Alternative way of dressing up your photographs

You see people with the photographs hanging by a clothes pin on a string all the time. However, I like to spice mine up a little bit by adding scrapbook paper. Taping scrapbook paper to the back of your photographs helps them look a little more decorated and more appealing to the eye when hanging on the string at the top of your room.

Supplies you will need for this craft:
-Your photographs
-Scrapbook paper


Tear out your scrapbook paper from your book (if you just have single sheets of scrapbook paper ignore this step).


Trim down your scrapbook paper to be the size you want for the photograph.

Trim down your photograph. Do this if you want your photograph to look more square or you just want to cut away some excess space in the picture. The photograph should be small enough that it still shows some of the paper that it’s on top of.

Flip over your photograph and put tape on all four corners. You can use glue or other sticky items, but I think tape is the less messy option.

Flip the photograph over and press it down on to the scrapbook paper.

And presto! You instantly have a more decorated photograph and it took hardly any time at all!

After you do this to all your photographs, you can pin them on a string and they will look really nice!

By Jenna Adams
Photographs by Jenna Adams & Cole Adams

The dreams of the homecoming queen

Rachel Gregory Princess

Homecoming Queen Rachel Gregory with young girl.

After four years at Samford University, Rachel Gregory will graduate with more than just memories – she’ll graduate with a crown.

Crowned homecoming queen for the 2013 to 2014 school year, Gregory was excited and honored, adding the event to her list of favorite Samford memories.

Other moments that made the list include playing on several intramural teams, participating in Step Sing, joining Alpha Delta Pi and leading a small group.

“I lead an incredible group of freshman girls who encourage me and challenge me daily in my walk with Christ,” Gregory said.

Extremely involved on campus, Gregory has not only led a small group but has been the chaplain for her sorority, served as a Rho Gamma and a Connections Leader and was involved with the Student Government Association.  As a freshman, Gregory competed in the SoCon Track and Field Indoor Championship and jumped her personal best in the pole vault.

Although she has accomplished many things in her time at Samford, Gregory has several dreams for the future.

“I dream of being used in supernatural ways to bring the gospel of Jesus Christ to this earth,” Gregory said. “Most of my dreams kind of scare me, but maybe that’s because I cannot attain them on my own. I have to trust that God will provide me with opportunities and that He will equip me emotionally, spiritually, and physically to accomplish the dreams He has placed in my heart.”

She has more serious dreams like living overseas or going to seminary for a degree in Christian Education, but she also has dreams of entering a swing dancing competition and working as Belle at Disney World.

As an elementary education major, one of her biggest dreams is to teach in an international school. After graduation she will be certified to teach children in grades PreK – 6 and special education. She hopes to use her teaching degree as a means of ministry and aspires to be like Mrs. Robbins, her fourth grade teacher.

“She loved me so well and inspired me to want to be a teacher just like her. Since fourth grade, I have always had my heart set on being a teacher just like Mrs. Robbins,” Gregory said.

Already making an impact not only on Samford’s campus but in the lives of children, one of Gregory’s most recent favorite Samford memories happened during Homecoming weekend.

“After being crowned Homecoming Queen,” Gregory said, “a little girl asked, ‘Are you a real princess?’ I told her yes and asked if she was a princess, too.” When the little girl responded “Yes,” Gregory asked if she would like to try on the crown. “I gingerly placed it on her head,” she said. “She then ran over to her dad shouting, “Daddy! Daddy! I just met Miss Alabama!”

With a long list of Samford memories and accomplishments, Gregory has enjoyed her years at Samford. She said that her achievements have been by the grace of God and trusts Him to lead her toward her dreams. The recent addition of a crown is just a bonus among many wonderful college memories.

By Kaitlyn Bouchillon

Crestline Village: The Mayberry of Birmingham

Tucked between the peaceful streets of Crestline Heights and the sprawling greens of the Birmingham Country Club is a home away from home — a village of shops, restaurants and city buildings. Crestline Village is its own little town just miles away from the big city.

Nestled in the heart of Mountain Brook the community of Crestline Village is a present-day Mayberry. Crestline offers both residents and visitors a retreat from the busyness of city life and reminds the Birmingham area that neighborly values mean much more than just a friendly face or welcoming smile. The sense of community runs deep through the shop owners, restaurant managers and city workers.

