Piedmont Brings New, Unique Support Program to its Local Hospitals

Piedmont Mountainside
Public Release by: Piedmont Healthcare

Atlanta, Ga. (March 13, 2019) – Piedmont Healthcare now offers Rachel’s Gift, a non-profit program that provides support and guidance services to families who have suffered the loss of an infant, at 10 of its hospital locations.

Started in 2008, Rachel’s Gift partners with hospitals to assist families through the initial phase of infant loss. In coordination with the hospital’s labor and delivery, neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and emergency department staff, Rachel’s Gift trains on grief assistance and companioning patients through infant loss.

“Rachel’s Gift is a very special program, and we’re proud to be able to train our staff to offer the services that it provides,” said Carolene Gaster, Clinical Manager of Labor and Delivery at Piedmont Mountainside Hospital. “The program helps our local hospitals provide a healthy environment to begin the grieving process for families, while also providing lifetime keepsakes of their child. It’s a really special program.”

With Rachel’s Gift, hospital staff receives regular training written by licensed professional counselors as well as families who have experienced infant loss, educating them in the grief process. The program has training specific to NICU services, as well as services in the emergency department, helping families experiencing sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), an unexpected death that usually occurs during sleep, and families with early-term infant loss who visit the emergency room.

“It equips hospital staff with an outline to help families face the grief,” said Gaster. “Thanks to the program, these families also have access to a 24-hour hotline to call when they’re in need of assistance after they leave our care.”

Rachel’s Gift also gives families a keepsakes of their child, and families receive a package that includes items such as clay kits to collect hands and footprints of their child, a special album, a book to guide them in grieving, and information about businesses in their local community that provide free counseling and other support services that these families may need.

“It’s amazing to see our program being utilized throughout the Piedmont Healthcare system,” said Lori Beth Blaney, director of Rachel’s Gift. “Our nationally accredited training course equips staff with the tools and training to deliver compassionate patient care, while also providing a gift that gives these families special keepsakes for a lifetime reminder and a physical reminder of their child.”

Piedmont’s hospitals comprise 10 of the 27 hospitals in Georgia that offer Rachel’s Gift’s free services, and the program is available at Piedmont Atlanta, Piedmont Athens Regional, Piedmont Columbus Regional Midtown, Piedmont Fayette, Piedmont Henry, Piedmont Mountainside, Piedmont Newnan, Piedmont Newton, Piedmont Rockdale and Piedmont Walton hospitals.

For more information about maternity services at Piedmont Healthcare, visit piedmont.org.


Joy House Holds Annual Banquet – Raises $65,000+


On Tuesday, April 17, 2018, over 450 people from various communities gathered together to celebrate The Joy House at its annual banquet. Founded by Pickens County native Steve Lowe, The Joy House is a local non-profit that has provided Christ-centered restorative care for struggling teens, families, and individuals since 2001.

Joy House Board Member Chris Wallace and Executive Director Steve Lowe converse outside The Mill prior to the banquet.

The weather was perfect as guests made their way to SharpTop Cove—a Young Life Camp to enjoy hors d-oeuvres on the grounds prior to the program’s beginning inside The Mill at 6:30 p.m.  Entertained by beautiful piano music played by a talented Joy House resident, Christina, guests enjoyed a delicious spread served by Joy House residents and local high school volunteers.

After dinner, guests learned about the various aspects of the Joy House program. The program began with moving videos and testimonies highlighting the ministry’s comprehensive teen residential program and their community Christian counseling center, open to all ages. The Counseling Center serves approximately 200 individuals a year out of their offices in Jasper, Ellijay, and Woodstock. Via video, many glowing counseling center testimonies were offered. Following the video, Dr. Garry Barber, the Director of the Counseling Center, shared the singular mission of both the Counseling Center and the residential program: to ultimately be Christ-centered.

Banquet attendees Dillon & Allie Smith, Hollie Kiker & Paul Kiker Jr.

Next, the Joy House Academy was featured. The academy is the fully accredited, private Christian school on campus that the teen residential-program residents attend year-round. Robin Whitaker, the classroom teacher, shared with the guests what a typical day at school looks like.  While she loved teaching English at Cherokee High School for 30 years, she shared that she thoroughly enjoys working and teaching now in an environment that feels like a “bubble of love.” Joy House Academy Education Director Ron Rucker recognized the contribution of the stellar tutors toward creating this bubble.  Including a former employee of NASA and an IBM executive, these tutors volunteer their time to help students understand all levels of math, science, English, and social studies. Students at the academy not only learn the required subjects, but also have the opportunity to take exciting electives. On the centerpiece of each table at the banquet was a bird created on a 3-D printer by Academy students who were taught 3D Computer Aided Design by Pete Payne, a retired technology professor at Dekalb College Atlanta.

