We recently welcomed Gena Taylor of the Greenbriar Children’s Center to tell us about her work with children at the Center.  Gena is a graduate of South Carolina State and of Savannah State Universities.  She has worked for thirty years in the public sector, with most of that time in non-profit administration work.  She is a Rotarian, member of Savannah East Club, a Paul Harris Fellow and is active in the affairs of our Rotary District, 6920.
The Greenbriar Children’s Center started as an orphanage for black children, established by local philanthropists in 1949. By 1960 it was available for all children aged 12-17 who were homeless, runaways, or otherwise victims of family dysfunction and in need of emergency shelter. Today, its mission is to provide services which promote the healthy development of children and the strengthening of families. Its funding is derived from the United Way of the Coastal Empire, Chatham County, the City of Savannah, state and federal grants and private contributions. The Center offers seven programs:
Residential Care This service provides a long term supportive environment for youth aged 12-17 who cannot remain in their homes. Participants receive tutorial assistance, counseling, recreation and life skills training.
Emergency Shelter Serves children and infants through age 17 who are victims of abuse or abandonment. The shelter is open 24 hours a day 365 days a year and provides meals, health screening, clothing, shelter, transportation to school, tutorial assistance, recreation, counseling and follow up care.
Runaway/Homeless Provides a safe harbor for youth ages 11-17; they receive food, shelter, health screening and group, family, and individual counseling.
Independent Living These services provide services for homeless and youth who have aged out of foster care, ages 18-24. They include life-skills training, academic support, job training and employment support, parent education where needed, and access to community resources.
Family Preservation This program has the goal of preventing the breakdown of family structure and includes family counseling, parent aide, family support groups and parenting classes.
Early Childhood Education and Care This is a pre-kindergarten program and an after school and summer care for elementary school children.
Project Safe Place This program focuses on the prevention of child abuse and neglect by partnering with local businesses to provide safe havens for children in need. There are 130 Safe Place sites at convenience stores, fast food restaurants, grocery stores, fire stations, and more. When a child seeks help, a trained volunteer or staff member responds immediately offering an appropriate program from the above array.

Gena ended her presentation by thanking us for our attention and asking those of us who are interested to consider helping her organization by volunteering with the children and/or helping the Center’s fundraising activities.
Below is a photo of President Bill and Gena Taylor.