Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

Photo By Nichole Golden
Children served by the Elaine Clark Center in Chamblee parade in to the garden rededication in April. The center serves children and young adults with special needs. The garden is named for the late Elizabeth Huffner, a Christ Child Society president.


Christ Child members expand garden at Elaine Clark Center

Published August 3, 2018

CHAMBLEE—Youngsters served by the Elaine Clark Center in Chamblee are making full use of the center’s newly rededicated garden area, redesigned and expanded by members of the Christ Child Society of Atlanta.

Bishop Bernard E. Shlesinger III blessed the garden April 27, named for the late Elizabeth Huffner, who was a president of Christ Child Society.

The newly expanded garden at the Elaine Clark Center in Chamblee, made possible by volunteers with the Christ Child Society of Atlanta, includes raised vegetable and flower beds. Photo Courtesy Christ Child Society

First dedicated in the fall of 2010, the garden now includes a sound garden including xylophones, a butterfly garden, mini crosswalk, strawberry patch, pizza herb garden and vegetable beds. New playground equipment is wheelchair accessible.

The nonprofit center provides comprehensive services for children and young adults with special needs ages 6 weeks to 22 years.

The center has roots in the Catholic community. During the mid 1960s, Sister Robert Therese of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, Atlanta, began tutoring children with developmental disabilities who were unable to attend traditional school. The center was incorporated in 1969, named in honor of one of Sister Therese’s profoundly deaf students.

Bishop Shlesinger reminded attendees that “we’re all God’s children.” His remarks were briefly interrupted by the arrival of young students singing, “Old MacDonald.”

“Lord, we thank you for this day,” continued the bishop with his blessing. “We are always being nurtured by you.”

Huffner’s husband, Don, thanked the society’s members for their efforts.

“She would absolutely love this. She was a teacher. She was dedicated to children.”

Huffner noted that the garden reflects the center’s purpose of planting and growing.

“They grow hope. They grow caring. They grow children,” he said.

For the second summer, Christ Child Society of Atlanta provided financial support for a summer enrichment program at St. Peter Claver Regional School in Decatur. In addition to funding the program and volunteering to support the teachers, CCSA provided snacks and gently used children’s books to enable participating students to read at home.

For more information on the work of Christ Child Society of Atlanta, visit online at