Guests enjoy hors d’oeuvres and fellowship outside the Mill prior to the banquet.

Partners with the Ministry, including well-known community leaders such as Don Boggus and Don Russell, came together to create a “Partner Video” to share why they have chosen to serve this ministry with their support. Joy House Board Chairman Kip Wilbanks stated, “I’m all about purpose, and I think people like to make a difference and with the Joy House you can make an eternal difference in people’s lives.”

Dr. Garry Barber, Director of The Joy House Counseling Center, shares updates about the ministry with banquet guests.

The highlight of the evening was the testimony of one of the families currently enrolled in the Teen Residential Program. Simply, they said, the Joy House has changed their lives. “Because of this Academy, and because of the care and help from the tutors who spend countless hours of one-on-one time with these kids, [our daughter] is planning on going to college to study nursing.” The resident herself stated that her counselor at The Joy House “has had a huge impact on [her] life just in the last year. [She has] learned countless skills from him that [she] will apply to the rest of [her] life.” In conclusion, they stated, “So today, after working with the Joy House for 15 months, our family dynamics look a bit different. We have deeper conversations at home, we pray together, we are focused as a family on God’s plan for us. We were able to be constructive and uplifting to each other. We’ve learned to forgive better.” The guests celebrated this restoration with a standing ovation.

The Streib family shares a testimony for the ministry with banquet guests.

The Joy House is so thankful for the $65,000 raised at this banquet to support their operational funds and to contribute to building a third residential home on their property. If you would like to be a part of this ministry, you may donate online at http://thejoyhouse.org/make-a-donation/ or by sending a check via mail to P.O Box 247, Jasper, GA 30143.  For more highlights from the banquet, visit their Facebook page @joyhouseinc. For more information about The Joy House, please visit their website at thejoyhouse.org; e-mail info@thejoyhouse.org; OR call 706.253.7569.


Jail ‘n Bail event rakes in donations for helping combat childhood illiteracy

Featured Stories, Non Profit

The Pickens County Ferst Foundation for Childhood Literacy held their annual “Jail ‘n Bail” event at the old jail on Main Street in Jasper yesterday. While the event is the only major fund-raiser held for the charity during the year, it is an occasion for some good tongue-in-cheek fun. (more…)

April Designated as Child Abuse Awareness Month

Community, Non Profit

Prevent Child Abuse Pickens (PCAP) along with County Commissioner Rob Jones made proclamation today that April has been declared as Child Abuse Awareness Month, calling upon all citizens, community agencies, religious organizations, medical facilities and businesses to increase their participation in the effort to prevent child abuse. (more…)

Public Hearing Held for Good Samaritan Grant

Announcements, Non Profit

A public hearing is part of the grant process of getting a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and that part was taken care of Wednesday at the county administration building. Pickens County residents were invited to participate and give their input regarding how a potential $500,000 grant may be used to help the lower income bracket of the population. (more…)

March 15 set aside as “Pickens Goes Green” Day, first annual St. Patrick’s Celebration

Featured Stories, Non Profit

In a proclamation issued Friday morning by County Commissioner Rob Jones, Jasper Police Chief Greg Lovell and Pickens S.O. Chief Deputy Jeff Hall, Saturday, March 15 has been declared “Pickens Goes Green for SAA (Sharptop Arts Association), Youth Art, and the Animal Shelter of Pickens County.” The event will highlight youth art and support for the animal shelter. (more…)

March 15 set aside as “Pickens Goes Green” Day, first annual St. Patrick’s Celebration

Featured Stories, Non Profit

In a proclamation issued Friday morning by County Commissioner Rob Jones, Jasper Police Chief Greg Lovell and Pickens S.O. Chief Deputy Jeff Hall, Saturday, March 15 has been declared “Pickens Goes Green for SAA (Sharptop Arts Association), Youth Art, and the Animal Shelter of Pickens County.” The event will highlight youth art and support for the animal shelter. (more…)

Your Help Needed: He served us, lets serve him!

Featured Stories, Non Profit

Dan and Ginger Adamson weren’t prepared to lose their companion and friend KD of nine years but after a diagnosis of an inoperable cancerous tumor on her heart, they had to say good-bye to the Jack Russell terrier who’d loved them unconditionally while also having the ability to monitor Dan’s health. (more…)

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