The first children to walk into the new SAFFT house were impressed.
“Wow, this is amazing. Y’all are rich,” were their comments, said Ashley Anderson, executive director of SAFFT, or Supporting Adoption and Foster Families Together.
The center celebrated its new location with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday that drew a large crowd and special guests.
SAFFT opened in 2010, operating out of a 2,000-square-foot home on Veterans Memorial Boulevard owned by Forsyth County.
The new building on Castleberry Road, just outside the city square, is five times larger, at about 10,000 square feet.
The extra space allows the organization to expand its services, including the requirements for the recently received Safe Havens grant for a visitation and exchange program for domestic violence victims and their children.
SAFFT also offers group meetings, education and training for adoptive and foster families, as well as families in crisis.
Sandra Deal, Georgia’s first lady, applauded the community for its efforts to provide better lives for families and children and work to stop violence.
“The only way to solve it is through education and breaking the cycles,” Deal said.
Forsyth County’s Juvenile Court Judge Russell Jackson and Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Bagley emphasized how thankful they feel to have a safe place for children to visit with their families during times of crisis.
Jackson also praised the community collaboration that made the new center possible.
Businesses such as Pulte Homes helped with the remodeling of the building, and several others contributed donations that may have inspired the children’s comments.
The Forsyth County commission agreed to contribute for the monthly rent, which had already been offered at a lower rate by the property owner.
Chairman Pete Amos said the success of the program quickly led to the need for a larger space.
“Y’all have brought a great thing to our community, and we appreciate that,” Amos said.