Centering Moments: Be Safe

At BCC, we are committed to the value of safety first and foremost. Safety is our mindset.

We always can do more to be safe and to ensure the safety of others. The more we live with a mindset of safety, the more we see opportunities to be pro-active. Safety is a basic human need. We all need to feel safe at a certain level in order to be productive.

It is imperative for us to remember that safety is necessary for a therapeutic environment (for clients as well as caregivers and support persons). The first stage of healing from trauma is safety: safety in body and spirit, safety in place and safety inter-personally.

For many of us, our various faith traditions and practices help provide us with a sense of safety.

I would like to share some selected scripture verses in the Jewish and Christian traditions. Please read on if you would like these resources. Positive regards to all.

The most ancient God is a place of safety; the eternal arms are a support. (Deuteronomy 33:27)

My God is my rock, in whom I find protection. God is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety. God is my refuge, my savior, the one who saves me from violence. (2 Samuel 22:3)

I will lie down and fall asleep in peace because you alone, God, let me live in safety. (Psalm 4:8)

The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. God is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety. (Psalm 18:2)

No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice. My body rests in safety. (Psalm 16:9)

These verses give us comforting images of God that help us feel safe and secure in a trusting relationship with God. As appropriate, I encourage you to discuss these and other helpful images and experiences of God for creating a sense of safety.

May we work together with God’s blessing to be safe and to increase the safety of others.

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January Inspiration

Happy New Year!
Yes, I know it is the last day of the first month of the new year yet it is our first Centering Moment email of 2018.
I wanted to share a brief message of hope for all of us.

The picture above was drawn by one of our Caminos youth a couple of years ago when we were sharing in a Bible study on the theme of hope. The youth were asked to draw a picture of a symbol of hope for them. They inspired the staff with their pictures and,
more importantly, their incredible faith.

We experienced a renewal of hope on January 15 when we celebrated the birthday of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. A group of BCC youth and staff participated in a Day of Service by volunteering at Glen Mar United Methodist Church. BCC hosted volunteers in
Baltimore with the same event and also received donations in WV from a community groupin honor of the holiday.

Here is a quote from Dr. King to inspire us as we move into the new year:

“If you can’t fly, then run.

If you can’t run, then walk.

If you can’t walk, then crawl, but

whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.”

I am grateful to keep moving forward with each of you and our entire BCC team in fulfilling our purpose of “enriching
communities, one family at a time.”

With hope and gratitude,

Rev. Stacey

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“Freely we have received, freely give”

On Monday, January 15th, our nation celebrated one of the most influential leaders in our country’s history, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In the spirit of his efforts to serve others and to unite our country with love, equality, and justice, a few of our youth spent a portion of the day doing their part to make a difference in someone’s life.

Glen Mar UMC, located in Ellicott City, hosted its annual “Day of Service”, in which hundreds of youth and adults participated in a variety of community service projects that impacted youth in our local community and children around the world. Six of our male teenagers decided to take the opportunity to participate in the day of service and soon realized the joy of giving. “I didn’t know that so many people wanted to help others. It felt good being able to help”, said one youth. Our youth spent the majority of their time weighing and packaging rice packets that will be sent to families around the world, assembled health care kits, and made spiritual bracelets.

On MLK Day, our youth were able to see the value of giving, the value of caring, and the value of their greatness. As Dr. King once said, “everyone can be great, because everyone can serve.”

– Mr. Shawn Elbert, Spiritual Life Coordinator


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Thank You From Our Outpatient Mental Health Clinic!

I wanted to send out an update on how the Christmas Store drive went here at OMHC. Because of generous donations of our community, BCC was able to impact 80 clients (66 families) from our OMHC this holiday season with our Christmas Store. Every year our youth and families look forward to picking out gifts for their loved ones and for themselves. This year the night lights, fidget spinners, jewelry and board games were a big hit.

This was the first year that I was involved in shopping for our youth and it was an amazing experience. All of the time and energy the volunteers put into the Christmas Store is really amazing and warmed my heart.

