Bishop’s Easterling’s Statement Following the Shooting in Las Vegas

October 2, 2017

When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. Psalm 34:17

Beloved of God,

Today we awoke to the news of what is being called the worst mass shooting in modern American history. Yet, these words sound all too familiar. They sound familiar because we heard them after the shooting at the Pulse Night Club in Florida. We heard them after the shooting in San Bernardino, California. We heard them after the unfathomable tragedy at Sandy Hook elementary school. We heard them yet again after bullets rang out at Virginia Tech. We keep hearing them.

And yet, may we never grow numb to the senseless loss of life.

We search for the words to articulate our grief and disbelief. In reality, there simply are no words. Families are shattered and loved ones sit dazed in mourning and anger. A city attempts to come to grips with how a man aimed his weapon at complete strangers and repeatedly pulled the trigger. A nation wonders how we will collectively heal from another horrific mass casualty.

Although we may feel helpless right now, as people of faith we know that prayers are powerful and effective. Therefore, we pray.

We pray: for all those who have learned, and will learn of the death of their loved ones; for those fighting for their lives right now; for first responders who attend to the dying, the suffering, and the bodies of those who have drawn their last breath; for the doctors, nurses, and medical staff who will work tirelessly and selflessly to save lives; for the family of the gunmen who must bear the wrath of acts they did not commit;
for those who cannot muster the faith to pray.

And, as we pray, may we remember that prayer is more than words. Prayer is also action. When we have the opportunity, may we act in concert with our prayers.

Your servant in Christ,
Bishop LaTrelle Miller Easterling

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Sighs too deep for words – Bishop Peggy Johnson

Sighs too deep for words

There is a line in the musical Hamilton that says “I’ve imagined my death so many times that it seems like a memory.”

The senseless slaughter of innocent lives in Las Vegas this week (which left 59 dead so far and over 500 injured) once again thrusts us into an unimaginable image of what it would be like to be in the midst of a mass shooting.  Sadly, it is happening so often in this country, it is beginning to seem like a memory or a repetitive bad dream.

We must pray at this time.  Pray for the families of the victims and the family of the perpetrator.  Pray for those who have been injured and their loved ones.  Pray for all the people who witnessed this scene of terror first-hand, who have nightmares or even survivors’ guilt.

Pray for the first-responders and the people who wish they could have been there to help or hold the hand of a loved one in their last minutes of life.  Pray for all the counselors, pastors, teachers, and parents who are trying to help people get through this tragedy.

When we don’t have the words, we call on the Holy Spirit’s aid. Romans 8:26 says, “The Spirit helps us in our weakness, for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.”

We also need to search our hearts for something we can do. Mass shootings will continue in this country as long as we have a culture of violence and hatred. We as a church need to be teaching people ways of solving problems peaceably.

We can learn how to recognize signs of alienation and desperation in some persons described as “lone wolf” types. And we can reach out to them in healing ways so that perhaps some tragedies can be prevented. We can promote the inclusion of more mental health services that can be available to all and lessen the stigma that prevents people from getting the help they need.

May we live to see the day when such senseless killings are a past and not present memory in this world of ours.

 

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Prayer Today

I have been reading My Spiritual Journey by The Dalai Lama and have found lots of inspiration and challenge from this spiritual leader and Buddhist monk.  Meditating on his writing is helping me to increase my capacity for the practice of compassion for others and myself.

Here is a prayer offered by His Holiness the Dalai Lama:

I pray for a more loving human family.  Even when I meet a stranger each time I have the same feeling:  “He is another member of my human family.”  Such an attitude deepens my affection and respect for all beings.
May this natural loving-kindness become my small contribution to world peace!
I pray for a world that is more friendly, more loving, and for a better understanding among the human family, on this planet.
That is the appeal I make from the bottom of my heart to all those who hate suffering and cherish lasting happiness.

Will you join me in this prayer and to a commitment to increase our practice of compassion?

