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August 23, 2005   Email to Friend 

Jeff Helms
(334) 613-4212
August 23, 2005

Alfa President Jerry Newby, right, presents a check for $50,000 to Ben Russell, chairman of the board of directors for Children's Harbor, center, and Children's Harbor Executive Director Jim Ray.
CHILDREN'S HARBOR, Ala-- Alabama Farmers Federation and Alfa Insurance provided the lead gift for a new Lodge and Conference Center at Children's Harbor on Lake Martin during a groundbreaking ceremony Aug. 23.

The new $3 million facility will be built on 16 acres, donated by Ben and Luanne Russell and the Russell Lands Corporation. It will include lodging and dining space tailored to meet the needs of severely ill children and their families, especially those children who must stay with their caregivers. The facility also will include a teaching and learning center with breakout rooms for individual conferences and counseling. Plus, there will be 40 private rooms that can accommodate up to five persons per room, green spaces for relaxing, picnicking and recreating, and cart paths for complete access for wheelchairs and golf carts. The architectural firm of Giattina, Fisher, Aycock is responsible for the design of the Lodge and Conference Center.

This leadership gift from Alfa Insurance and the Alabama Farmers Federation will be presented in $50,000 installments over the next five years. Alfa President Jerry Newby presented Children's Harbor Executive Director Jim Ray with the first installment at the groundbreaking.

"Alfa Insurance and Alabama Farmers Federation are proud to be able to support the outstanding work being done at Children's Harbor," said Newby. "For 15 years, Children's Harbor has been strengthening children and families by providing a place where children can learn, develop and have fun. Alfa was founded with the mission of improving the quality of life for Alabamians, and we are excited about being part of this new family-oriented lodge and conference center."

The new facility will provide Children's Harbor with the space and flexibility to better serve families of seriously ill children and provide state-of-the-art facilities for activities like camps, weekend respites and educational meetings and conferences dealing with caring for these ill children. The Lodge and Conference Center will allow Children's Harbor to expand its services to their partner organizations and to serve other illness related groups.

Each year Children's Harbor partners with organizations like Children's Hospital, Camp Smile-a-Mile (children with cancer and their families), Magic Moments (a camp for children with life threatening and life altering illnesses and their families), Camp Bridges (children who are on dialysis or who have received a solid organ transplant and their families) as well as hosting children from Children's Hospital who have been severely burned and their families. In addition to these long-term relationships, in 2004 Children's Harbor hosted retreats for children with heart disease and children who are ventilator dependent.

Children's Harbor contributes the use of its facilities to any group who serves children and adults with serious or life threatening illnesses and their families. Other groups may use the facilities on a space-available basis and for a reasonable fee.

Fundraising continues for this project; those interested in aiding in the effort or finding out more about Children's Harbor should contact Jim Ray at 334-857-2133 or log onto www.childrensharbor.com.

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