A special alumnus of the Presbyterian Home for Children returned Home on Wednesday.
Marcus Flowers, who lived at the Home from 1988 to 1993, toured the Home’s private school, Ascension Leadership Academy, and caught up with social workers from his time at the Home 30 years ago during a special visit to Talladega on Wednesday.
Flowers stopped in between campaign stops as he runs for election in November to represent Georgia’s District 14 in the US Congress.
Flowers is a veteran of the US Army and Department of Defense specializing in Intelligence Electronics Warfare. He served in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars and was stationed all over the world for many years.
While touring Ascension Leadership Academy, Flowers told students about his travels to more than 40 countries on four continents. Flowers graduated from Talladega High School in 1993 and then attended Auburn University before joining the Army.
Flowers shared with a teen in our Moderate Care program how instrumental the Home was to his upbringing. He says he could have left the Home earlier to live in a variety of other situations over the years, but he chose to stay in the basic care program and then the independent living program that was offered at the Home at the time because it gave him the structure and security he needed when his family was going through a tough time.
In the Independent Living Program, Flowers lived at Johnson Cottage and staff taught him how to cook and clean. They also gave lessons on budgeting and even made him save 20 percent of his earnings at his part-time jobs as a teen.
At the Home, Flowers said he learned to serve the community through volunteer projects the Home participated in and by following the loving guidance of the social workers who were like family to him. Two of those social workers, Felicia Storey and Sharon Moore, are still at the Home today serving as leaders of our programs.
During his visit, Flowers said he was impressed at how the Home has adjusted to the needs of today with new programs adjusted to work with today’s youth in need.
Flowers said what he learned at the Home helped him cope in life and gave him the tools to handle the challenges of a war zone and learning to trust fellow soldiers on the battlefield.
House parents at the Home taught Flowers how to pray, read scripture and invest in his spirituality.
Flowers fondly recalled going on big trips with the Home, including a road trip to the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam. Those experiences helped make the world outside of the Home feel reachable, he said, even for those not living in a traditional family setting.
And he learned work ethic through his chores with “Ma” in the kitchen. He was stationed on dish and cleanup duty after breakfast, which wasn’t easy but he found benefits when the usually strict taskmaster Ma would lovingly set extra food aside for him to enjoy when he finished.
Flowers has returned to the Home many times to see staff, saying “I’m always going to come back. I will never stop dropping by.”