the road map to mending their troubled relationship and allow them to embrace the constant changes required to feel fulfilled and live without regret.
Part study of modern-day orphanages and part memoir, A Place to Call Home shows us an effective solution for America' troubled families. In light of the demonstrable successes of REFs in helping homeless children, Carr questions why there should be any controversy about them, especially considering the decline in the number of available foster families. She argues that REFs are a less-expensive option for public money, providing wrap-around care and structure to the world’s most vulnerable population. Furthermore, REFs have succeeded in sending more children to colleges and trade schools than from the general populace.
Finally, she describes her own foundation, the Shared Abundance Foundation, a national college scholarship fund for children who have grown up in US residential education facilities, plus the Family Tree Project, which works to reunite the thousands of alumni of orphanages who cannot find each other. Small vignettes of REF alumni are included between chapters.
A Place to Call Home is a compelling story of many dedicated people who are succeeding in providing a better life and a hopeful future for more and more homeless children.
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About the Author
What People are Saying About This
"The American public needs light shed on the important and reemerging option of boarding schools and children's homes for children and youth whose families cannot care for them! Martha Randolph Carr has the will, the skills, and the passion to do this. She will share both the overall struggles of individuals and communities to help these young people, and the individual success stories. With people looking at alternative schools, charter schools, and new ways of learning, let us reconsider the former "orphanage" as a valuable solution for at-risk youth."--(Heidi Goldsmith, Founder, Executive Director, CORE: Coalition for Residential Education)
"Martha Randolph Carr captures the story of a mother's journey to save herself and her son by letting go and finding miracles in America's orphanages. Children's homes are a success story that have been hidden away for too long and Carr's message is inspirational for us all."--(Lillian Vernon, founder of Lillian Vernon Corporation)
"For all who face life changes--Martha Randolph Carr has "roadmapped" a guide to get readers to the "other side" and know that change and challenge is worth embracing. She invites the reader to that journey through the engaging mechanism of the 'change stories' in those facilities once known as orphanages. You will see the parallels in your own life-change victories."--(Bob Danzig, former CEO/ Hearst Newspapers/ Author/ Speaker)
"Martha Carr's proposed study of child care systems worldwide could not be more timely. I am convinced that there will be a sizable worldwide market for her findings for the general public. Ms. Carr has a demonstrated track record for taking on such a research project and writing the kind of book that will have a broad audience. I commend her efforts. I can't help but believe that she will produce a highly commercial book that will change the way the world thinks about childcare options."--(Richard McKenzie, Executive Producer of "Homecoming: The Forgotten World of America's Orphanages" and Author of Rethinking Orphanages for the 21st Century)
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Martha Randolph Carr makes a strong case that the Victorian image painted by Dickens of orphanages is untrue in modern day America. Instead the author believes that residential education facilities (REFs) are safe nurturing places to raise orphans and troubled youth that are as good and in many ways superior to foster care as many provide needed counseling. The founder of the Shared Abundance Foundation that provides scholarships to orphans, Ms. Carr uses anecdotal evidence including that of her son to argue that REFs should be considered a prime option for at risk children especially since they are cheaper and provide professional help. Interestingly the anecdotes lead to an inspiring somewhat autobiographical account as the story of Ms. Carr and her son will touch readers more so than her support of REFs. Still A PLACE TO CALL HOME will add to the debate of what is nest for an orphaned or troubled child as Ms. Carr brings REFs into the social conscience of choice --- Harriet Klausner