SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - There is hidden beauty at Greenbriar in a remarkable, 200-year-old oak tree in the back of its 15-acre campus. But the real beauty of the Children’s Center was plain to see Saturday in a celebration of 70 years of offering care, comfort and safety to children in Chatham County.
"Prior to Greenbriar,’’ Executive Director Gena Taylor said, “there was no place for African-American orphans to live and they actually had to go live on penal farms.’’
But over seven decades, Greenbriar has been a respite, a safe place for children who need one, offering an ever-growing range of services.
"We currently serve children who have been removed from their home because of abuse, neglect, runaway and homeless children,’’ Taylor said. “We do that in two programs, one is our emergency shelter which serves children ages 12 through 17.’’
Greenbriar also operates an independent living program for those 18-21 years of age transitioning out of foster care and two early learning centers in the community.
The organization also offers in-home services to the families it is their hope to re-unite.
"That is the ultimate goal and in most cases, that can happen,’’ Taylor said. “That’s why it’s necessary for us to go into the homes and provide families with the tools they need so they can provide a safe and nurturing home for their children.’’
And even as they looked back on the success of 70 years, the WTOC Community Champions at Greenbriar look forward to a more full future.
"We want this to be an organization that provides an oasis of services and it becomes like a one stop shop for families so that they don’t have to go from one entity to the other,’’ Taylor said. “And Greenbriar doesn’t necessarily have to be the provider, but we will bring providers in and partners in to provide those services to families.’’