About Us

A Place for Me

At the Open Arms Home for Children, we believe that healing and learning take place when a child's deepest needs are met, both physically and mentally. We are dedicated to helping children who have been abused and neglected by recognizing their emotional, behavioral and familial problems and providing quality short-term residential care that includes access to life enrichment and character building programs.

Interim Director
Phillip Kolodziej
Human Service Provider
Abigail Rice
Executive Board
Peter Knutzen - President
Peter N. Knutzen

Peter brings an executive level sales and marketing career to the Open Arms Board. Peter's sales and marketing experience comes from 23 years working for American Home Food Products (now ConAgra), the Lipton Tea Company, and Golden Books Family Entertainment (now Random House). Peter is also a successful entrepreneur and real estate land developer.

Since moving to Blue Ridge full-time in 2003, Peter has involved himself in many child-focused programs and associations. As a past Board Member with the Blue Ridge Mountain Arts Association, Peter helped launch a complete menu of children's art programs. Peter is also a founding member of Project Healing Waters, Blue Ridge, a national organization dedicated to the physical and emotional rehabilitation of disabled active military service personnel and disabled veterans through fly fishing and associated activities including education and outings. Peter is also a past Executive Committee Member for the Georgia Children's Health Alliance; a non-profit alliance headed up by Children's Healthcare of Atlanta focused on statewide childhood obesity and child maltreatment issues.

Peter is a 2009 graduate of the Georgia Academy for Economic Development - Leadership Program, a 2007 and 2008 graduate of the University of Georgia Fanning Institute Leadership Program, and is currently Director of Business Development for Contata Solutions, an advanced technology solutions company that enables stakeholders to collaborate on the achievement of greater business goals.

Peter and his wife Kim (Broker, Harry Norman, REALTORS®, Blue Ridge) have two grown sons and a 16 year old puppy - Sammy!

Nikki Mull - Secretary
Rita Kirby - Treasurer
Board Members
Cyndi Hunt
Elizabeth Lynch
Jack Meunier
Enrichment Partners
Jessica Collins - Zumba
Dana Tipton - Zumba
Kathy Steele - Cooking
Kim Haight - Dance
Elizabeth Lynch - Humane Society