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Gifts that Keep Giving

Thornwell partners with St. Andrews Presbyterian Church to serve children and families in Tucker, GA.


Building Families is Thornwell’s ministry designed to equip, train, and empower children and families to strengthen their relationships and live their best lives together.

This was the hope that first compelled Tifanie Haun to engage Building Families Lead Specialist Sarah Spencer at a local church Fall festival. “When we learned Thornwell teaches family skills, I knew this was exactly what we needed to overcome the parenting challenges we were facing with our 5-year-old (at the time), Olivia.”

Tifanie and her husband initially invested in the program to overcome the challenges with Olivia, and they assumed 2-year-old Gabriel would just be along for the ride. “It’s a beautiful story, really. Our entire family was part of the journey,” said Tifanie. A shared language, the ability to deescalate power struggles, and the importance of consistent rewards and consequences are just a few of the tools now in the Haun family tool kit.

Tifanie went on to share how much easier it was to navigate early childhood with Gabriel once she was equipped with essential parenting skills. With tears in her eyes, Tifanie said, “I love Building Families because it’s easier to help a child than to fix an adult. Building Families helped us help our children and helped me be a better parent.”

This later became even more valuable as Tifanie and her husband responded to the call to foster. “Our first placements were siblings, a boy and a girl, who came from a hard place,” said Tifanie.

“There was not a question in my mind when I realized the children needed some extra support to cope and heal—I knew Building Families could help us!”

This brought the Haun family into a second cycle of Building Families care, this time introducing trauma-informed therapy and training to help the foster children adjust and learn skills like how to appropriately express themselves and anger management techniques. Tifanie said, “Sarah met each child exactly where they were. It’s one step toward a ‘normal’ life for our fosters.”

Today, Sarah is a fond friend of the family who continues to be part of their support system as they navigate everyday parenting and foster care.

Thanks to you, families have a safe and nurturing place to learn together, express themselves, and build a foundation for a strong and stable environment that produces strong, stable children and adults – who continue to pay it forward! Thank you for generously supporting Thornwell!

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