All God’s Children celebrates 25 Year Anniversary

Published 10:14 am Monday, April 29, 2024

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A foster care organization celebrated its 25th anniversary this recently and honored the woman who started it all. 

All God’s Children (AGC) in south Jessamine County was opened by the late Pamela L Smith in 1999 with the help of her husband, Karl Smith, and the support of her family, children, and friends. 

To celebrate Pam, who passed away about a year ago, the AGC Board of Directors decided to dedicate the campus after her, placing her name on the newly installed campus sign. At this event, the new sign was unveiled by two of Pam’s three children, Chief Operating Officer Kathryn Maupin and Solomon, who are all heavily involved at AGC. 

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As Karl opened the ceremony with a speech, the air among the crowd of AGC team members, family, friends, leaders, and community members felt heavy. Only a few minutes into speaking, Karl began to cry.

“We gather here to remember [Pam], and to celebrate my wife’s legacy and her life’s work,” Karl said. “There’s so many people here who have played a significant part in the 25 years of our ministry. I wish we had time to stop and talk about each one, but unfortunately I can’t do that.”

Still, Karl thanked the Terminix worker who has stayed with AGC for the 25 years it has been open, Critchfield Meats in Lexington, which provided the sandwich lunches, and even Carolyn Wilkinson, a very close friend of Pam’s who had been with Pam on this project since ground zero. 

Wilkinson was a social worker when she met Pam while they were both attending a baseball game for their sons. When they began talking about their interests, Wilkinson said they realized they had similar values and goals. Now retired, Wilkinson has spent many years working as a therapist at AGC. She said they had a great friendship and misses her dearly. 

Reminiscing on the day Pam found the property she wanted to purchase for the foster home, Karl said he initially questioned her about the property’s price. Karl said she knew this was the property she wanted because she saw the for-sale sign as soon as she had finished praying to God. 

Karl joked after, saying, “Whenever God and Pam were on the same page, I needed to get my rear end out of the way.” 

Before handing off the microphone to his son and the Vice President of AGC, Smitty Smith, Karl said that Pam had done everything she could to convince her children they could go into a different field, but that their two eldest children are running “all facets of this ministry,” while their youngest is getting a degree in Architecture but still helping out. “Can you imagine Pam’s gorgeous, beautiful smile to see her beautiful children in these roles?” Karl finished his speech. 

Smitty got up to speak, explaining what he remembered of his mother starting AGC.

“I was 13 when Pam and Karl sat us down on the porch and explained that our family life was about to radically change,” Smitty said. For years, the family’s spare bedroom had been a place of respite for young mothers, women, and children. In 1999, one room was no longer enough. 

“Kat and I listened closely, and it made sense. Mom didn’t have to convince us a whole lot. Her parenting and shepherding had sealed her massage,” Smitty said.

With sniffles and tearied eyes coming over the crowd, Smitty said that if his mother was here today, she would celebrate her God for giving her her values and her “enduring vision,” as Smitty said. 

The ceremony ended with the unveiling of the new campus sign and a prayer from Pastor J. Webb, a longtime volunteer for AGC.