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About Children's Harbor

From the beginning the mission was simple: strengthening children and families.

In 1987, Ben and Luanne Russell began dreaming of building a place for children and families on Lake Martin on property provided by Russell Lands. The dream became a reality in 1990 with the dedication ceremonies for Children's Harbor, a not-for-profit organization. The entire program was officially dedicated to the memory of Ben's mother, Adelia M. Russell.

The mission of Children’s Harbor continues

Each year, at our Lake Martin campus, we partner with over 20 different groups who serve long-term seriously ill children and their families to provide camping and retreat services.

In 2001, the Russells' commitment continued with their gift to build a state-of-the-art Children’s Harbor Family Resource and Counseling Center at the Benjamin Russell Hospital for Children in Birmingham, Alabama. There, children and their families receive coaching, counseling, education, recreation, respite and other supportive services during and after hospitalization.


Children's Harbor offers patients and their families two unique environments to strengthen family bonds and find balance and support during and after hospitalization. All of the services offered at both campuses are provided to families at no cost, thanks to many generous donors and volunteers.

Family Center

The Children’s Harbor Family Center, located in the Benjamin Russell Hospital for Children, in Birmingham, Alabama, offers several ways for patients and their families to break away from their hospital stay. Services include patient and sibling activities as well as support through counseling care and educational resources. Learn more.

Lake Martin

Children’s Harbor’s Lake Martin campus hosts camping and retreat services through partnering organizations, providing patients and families a place of rest and restoration. It offers patients and their families a place to come together and reconnect, often outdoors, in a safe environment for children with various diagnoses. Learn more.

Guiding Principles

We believe our guiding principles have helped us continue to serve families, right into our 27th year! From our focus on priorities and passions to the relationships of the individuals and organizations we partner with, these guiding principles help us continue serving from the heart.

Our top priority is to respond to the needs and rights of every client with a sense of urgency, dignity and compassion.
Children’s Harbor is passionate about family-centered principles and quality-of-life issues.
Children’s Harbor views counseling as a key to empowering children and families to reach their maximum potential.
Children’s Harbor is a quality, performance and integrity-driven organization.
Dedication, honesty, trust, innovation and stakeholder satisfaction are the foundation of Children’s Harbor’s work.
Children’s Harbor respects the dignity of its team members and assures them empowerment through professional development and personal growth.
Children’s Harbor is committed to partnering with other organizations that share its vision, mission and values.

Core Values

Our core values determine who we are and shall not be compromised for personal gain or short-term expediency. They shall guide our every action with one another, in our organization, with the families we serve and in our communities. By living these values and holding each other accountable to them, we shall grow as individuals and empower all who come to Children’s Harbor.

Our ultimate goal: Striving to be the best family service organization in the pediatric health care community.


We are committed, as one team, to serve seriously ill children and their families with dignity and compassion.


We will operate with integrity at all times, which will be evident in our honesty and the trust we establish with each other and with everyone we serve.


We will be passionate in responding to the needs of families and improving quality of life.


We will, through every act of service, empower children, families and each other to reach our full potential, and thereby leave a powerful legacy at Children’s Harbor for others yet to come.