Below are some of the responses we heard from our families and youth after they selected their gifts:

  • We are so thankful for your agency allowing us to pick out a few items to put under our Christmas tree.
  • Thank you all for your generosity and may you all have a great holiday season.
  • I just love the fact that this agency really cares about their families.  Merry Christmas.
  • We could not be more grateful for the cheer that you all spread to the families here.
  • Thank you , thank you, thank you.  This is a really big help to my family and myself.
  • Wow!!! I am truly amazed at the setup and selections in the gift room.  Thank you!!!
  • I just love socks and there are so many to choose from.  Thank you.
  • Oh my gosh!!!! Dolls….thank you so much.  I love her.
  • My brother and I picked out a gift for Mom and Mom picked out a gift for us.  This is so nice.  My brother and I were so excited to open our gifts last year that we forgot about Mom’s gift being hidden in my bedroom closet.  She received her gift a few days after Christmas, once we remembered it.  Thank you for allowing us to pick out gifts again.
  • I love hats, gloves, and scarfs.  They keep me warm when I am waiting on my bus and want to play in the snow.
  • We are truly lucky that your agency helps us with our gift exchanges every year.  Thanks.
  • This has been a really unfortunate year for my family.  I don’t know what I would do without the extra help that you guys offer us.  I am thankful.
  • Can I have a hug?  This means more than these tears of joy that you see streaming down my face.  My daughter and I have been homeless and we need all of the assistance that we can get. I am so grateful that I can have a few gifts to give to her Christmas morning.  Thank you so much.
  • Wow!!! When I opened the door to the Christmas Room, I didn’t know what to say.  It was displayed very nicely and had an abundance of gifts for everyone.  Thank you for sharing again this year.
  • There are not enough words to express the gratitude that I am feeling right now.  My next pay isn’t until after Christmas and all I needed was a doll for my daughter.  Out of everything that was in the room, a doll was looking right at me.  Thank you for making me happy enough to have this to present to her on Christmas morning and most of all, for helping her to have what she really wanted the most.

Thanks again to everyone who helped support this effort it was AMAZING!

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A True Christmas Giving Story

Alexander is pictured very excitedly holding one of the items.

Alexander and Russell know the true meaning of Christmas is giving instead of receiving. For their birthday this year, the twins decided to donate their gifts to the children of the Board of Child Care.

They collected items for the BCC’s Christmas Store. Each year we set up a room filled with housewares, jewelry and gift baskets where children and their families can shop for loved ones at no cost. The Christmas Store is one of the many generous projects sponsored by our Volunteer Auxiliary. 

To no surprise, Alexander and Russel’s gifts were grabbed up immediately as the store opened. The Denton boys are grateful to have a loving and supportive community.

Russell was very shy and did not really want recognition or his picture taken.




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Baltimore Campus Christmas Store 2017

2017 Baltimore Campus Christmas Store is up and running today and tomorrow. Here are a few pictures of the incredible setup and donations from our Auxiliary.

We are grateful for PSA Insurance & Financial Services​ and our Auxiliary volunteers for this year’s Christmas Store! To see more pictures and learn how to get involved with volunteering Board of Child Care​ visit
Want to learn how you can help? We always need prayer blankets! Learn how here



Handmade gift baskets for someone special
We love our volunteers!
So many kind and generous people in this world and in our community



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Written By Rebecca Dunkin, Development Associate at Board of Child Care
Images by Trina-Michelle Rosado, Training Specialist at Board of Child Care


A Special Birthday — A Day in New York City

One of our former residents is known for her personalized celebrations.  Birthdays, graduation, discharge, every special event meant a personalized party on campus from this youth. Months before the event (while she was still at BCC) she would walk around asking staff for money excitedly sharing that it was for “Ms. Sarah’s birthday!” or “Samantha’s graduation party!” She made sure that all events were personally catered to the recipient’s favorite things.

For my birthday this year, she went over the top with a dog themed party. First, she invited two co-workers who each had puppies so I could get covered in wet slobbery kisses. Then she had decorated her apartment from ceiling to floor in decorations.  The apartment was covered with cutouts, balloons, banners, streamers, and dog decor. She didn’t stop there. She also made food that was all dog themed.  We feasted on pup-eroni  (pepperoni) pizza, pup-cakes (cupcakes) and various other treats. (Please see the pictures below.) It was truly a memorable day and so very thoughtful.

