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Dothan Mayor Saliba honored by Embrace Alabama Kids

Mayor Saliba was honored for his dedication to supporting Dothan’s vulnerable children, youth...
Mayor Saliba was honored for his dedication to supporting Dothan’s vulnerable children, youth and families during National Foster Care Month.(Source: Embrace Alabama Kids)
Updated: May. 20, 2021 at 1:28 PM CDT
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DOTHAN, Ala. (Press Release) – Embrace Alabama Kids joined Mayor Mark Saliba, First United Methodist Church of Dothan and more than 40 local supporters, staff and board members for a community celebration highlighting the ministry’s impact to protect local children yesterday at Dothan Country Club. A Ministry of the United Methodist Children’s Home, the 131-year old nonprofit organization honored Mayor Saliba as an “Embrace Alabama Kids Advocate” for his dedication to supporting Dothan’s vulnerable children, youth and families during National Foster Care Month.

“Embrace Alabama Kids is one of many faith-based ministries doing meaningful work to positively impact our community, and I am honored to help advocate for Alabama’s vulnerable children over the past several years,” said Dothan Mayor Saliba. “Whether it’s educating yourself about issues impacting our children or supporting local organizations that care for them, each of us can play an important role in creating real, meaningful change for our kids who need it most.”

During the celebration, Embrace Alabama Kids unveiled a traveling mural that was painted by communities across the state during Embrace Alabama Kids Week last month. The first of its kind in Alabama, the project was a statewide collaboration with over 100 volunteers – local artists, community leaders, elected officials and supporters – who created this mural to help shine a light on critical issues affecting Alabama’s children. The mural project took place in conjunction with the ministry’s new chapter of providing homes, healing and hope as Embrace Alabama Kids.

“We believe Embrace Alabama Kids better reflects who we are and what we do,” said President and CEO Blake Horne. “What started as one single orphanage in Selma in 1890 has since evolved into a vast network of many programs across the state – including several here in Dothan and throughout the Wiregrass. We are grateful to Mayor Saliba and the local community who have supported us for the last 131 years.”

While Embrace Alabama Kids’ footprint spans across the state, much of their impact can be seen in the Wiregrass. In Headland, Embrace Alabama Kids runs a group home and transitional living apartment where teen boys, who have faced difficult childhoods, receive care and support when they aren’t able to live with their biological families. Additionally, Embrace Alabama Kids operates a therapeutic foster care program that recruits, licenses and supports many foster families in Dothan. Last year, Embrace Alabama Kids and its connected ministries impacted more than 1,500 babies, children, teens, young adults and parents.

During National Foster Care Month in May, Embrace Alabama Kids and Mayor Saliba encourage the Dothan community to recognize Alabama’s children in foster care who have suffered neglect, abuse or abandonment. Since 2012, the amount of Alabama’s foster children has increased by 14 percent to over 6,000 children in foster care today.

“Alabama’s children experience hardships no child should have to face,” added Horne. “We can’t change the wrongs our children have experienced in the past, but through our ministry, we can help change the trajectory of their future by providing homes, healing and hope.”

After its first stop in Dothan, the Embrace Alabama Kids mural will continue traveling across the state throughout the summer to connect with communities and build further awareness of their mission. To learn more about Embrace Alabama Kids, please visit www.embracealkids.org.