When talking about Crestline Village, the Mountain Brook Chamber of Commerce says it best: “Welcome to Crestline Village. Welcome to family.”

Every family is unique and Crestline is no different. The old brick buildings bleed history, begging visitors to slow down and enjoy the moment. From the one-of-a-kind boutiques to the modern library and the mom-and-pop pharmacy, the village offers something for everyone.

The warm atmosphere that immediately sets visitors and tourists at ease also provides a respite for locals. It’s common to see local families having a picnic in the grassy area beside the Emmet O’Neal Library, playing a game with the kid-size chess set next to City Hall or enjoying a warm cup of coffee while sitting in Church Street Coffee & Books.

One reason that both locals and visitors feel right at home is because of the camaraderie between Crestline shop and restaurant owners. Instead of trying to beat out one another, the owners speak highly of each other and even plan events together.

Natalie Babington is the manager of Snap Kids, a children’s clothing store that features comfortable and stylish clothing for all ages, from newborn to kid’s sizes to tween. “All of the shop owners and managers get along great. We always are helping each other out. We plan sales together and things like that because we want to make sure we can maximize who we reach with our sales,” Babington said.

Instead of acting as a competitor, Snap Kids often works with their neighbor Snoozy’s Kids, which has everything from toys and baby blankets to jewelry for mom.

The owner of Snoozy’s Kids, George Jones, has owned the store since 1988 and has seen kids as customers come back in years later with their own children.

“I’ve been able to retain my customers as they go through the teen years and graduation gifts. There are grandmothers who came here to buy things for their children and now they’re buying for their grandchildren,” Jones said.

One of Crestline’s unique qualities is that many of the shop owners live close by are neighbors. Jones lives in Crestline and explains that while he has a fenced-in yard, there is a gate on each side of his yard leading to his neighbors’ yards. The sense of community that permeates Crestline Village is direct evidence of the community that surrounds the village.

“We’re made up of small stores, small boutiques and small business people. A lot of us live around here, so you live in your community,” Jones said. “You work in your community, and that can’t help but make even more of a sense of community. When someone comes in and you show them a gift and you know their child, you know who they’re buying for. It’s kind of Mayberry-ish.”

It’s easy to see the plus side of living in such tight-knit community, and it’s understandable that locals don’t feel a need to move anywhere else. “We have everything from a library and city hall to the police station and a grocery store. Children’s clothes, ladies’ clothes, if you’re planning a wedding or need a photograph, drugs, or a bakery, it’s all right here,” Jones said.

Newcomers to Crestline also agree: there’s no place quite like Crestline Village, where everyone knows your name.

Alex Stone grew up in Crestline, but her store, The Pantry, was located in Cahaba Heights until recently. Now that she’s moved “home,” Stone sees a steady stream of regular customers every day. “We love it here; it’s real homely,” Stone said. “Everybody knows everybody.”

The Pantry — a health-conscious, farmstead lifestyle store in Crestline Village — places an extreme importance on the quality of food. The store is also event driven, hosting wine and cheese events and gumbo and beer night every Friday.

While Stone runs The Pantry, her mother, Deborah Stone, runs the farm that provides the restaurant with its fresh products. Deborah Stone grew up on a farm before opening one of the first day spas in America, and she couldn’t be happier to finally be back on the farm. In a way, opening The Pantry has brought both mother and daughter back home.

Because The Pantry has its own farm, many of the items sold in the restaurant are homemade. They offer everything from jams and jellies to 12 different flavors of cheese made from one of their 150 goats. The Pantry restaurant truly begins at the farm.

There’s a grab-and-go section full of soups, casseroles and tomato pies that are perfect for busy parents to pick up and pop in the oven when they get home from work. There are several juices and even cow’s milk straight from the farm — courtesy of Poppy the cow.

Looking to appeal to all generations, The Pantry also has Steel City Pops available and many different health juices. In fact, The Pantry provides the milk for both the caramel and the tomatillo pop. Between the food, pops and juicing, they’ve figured out how to gain a wide customer base.

