History

lighthouse at sunset on the lake

In 1987, Ben and Luanne Russell started to build their dream at Lake Martin to provide a place that would serve a simple mission: to strengthen children and their families. 1990 marked the dedication of Children’s Harbor as a nonprofit organization and began the journey of its mission in serving children with serious illnesses and their families for many years to come. The Lake Martin Campus was created to provide camp at no cost for families who are navigating the turbulent sea of change that accompanies the diagnosis of a serious illness or disability. The picturesque lake front and multiple handicap accessible facilities create an inviting, peaceful sanctuary for the children and families facing life-altering and sometimes life-threatening illnesses.

In 2001, Children’s Harbor extended its services through the addition of its second location, the Birmingham Family Center at Children’s of Alabama Hospital. Many families experience a whirling sea of emotions and need guidance in the midst of the stormy waters brought by physical changes, emotional changes and financial burdens. The Family Center provides a refuge – a safe harbor – for those children and families through its counseling services, education services, family activities and respite.