History Highlight: Co-Founders Larry & Cheri Carlson Celebrate 50 Years of Ministry & Marria



Married the same summer Youth Haven began, Larry and Cheri Carlson moved into a small attic apartment above what is now the Michigan Children’s Dining Hall.

It was clear from the beginning that God had uniquely gifted them for the work He was calling them to do. Their musical talents - Larry on the piano and accordion and Cheri singing - provided opportunities for them to visit churches and share about the new Youth Haven ministry, as well as the need for financial support. Larry was instrumental in the campus development, designing and overseeing the construction of nearly every building. He was appointed President, and his Master’s Degree in Education gave him just the perspective he needed to develop the children’s programs. Cheri’s gift of hospitality was also a blessing, making everyone feel loved and welcomed - from the children to special guests like KFC’s Colonel Sanders and Colonel Jim Irwin of Apollo 15.

Through the years, wherever there was a need, Larry and Cheri were quick to step in and serve, all while raising their three sons, Eric, Lars, and Hans. Larry retired as President in 2016, passing that responsibility to their son Lars, but he remains active as Board Chairman and helps around the campuses whenever a need arises. And Cheri continues to welcome children into their home, where she reads to them, listens to them, and gives lots of hugs!

We thank them for their obedience to God’s call and congratulate them on 50 years of ministry and marriage!


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