“The juicing brings in the teenage crowd and the health-conscious moms but then the food brings in a lot of elderly people, “Stone said.

As the restaurant owners get to know their customers, they’re able to personalize the Crestline Village experience. There’s one customer that comes to The Pantry and orders a juice customized just for her. “We make a Julie Juice, and Julie comes in here every day and grabs the same juice, so we have it for her at 12 o’clock,” Stone said.

The Julie Juice, made from two celery sticks, a handful of romaine, a quarter of a lemon, an apple and a handful of spinach, has become popular as more of Julie’s friends find out about it. Stone loves it because she’s gotten to know Julie’s inner circle, figured out what they like and can now invest in them not only as customers but as people too.

Caring about people is what it’s all about for The Pantry. There’s great value in eating farm-to-table, and The Pantry is the face of the farm — a way to bring the farm to everyone in Crestline.

Right past the old drugstore and across the street from the mighty Crestline Clock Tower is another shop that cares greatly about its customers and the Crestline community.

Church Street Coffee & Books moved into an abandoned Starbucks a little more than two years ago. Since then, the store has been selling coffee, pastries and books to customers who have quickly become regulars. The specialty coffees and drinks are delicious, but it’s the cookies that keep customers coming back for more. The best seller is the break-up cookie, which is a chocolate chip cookie with sea salt baked on top.

There’s a loft upstairs perfect for students who need to study and a patio outside with a view of the clock tower as well as ample seating inside. It’s hard to find a time of day when regular customers aren’t visiting with the staff because at Church Street, there’s no such thing as “just a customer.” Everyone is treated like family.

One of the co-owners of Church Street Coffee & Books, Cal Morris, doesn’t have any big dreams for future expansion. Instead, his dream is to be a welcoming place for the community.

“Honestly, I think we are living our dream. Our dream is here,” Morris said.

And that dream of community in Crestline Village seems to be shared by every shop owner. Who doesn’t want to shop, eat and spend their afternoons playing chess or having a picnic in a place that feels like home?

There are more than 50 shops and businesses that attract people to Crestline including ice cream parlors, photography studios, Mexican and Southern cooking restaurants, gas stations, clothing stores and so much more. Crestline Village offers it all!

The brick buildings, delicious food and welcoming stores will surely draw you into this quaint town, but the people of Crestline Village will always be what makes you want to stay.

It’s the vinyl countdown


Sixty years ago the vinyl record made a name for itself among recording artists and musical junkies. As time ticked on and technology improved, the vinyl record seemed to exit the musical world.

In 1982, Philips and Sony collaborated to sell the Compact Disc commercially. Nearly 20 years later, a record company called SubPop was the first to distribute music in MP3 format. Now that CD and MP3 industries are expanding rapidly, the vinyl record seems to be the lost gem of the music world. Record stores can still be found scattered throughout the globe, two of which are sitting in Birmingham’s historical Five Points. Here are five possible reasons why the vinyl record keeps spinning.

 5. The Parents

“I think what it is, is the parents are beginning to introduce their kids to records again,” said Shirley Bourgeois, one of the owners of Renaissance Records. Many people from today’s generation grew up in a time where vinyl was the most popular medium for music. Their parents still have record players and are playing them for their children to hear.

 4. It’s an art form and a collector’s item

The intricacy of a vinyl record when it is being played goes without comparison. “It’s a form of art that the CD doesn’t give you, the quality of recording is superior,” said Marian Rosato, the owner of Charlemagne Records Exchange. Plus, antiques are something that people enjoy collecting and the vinyl record conveniently falls under that category. Not everyone has records today, so being able to say you collect them is unique. _MG_7075 copy

 3. Different than modern technology

An irreplaceable quality and caliber of music released through the record is undoubtedly matchless with music players today. “It’s really cool to look at a record playing, even if there’s no music, if you just sat there and looked at a record and watched it spin— it’s pretty cool,” said Wilson Brantley, Samford student and vinyl collector.

 2. Nostalgia

Music has the power to bring memories flooding back to the listener’s mind. Vinyl also has this effect on younger people today. “It just feels nostalgic even though I wasn’t even alive,” Brantley said. In a way, vinyl is a powerful tool to help connect people across all generations.

