TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Youth at The University of Alabama’s Brewer-Porch Children’s Center will have an extra special Christmas this year thanks to a generous gift by UA Head Football Coach Nick Saban and his wife Terry Saban.
Through the Nick’s Kids Fund, the Sabans donated $5,000 to the Brewer-Porch Children’s Center, which operates six mental health service programs in Tuscaloosa for children and adolescents with severe emotional and behavioral disorders. The center, which is located near the Tuscaloosa Veteran Affairs Medical Center, is part of The College of Arts and Sciences at UA.
Terry Saban learned of the Brewer-Porch Children’s Center through friends and recently visited the center. There she talked with the children about leadership, overcoming adversity and personal responsibility prior to presenting the donation.
“I saw these precious children who are overcoming some really adverse situations in their lives. I hope Nick’s Kids can help improve their happiness,” Saban said. “I’d like this to be the first of other donations Nick’s Kids makes to the Brewer-Porch Center throughout the years. I developed a relationship there that is not soon going to be forgotten.”
The Sabans designated the philanthropic gift for games for the children, which are important in helping the development of social and cognitive skills, according to Jimmy Thompson, director of Brewer-Porch Children’s Center.
“The games are very therapeutic for the children, and it helps them learn about following rules, discipline, sportsmanship and team work,” Thompson said. “The games also will teach the children about positive reinforcement because the games will be used as rewards for the children’s good behavior.”
The games will be used in recreation areas of the new residential cottages, which are part of a recently completed $10 million expansion and renovation of the center facilities. The project added three new buildings on six acres of the former UA golf course and includes more therapy rooms and classrooms. The new buildings are state-of-the-art and will allow the staff to serve an increasing number of people with special needs who are referred to the center.
“I think the Sabans have a very strong commitment to the development of young people,” Thompson said. “From the football program to children in the community, they have a commitment to teaching and developing young people. It shows in the way they spend their energy, their money and their time.”
With the donation, the Sabans join a group of nine other individuals, known as The Friends of Brewer Porch, who have donated more than $100,000 during the past 14 years to the Center for gifts and holiday events for the children.
Brewer-Porch Children’s Center was established in 1969 to provide quality mental health and educational services to children and adolescents with emotional and mental disturbances and their families. It includes a 46-bed residential program as well as day programs. Its staff of 300 is divided into treatment teams, which include consulting psychiatrists, dieticians, social workers, counselors, special education teachers, and psychologists. The center also is a clinical teaching/learning site for undergraduate and graduate students from The University of Alabama and other colleges and universities.
The Nick’s Kids Fund was established in 2000 by the Sabans on the principle that “no man stands as tall as he who helps a child.” In 2007, the fund raised more than $300,000 for charitable organizations in Alabama, specifically those that help children.
The Sabans’ donation is part of UA’s capital campaign, “Our Students. Our Future,” which has a goal to raise $500 million for student scholarships, faculty support, facilities and priority needs.
The Brewer-Porch Children’s Center is part of the College of Arts and Sciences, the University’s largest division and the largest liberal arts college in the state. Students from the College have won numerous national awards including Rhodes Scholarships, Goldwater Scholarships and memberships on the “USA Today” Academic All American Teams.
The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.