For Sunrise Children's Services, helping to create new beginnings for children and families has always been a part of our ministry. While some things have changed, there are some things that have remained the same.
One hundred fifty years ago, Mrs. Mauzey, Mrs. Creighton and Mrs. Biggert were living in Louisville four years after the Civil War had ended when they discovered a critical need. In the aftermath of this war emerged children void of parents to love them and homes to live in.
On June 30, 1869, these three women of the Ladies Aid Society of Walnut Street Baptist Church stepped out in faith. On that day, they began the Louisville Baptist Orphan's Home with three orphans in a rented house on Walnut Street. Less than a week later, Miss Mary A. Hollingsworth stepped in to serve as matron of the home. Together, these four women began a journey that has continued for 150 years.
Now known as Sunrise Children's Services, we are continuing the legacy which was begun by these ladies. Yes, we are still caring for the needs of children and families. But today, our emphasis is on what we call "orphans of the living," those children who have become casualties of a different kind of war, where neglect, abandonment, and the effects of drug and alcohol abuse are the weapons. Currently, nearly 10,000 children have been removed from their homes by the state of Kentucky to keep them safe and protected.
Even though many circumstances have changed since its founding, Sunrise continues to help create new beginnings for Kentucky's children and families across our Commonwealth. More than 1,200 individuals are being loved and protected by dedicated and faithful Sunrise team members. And that love is clearly making a difference:
• "From day one, it felt like she was meant to be ours. She just fit right in. I knew that God had a purpose for our little family."
Amy, Sunrise Foster-to-Adopt Parent, speaking about her recently adopted daughter
• "This place has really helped me out a lot. Where I was before I came here—it was scary."
Tori*, resident of Sunrise's Glen Dale Center
• "If it weren't for Sunrise, I'd probably be in the streets, with nobody, no support . . . ."
Viviana, participant in Sunrise Independent Living
• "They've given us the tools that we need to function in crisis."
Danielle, participant in Sunrise Family Services
Four ladies started this ministry 150 years ago with a vision for orphan care. Now 350 Sunrise team members continue to pour their hearts into the lives of our Sunrise kids and families. We owe it all to the One who "makes all things new." (Revelation 21:5)
*Name has been changed to protect the identity of the individual.
David Lyninger is the associate director of Communications at Sunrise Children's Services.