 1. You can’t beat the sound

“It is a novelty item and people like to have the ‘original’ sounds of the artist,” said Mathes Ballard, a student at Samford University and vinyl collector. Shop-owner, Bourgeios, would agree. She said, “To be honest the reason why I think it’s coming back is the sound, they rediscovered the sound.” She walked over to the turntable in her store and grabbed the first record she saw, Crimson & Clover by Tommy James & The Shondells. The rich sounds of “Crystal Blue Persuasion” filled the shop. She smiled and said, “The analog is so much better. It’s just a different sound.” _MG_7049 copy

While CDs and MP3 players seem to be the only way people listen to music today, the vinyl record provides remnants of the musical past. In fact, when asking Bourgeios whether she though vinyl had made a comeback or not, she said, “It has never gone away.”

By Jenna Adams
Photographs by Jenna Adams

Look good this fall and winter with these fashion tips

Do you ever find yourself in the middle of summer staring at your scarves and boots shoved in the back of your closet, longing to be able to adorn them again? Well the wait is over! Here are hottest fashions that women and men can be found wearing this season.


   Two words: military and denim. That’s right, the military look is really in right now as well as denim (and I’m not just talking pants).

The military look can be fashioned by wearing a simple military style jacket. Also, if you don’t have a pair of combat boots, you might want to think about getting yourself a pair! These boots started strutting onto the scene last year and are still hot, hot, hot! Also, if it is still a bit warm outside during the fall, a new trend is wearing your combat boots with a pair of shorts.  _MG_6272 copy

Denim is also making a huge comeback.

Denim was really popular in the 90s, and the trend seemed to die down in the early 2000s. Of course people have continued to wear denim jeans, but now we are starting to see denim vests make it back onto the scene, as have denim tops.

Denim tops are most commonly seen in a button up, long sleeve shirt fashion. Chambray is also a common alternative for the “denim” look.

Besides the military and denim look, sweaters are still a must-have for your fall and winter closet. However, super size it!

Oversized cable-knit sweaters have been in for a couple years now and don’t seem to be exiting the fashion world any time soon. So if you’re a small, go for a medium! If you’re a medium, grab a large. If you want your sweaters to be even looser, you can even go up two sizes. Baggier sweaters even allow for you to be able to layer more underneath on days when the temperature really takes a plunge.

Scarves are always a fun way to accessorize your fall and winter outfits. Infinity scarves are the most popular right now, but in my opinion, triangle scarves are a really fun alternative as well.

_MG_6180 copy If you want to add some prints to your clothing to spice things up a bit, Aztec print is totally in right now. It looks really cool on cardigans and could be the perfect addition to a solid colored top to add some zest.

Finally, an outfit is no outfit without the perfect pair of bottoms to complete the look. Jeans are always a classic, skinny or bootleg jeans make for a neater look. However, if you want to add some color to the bottom half of an outfit wine and olive jeans are a fantastic option. This look often looks best if it’s paired with a more neutral top.

Ladies, if you find that you have some of these items listed hanging up in your closet then chances are you are a fall and winter fashionista!


   Guys, you can be fashionable too. In fact, girls like it when guys are dressed in style. Just as it was for the ladies, denim is a hot commodity for a guy’s closet as well.

Denim or chambray button-up shirts are a simple but useful addition to a wardrobe. Believe it or not, _MG_5878 copy denim or chambray shirts are commonly paired with, wait for it, jeans! As long as the denim is two different shades then you are more- than-likely looking good. Who would have thought that denim on denim would become popular again?

Plaid flannel or button-up shirts are a manly staple. It is almost impossible to find a guy who looks bad wearing plaid (but only in tops; bottoms are an absolute no-no).

Guys, tuck in those shirttails. Trust me, it’s what’s in right now, and it makes you look really nice.

Don’t fear the cardigan!

Yes, I know some of you guys are reading this and thinking, “there is no way I would ever be caught wearing a cardigan.” Well, the cardigan is actually making its way into the masculine world. Proper fitting cardigans could be the perfect addition to a fall or winter _MG_5963 copyoutfit.

Also, tighter pants equals better look.

