History

  1. 2002 - The Honorable Judge Brenda S. Weaver encourages the Appalachian Children's Center (ACC) in Ellijay to become more aggressive in their efforts to educate local communities about the need for a children's shelter for abused and neglected children here in north Georgia.
  2. 2004 - Jan Hackett, Fannin County Chamber President, invites members of Community Social Services Organizations (CCO), including ACC, to present to the Leadership Fannin class of 2006.
  3. 2004 - Leadership Fannin attendees Dianne Mallernee and Stacy Lewis have a personal connection with the CSSO's presentation and makes a decision to do something about it.
  4. 2006 - Dianne and Stacy (along with others) launch Open Arms of Blue Ridge.
  5. 2006 through 2010 - Organizational development, awareness and fundraising campaigns are initiated. Funds are raised and volunteers are doing all they can to support the causeā€¦the community is becoming engaged.
  6. 2010 - Vacant land is donated and Open Arms sells the land and takes proceeds from the sale and purchases an existing home. This becomes the home of Open Arms of Blue Ridge.
  7. 2011 - Required renovations are made to the home and Open Arms receives its license from the Department of Family & Children's Services. $125,000 is now needed for the State contract.
  8. 2013 - $125,000 is raised and DFCS contracts with Open Arms of Blue Ridge. Doors open for girls age 12-18. Brenda Crawford, 30+ year veteran of DFCS, becomes interim Director.
  9. 2013 - Open Arms of Blue Ridge hires Lisa McGhee to be full-time Director.
  10. 2013 - Founding Members Dianne Mallernee and Stacy Lewis step down from the Executive Board and pass the torch to the current Board of Directors.
  11. 2014 - The Board of Directors, after receiving feedback from many local partners, past Board Members and potential new partners outside the Blue Ridge community, decide to create a dba for the organization - Open Arms of Blue Ridge dba The Open Arms Home for Children. This name clarifies what we do as an organization and no longer positions us as a Blue Ridge only organization. We are here to serve children throughout the state of Georgia with a focus on local children here in North Georgia.
  12. 2014 - 5 Zaxby's Restaurant locations, each under the same local ownership, each agree to partner with The Open Arms Home for Children 4 times a year for a fundraising event. This strategic partnership, the organizations first outside Fannin County, will increase awareness (and open our Arms) within the local communities of Jasper, Ellijay, Blairsville and Hiawassee.
  13. 2015 - This is the year we will launch the Joan Allen Endowment Program in memory of an incredible woman who, along with her husband Neal, has given so generously to our cause. The endowment will provide a financial vehicle to ensure the long term physical health of our Home for Children. This is a significant milestone for the organization and one that will ensure our children have a roof over their heads and a well maintained home for years to come. More news and a formal announcement about this wonderful endowment will be communicated in the coming weeks.
  14. 2015 - Open Arms of Blue Ridge hires Sharon Hanna to be full-time Director.
  15. July 2016 - Dianne Mallernee becomes President of the Board of Directors.
  16. July 2016 - Brenda Morgan becomes the Secretary of the Board of Directors.