A few months later, when her 20th birthday rolled around, I knew we had to make it something special. We (my co-workers and I) planned a birthday day trip to New York City where she would get to have a great new experience with her most favorite people.  This was her first time in the Big Apple and we had a full agenda of birthday wishes. We strolled around Central Park and we watched the ice skaters at Rockefeller Center. We shopped in the big Lego store and in M&M World.  We saw Time Square during the day and then again at night when it was lit up. To end the night we had her favorite food, a slice of New York pizza.  It was a great day for us and for her, with memories we will always cherish.

This is #mygivingstory

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 Will you participate in #GivingTuesday for the @BoardofChildCare on Tuesday, November 28th 2017?
There are several easy ways you can get involved!

Like Us on Facebook

Donate Online  and let your Facebook followers know
using hashtag #GivingTuesday, #StuffOurStocking and at symbol @BoardofChildCare

Share with us an awesome story about giving
so we can include it in our next newsletter

The proceeds from #GivingTuesday are first used to fund the holiday celebrations and Christmas presents for those living at BCC (see the 2016 recap here). After those needs are met, donations will be directed to where they are needed most throughout BCC’s educational, mental health, and residential programs.

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Red Stockings: a Board of Child Care legacy continues

By Erik Alsgaard
UMConnection Staff (link to full newsletter)

If you grew up in the Baltimore-Washington Conference, you might remember, as a child, putting 10 dimes in a slotted, Christmas stocking-shaped card. It was a way to give money to children who were being cared for by the Board of Child Care.

In the 1960s, this offering contributed about 60 percent of the operating budget of the Board, said the Rev. Stacey Nickerson, Director of Church and Community Engagement. Today, the red stockings are still around, but thanks to grants, contracts with various government agencies, and more, the offering is mainly used to help ensure the BCC children and their families have a Christmas.

The history of the BCC goes back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Three facilities, all with ties to the Methodist Church — the Kelso Home for Girls, Strawbridge Home for Boys, and Swartzell Methodist Home for Children — merged under one organizational structure, called the Board of Child Care.

After bringing all three of these independent organizations together, a way of funding the work was needed. Their initial suggestion was to have a Christmas offering for every church in the conferences (what is now the Peninsula-Delaware Conference was a part of the BCC in the early 1920s). In 1953, the annual conferences adopted the report of the merger and established the Christmas offering.

The genius of these stockings, Nickerson said, is that they allowed children in local churches to help other children in need. The Christmas stocking debuted, she said, in 1954. On the BCC’s Facebook page, they are collecting stories of adults who, as a child, filled those stockings.

“Over the years, it’s changed,” Nickerson said, noting that today’s stocking card holds quarters. “But I can go in a lot of United Methodist churches today and hold up that stocking and people are like, ‘Oh, you’re from there!’ It’s iconic.”

In addition to the stockings, the BCC also provides offering envelopes for people who wish to make monetary donations that don’t jingle.

“I’d like to see churches take advantage of the Christmas offering more,” Nickerson said.


“Because it’s a fantastic way for churches to connect with what we’re doing here,” she said, plus it helps teach stewardship, sacrifice, and more to both adults and children alike.

Nickerson, who has the nick-name this time of year, “The BCC’s St. Nick,” works with the youth in their residential programs to establish a Christmas wish-list. She then matches those lists with churches and other organizations that want to help. Sadly, there are still children who don’t get anything filled on their list.

That’s where Nickerson steps in. “I take the money that’s been raised through the stockings to go out and purchase what is needed,” she said. “Everyone gets gifts.”

Volunteers come in to wrap the gifts, and the children receive them on Christmas morning.

The BCC’s Auxiliary also hosts a Christmas store for families of residential youth, Nickerson said. That’s where youth can shop for gifts for their loved ones. “We’ve expanded that,” she said.

“We have a family store, so the families of our students at the school, residential facilities, clients in Pasadena and outpatient mental health, can go and select gifts for their families, their siblings, and others. It’s amazing.”

For more information on how to participate in the Red Stocking program, visit or contact Rev. Stacey Nickerson 443-845-4388 or

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