I’m not saying skin-tight skinny jeans are the way to go (not sure if that looks flattering on anyone!), but baggy jeans make you look really sloppy and like you don’t really care much for your appearance. Tighter jeans with a cuff at the end give the appearance that you care, and trust me everyone will notice.

Brown shoes are almost always a great way to go! I’m not talking just any brown shoe though. Clarks are really popular right now; they give a rugged yet dapper look. Of course, brown Sperry’s are also a preppy alternative, but Clarks are going to be able to keep your feet warmer if it gets really chilly outside.

Dudes, if you keep it rugged but neat, you are nailing the whole fall and winter look!

By Jenna Adams

Photographs by Jenna Adams

Create the fall favorite drink in your own kitchen

The Pumpkin Spice Latte is the must-have drink that everyone lines up for at Starbucks at the start of October. Unfortunately, the drink isn’t on the menu all year, but it can be in your kitchen! Here is a quick, inexpensive and easy way to bring this fall-favorite drink into your home.

1/2 cup of coffee
1/8 of a tsp of vanilla extract
1/8 of a tsp of pumpkin pie spice
1 tbsp of sugar
1 cup of heated milk
whipped cream


First start by pouring a half cup of coffee into a mug.

Next, pour the vanilla extract into the coffee.

Then, dump the pumpkin pie spice into the coffee.

Next, pour the sugar into the coffee.


Stir all the ingredients in your coffee with a spoon


Now heat the milk. For best results, heat it over the stove in a saucepan, but a microwave works just fine, too.

Finally, pour the heated milk into the coffee and stir it all together.

To garnish the latte, dollop some whipped cream on the top of your coffee.

For even more of a customized touch, sprinkle some pumpkin pie spice over the top of the whipped cream.

Enjoy your pumpkin spice latte!

By Jenna Adams
Photographs by Jenna Adams

New LightRails underpass adds life to downtown

Downtown Birmingham now features an LED-lighted tunnel.The tunnel can be found at the 18th Street underpass on the east side of Railroad Park.

But this tunnel isn’t just a bunch of lights and a few hundred tons of concrete. It is actually a light sculpture called LightRails by artist Bill FitzGibbons. The computerized LED lights morph from one color to the next in a seemingly supernatural way- creating a life-like color show that will capture any observer.

Junior JMC major Taylor Vassey was amazed by the new addition. “I was very impressed with the design and thought put into the light tunnel,” she said.

The tunnel, finished this past June, is just another addition in Birmingham’s effort to revitalize the downtown Birmingham area. “It definitely adds more value to the city and it shows the leaders of the city are working to improve it,” Vassey said.

Sophomore JMC major Corry Mulligan said, “I had seen a lot of pictures of the tunnel, but I didn’t really know what to expect. I was blown away when I saw it for myself. I really like the fact that you can either walk or drive through the tunnel, and the way the colors change is really cool.”

While pictures and wonder-filled words from Samford students may build a respectable case, the best way to appreciate the tunnel is to go and experience it for yourself. Grab some friends, head downtown and go explore!

By Katy Flinn

Hannah Duncan: changing lives one bow at a time

_MG_4763 copy-2

This is Hannah Duncan- a freshman pre-pharmacy major from Lakeland, Florida. She is also a new member of the Phi Mu sorority. But beyond the basics, there is something special about Hannah that a lot of freshman girls can’t claim. Hannah is the founder of Bows for the Broken charity and the owner of a fashion line called A Simple Seam.

Hannah was inspired to start Bows for the Broken after attending Student Leadership University (SLU) 101 in Orlando, Florida, after her freshman year of high school. During the conference, she saw a video about Compassion International, the Christian-based child sponsorship organization. Soon after, Hannah began sponsoring a young girl from Peru.

“Six months later, from the letters I had gotten from her, I just wanted to help in some way more than just sponsoring her each month and to help Compassion in general.” Hannah said.

_MG_4775-2Her solution: Bows for the Broken, a non-profit organization aimed at raising funds for Compassion International. Hannah raises money through making lanyards, zipper pouches and, of course, bows.

One Christmas, Bows for the Broken was able to give $805 to the Compassion International Christmas fund. This money went towards two cows, five chickens, several goats and a pig for different families and communities connected with the Compassion organization around the world.

