From left: Susan O’Farrell, Chair, CHRIS 180 Board of Directors; Carmen Chubb, Chief of Staff, Office of the Mayor; Kathy Colbenson, LMFT, President & CEO, CHRIS 180; Michael Thurmond, DeKalb County CEO; Cyril Turner, Co-Chair, CHRIS 180 Turning Point Capital Campaign; Rev. Chianti Harris, Greater Piney Grove Baptist Church

CHRIS 180, an Atlanta-based nonprofit organization dedicated to healing children and families with holistic, trauma informed health services, recently hosted a grand opening for its Center of Excellence for Training, Education and Connections.
Founded in 1981, CHRIS 180 (an acronym for Creativity, Honesty, Respect, Integrity and Safety) has transformed more than 70,000 lives through its programs.
The 20,000 square foot center, located at 1030 Fayetteville Road SE, will serve as an updated, multi-purpose facility for CHRIS 180’s CHRIS Training Institute, Adoptions and Keeping Families Together programs, a ropes course for therapeutic activities as well as corporate team building, and administrative offices. As a result of the center, CHRIS 180 will expand counseling through the CHRIS Counseling Center and more than double its footprint from serving 6,500 people in 2016 to over 14,000 in 2020.
“We believe every person should be treated with dignity and respect and that each individual should have access to high quality trauma informed services, so being able to more than double our capacity and extend our services to those with need is a huge achievement and very exciting,” said the organization’s CEO Kathy Colbenson. “We are so very grateful to the philanthropic community for their investment in our mission.”
The EarthCraft Platinum certified Center of Excellence was completed thanks to the Turning Point Capital campaign, which raised over $15 million dollars to expand trauma training, professional development for the human service workforce, counseling, and other services in the metro area. The campaign enabled CHRIS 180 to not only complete the construction of the center, but to provide homes for high need youth – including siblings – in foster care; a duplex to focus on innovative family preservation services to strengthen families and to provide assessments for high need children in foster care; upgrades to CHRIS 180’s Summit Trail Apartments for young adults who are homeless or aging out of foster care; and an integrated health clinic in partnership with Mercy Care to provide physical and behavioral health services in the area, which is expected to open later this year.
“In the state of Georgia alone, there are 10,000 children in foster care who also have a sibling in foster care and only 30 percent of these siblings live together,” said Colbenson.
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Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.