Children’s Home is music to my ears

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 7, 2009

I was only 14 years old. Early on a November morning I gathered what little I had to leave for school. On the way out the door, my mother yelled, “Don’t bother coming back this afternoon. The door will be locked.”

The only thing I remember about the rest of that day was crying in the South Natchez High School counselor’s office, a flurry of phone calls and a ride to 806 North Union St. and the Natchez Children’s Home.

That was 27 years ago, and although I was scared, angry and disoriented, that day was a turning point in my life.

Email newsletter signup

The staff at Natchez Children’s Home took me in, calmed me down, provided me with everything I had done without for so long — warm clothes, plenty of food, school supplies, personal items, a room and most of all safety. I knew I would never be abused or locked out again.

I graduated from high school and with the home’s encouragement and support, enrolled at Mississippi State University where I majored in physical education.

After graduation in 1991, I married MSU graduate Ronnie Harper. We have three terrific children and both of us are employed by the Ascension Parish School System.  When holidays roll around, it isn’t unusual to find us back in Natchez at with Children’s Home family.

The home still operates as a privately funded Christian home for abused, abandoned and neglected youngsters of all ages and races. When times are tough and funds are tight, the need for their services increases.

You can help!

On Friday night, go downtown to Bowie’s at 100 Main St. and enjoy “Music to Our Ears” benefiting my home.  Beginning at 7 p.m. and lasting through the evening, there will be music by Maggie Brown, Johnny Johnson, Stan and Lena and Sugarfoot.

Between bands and raffle items (dinners in local restaurants, gift baskets, books and more) local personalities will be on hand to help raise extra dollars.

The schedule is:

7 to 8 p.m. — Forest Persons and Sheri Rabb

8 to 9 p.m. — Greg Iles and Chuck Mayfield

9 to 10 p.m.  Ritchie Montgomery and Lawrence Smith

10 to 11 p.m.  Desiree and Mike Smith and Jack Byrne

The Natchez Children’s Home is music to my ears. It rescued and protected me, taught me about God’s love and family, and changed my life forever.

And your support is music to the ears of the children who currently call 806 North Union St. home.

Penny Harper is a former resident of the Natchez Children’s Home who now lives with her family in Louisiana.