Hannah estimates that Bows for the Broken has been able to raise about $2,500 so far.

As far as the future goes with Bows for the Broken, Hannah said, “Samford’s Phi Mu chapter supports two kids with Compassion International, which is one thing that drew me to them. So I would like to maybe get other girls involved with Bows for the Broken in Phi Mu or anyone.”

Besides Bows for the Broken, Hannah also runs a handmade pocket tee-shirt business called A Simple Seam. _MG_4847-2

She started A Simple Seam at the end of her senior year of high school. Hannah had purchased a pocket tee and soon after came up with the idea to try and make them herself. “All my friends were already starting to wear pocket tees, and then I experimented with how to make the pocket and came up with what works best for me,” she said.

Through the love of sewing, she began making and selling pocket tees to friends. She also started a blog where she documents her faith, projects and all things sewing.

She has also recently started an Etsy store where she will soon be selling her pocket tees, coffee cozies and monograms.

Since coming to Samford, Hannah said A Simple Seam has been gaining more and more buzz. She kicked off the year with about a dozen orders and said she hopes many more will come.


If you are interested in purchasing a pocket tee from A Simple Seam, here are the prices: $15 for a pocket tee, $10 to monogram, and $5 fee for any extra applique. You can order through her Facebook page and find other information on her blog at Also, keep your eyes peeled for the opening of her Etsy shop coming soon.

By Jenna Adams
Photographs by Jenna Adams

Fun ways to exercise in Birmingham

With warm weather comes the urge to be outside as well as the dreaded fear of donning a bathing suit for the first time in several months. However, you have nothing to fear! The city of Birmingham has several great ways to get outdoors while simultaneously getting your Is the warm weather getting you fired up to get in shape?workout on. The best part? Most options for exercise in Birmingham are cheap or free!

Railroad Park

Railroad Park offers a wide variety of activities in the afternoons for people of all ages and sizes. On Monday afternoons, you can participate in Crunk Fitness (check out Exodus’ coverage of Crunk Fitness here). On Tuesdays, those looking for a more challenging workout can participate in Bootcamp. Wednesdays you can get your Zumba on and Thursdays offer yoga for those looking to relax while working out. Friday rounds out the fitness-filled week with Happy Feet Fridays, which teaches proper running and walking techniques for athletes of all skill and fitness levels. All of these classes are free and open to the public. For more information on class times and locations, visit

Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve

You can participate in a Mine Hike with history buff Gary Bostany at Ruffner Mountain Thursday, May 11. This hike entails visiting the mining landmarks located across Ruffner Mountain. The cost is only $7, but make sure to register for the event at

Ruffner Mountain will also be offering a Wonderful Wetlands Hike from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, May 19. This hike will give you the chance to observe the wetlands as well as the wildlife that inhabit them. For more information or to register, visit


Photos by Kaitlin Bitz

Thursday night worship at the Dreamcenter

Healing a Broken City

Serve Team shirt

The Village’s executive office is located on 24 Street South in downtown Birmingham. No, it’s not a new housing development, but rather an organization seeking to help develop life in downtown Birmingham. This office is not on the top floor of a high rise, it’s in an old mechanic’s garage and the top executive is wearing jeans. However, the work done at The Village by Andy Jenkins and his fellow laborers is perhaps the most important work being done in Birmingham today.

A New Type of Ministry

“There’s this big need of poverty when you look at downtown. All the building and all of the growth that they’re touting with the Railroad Park and you’ve got all these other needs. For all the hype that you see, there’s a lot of despair and need down here as well,” Jenkins said.“The idea of going on mission is that you live the gospel and as you live the gospel people are redeemed and the church emerges from that,” Jenkins said. “When you’re downtown and you have a church that’s all white and all middle class, then you didn’t do the gospel.”Jenkins saw needs in downtown Birmingham that were not being addressed by the church where he was serving or by the city government.

The despair Jenkins saw combined with the lack of the church’s reflection of downtown Birmingham’s culture created a desire to build a village for God.

“The Village basically was the result of a week that I spent really praying and fasting about what to actually do, not just theoretically, what to actually do,” Jenkins said.

Andy Jenkins and two of his children.

Loving and Serving

The passion emanating from Jenkins’ words as he describes what led to his founding of The Village three years ago hits a few nerves. With an estimated 2,400 homeless persons in the city, 1,000 teenagers aging out of the foster care system yearly and 2,000 prisoners rejoining society each year in Jefferson County alone, Jenkins’ passion is necessary.

“There’s a big vacuum down here of the hope of the gospel, and if the church is the hope of the world then there should be a strong force of the church downtown and there’s rumblings of it,” Jenkins said. “But it’s not hit what it could be.”

The Village helps cause those rumblings through their various programs.

The unique part about their approach to serving the lost and broken in Birmingham is The Village’s year-long holistic growth track that helps residents stay focused and goal oriented as they work toward becoming whole persons once more.

The growth track encompasses four core values: identity, relationships, directions and purpose.  Tasks involved within the growth track cover the necessities like obtaining basic forms of identification and building a budget to maintaining sobriety and attending weekly worship services.

Jonette Moore

Jonette Moore, a former resident, who now serves as coordinator of the women’s programs and all transportation services at The Village, attributes her growth and wholeness to the foundation of faith on which the program is built.

“I was kind of angry at first, because I really wanted to go home, but God just kind of spoke to me and told me to be still,” Moore said. “So I did that and just started listening in class, started listening at church and started growing and could feel him working again in my life.”

Moore said she saw herself grow during her eight months at The Village, and her family notices the change.

“I’ve learned over the years to not try to convince anyone that I’ve changed or that it’s different this time and I didn’t do that this time. I just let it be what it is. And my family can see the difference, and my mom is like ‘Are you my child?’ because things I normally would have blown up about, I don’t,” Moore said. “So she can see the difference and that’s how I know it’s working. And it’s still working.”

Moore’s successful completion of the growth track shows residents that healing and change are possible because of her visible example.

“It helps to have that in my history and be able to see both sides of it, and at the same time, it makes it a lot easier for them to open up to me,” Moore said.

Moore said that the foundation of faith on which the program is built influences each step of the growth track. And rather than “beating them over the head with the Bible,” it helps residents re-align their life.

“We pray that when they complete this that they are ready to face life on life’s terms.”

A Life Restoration Thing

The Village’s mission of loving and serving the city of Birmingham manifests itself in their work.

Downtown Birmingham needs an injection of love and service rather than grass, paint or new buildings. Jenkins sees a negative trend in the focus on the “stuff and things” that don’t give healing to the broken.

“We don’t really need a park and trees if everybody is broken and can’t go,” Jenkins said.

That is where The Village’s mission comes in. Downtown needs long-term investment to heal the broken people.

Thursday night worship at the Dreamcenter

A partner of The Village, The Dreamcenter in Woodlawn, is one of those longterm investments. Thursday evenings at the Dreamcenter are part of The Village’s growth track. Residents fellowship over hot-off-the-grill hot dogs and then take part in a worship service led by Church of the Highlands staff and Jenkins’ heartfelt sermon.

A New Kind of Mall

An idea was hatched in March 2010 that has the potential to change the face of not only The Village, but all faith-based non-profits in Birmingham. After touring the former Carraway Hospital complex, The Village staff began imagining an expansion that would put The Village and a multitude of other faith-based non-profits under the same roof.

“So what you’ve created is a model where anybody can walk in the front door and any need that anybody has, you can meet that in the name of Christ by some ministry that’s there,” Jenkins said.

In 11 floors, the vision for the Carraway Hospital creates a “ministry mall” for any hurting or broken person.

Each floor serves a specific function that continues what The Village does today, such as getting men and women off of the streets and into a stable living environment. Services would expand to housing a floor for a state-certified drug-rehabilitation facility as well as creating new programs for interns, short-term mission trips and providing space for 100 other Christ-centered, non-profit organizations.

“The idea was be a small city within a bigger city that loves, serves and blesses the bigger city, not in opposition to it, but for it,” Jenkins said. “It’s a life restoration thing, you want to find broken people and heal those people.”

The Carraway project now awaits approval from the Birmingham City Council, before the project can begin. Despite city politics, The Village continues its mission to love and serve downtown Birmingham.