Peace,
Stacey

P.S.  This prayer was part of our Centering Moment today at the Senior Leadership Team meeting.  Please feel free to share it with those around you – including colleagues and the young people with whom we work.  Blessings!

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Rosh Hashanah

At sunset yesterday, Wednesday, September 20, our Jewish friends will begin the celebration of Rosh Hashanah (New Year) and conclude on the evening of Friday, September 22.  The year will be 5778.

Here is a traditional greeting to offer: L’shana tovah u’metukah – “For a good and sweet year.” 

This is pronounced l’shah-NAH toe-VAH ooh-meh-too-KAH (oo as in food).

Please join me in wishing everyone who is celebrating a very happy new year!

L’shana tovah u’metukah!

This is a great opportunity for all of us to celebrate the good things of the past year and look forward to a new beginning with God’s blessing.

I want to share with you a brief video for the celebration. Last year a group of people from different communities around the world recorded a special blessing song for Rosh Hashanah. The video was done by 92nd Street Y, a cultural and community center. This is the link to the video: I hope you enjoy it.

 

https://youtu.be/sHlLYhYNbc0

Hope and Peace to all – Rev. Stacey

 

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Follow Me and I’ll Make You Fishers of Men

Scripture Reference: Matthew Chapter 4: Verses 18-20
One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of galilee, he saw two brothers-Simon, also called Peter, and Andrew-throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. Jesus called out to them, “Come follow me, and I will show you how to be fishers of men.” And they left their nets at once and followed him.

Simon and Andrew probably thought this was where they were supposed to be in life. They probably thought this was what they were meant to do for a living. That maybe they reached their potential and this was all they would do and be in life. However, Jesus comes along with an offer they couldn’t refuse. He tells them to “follow me and I’ll make you fishers of men.” In other words, you think what you’re doing now is good, but if you follow me I can show you greatness. They were content catching fish. Jesus called them to change lives.

There are levels in our lives that God wants to take us too. Levels that include amazing opportunities and blessings. Levels that include helping others and having a positive impact in a negative world. Simon and Andrew would not have tapped into the greatness of God if they weren’t willing to follow Jesus. Jesus is telling us today that He can do great things in our lives and takes us to heights that we never imagined, if we’re willing to follow Him. If we’re willing to leave “our nets” and follow Him, He is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, more than we should ever ask or think, according to the power that lies in us!

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Inspiration for the New School Year 2017 – 2018

A Back-to-School Message from Mr. Shawn Elbert, Director 

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At the start of a new school year, we feel a sense of excitement. After having time off in the summer

to relax and rejuvenate, we approach the upcoming school year with a renewed sense of purpose, determination, and eagerness to teach. We look at our empty classroom and school as a blank canvas and we imagine what we can create in the minds of our students. We know each year will have its share of ups and downs, successes and failures; however, each opportunity is a chance to learn. A chance to challenge ourselves. A chance to step up to the plate.

I was recently watching the Little League World Series and thought about my days playing baseball. I remembered the times watching from the dugout with my teammates as the opposing pitcher would “warm-up” on the mound. We wanted to see how fast he threw the ball. If he was throwing slow and controlled, we all chomped at the bit to get a chance to bat. If he was throwing some “heat” with a lot of movement in the ball, some of us (including myself) would be hesitant to stand in the batter’s box to face him. We didn’t know what to expect. If I wasn’t confident I could hit the ball, I would often stand further away from the plate. It made me feel safer in the batter’s box. Our coach would encourage us to be disciplined batters, not to be afraid, and to step up to the plate. We may not have known what pitch he was going to throw and how fast he would throw it, but we wouldn’t have a chance to hit it if we weren’t ready for the challenge… if we didn’t step up to the plate.

 

This school year will undoubtedly present its share of challenges. We may have many things “thrown at us” that we haven’t seen before. It may be a challenging curriculum, challenging behaviors, or a sense of not having enough time to complete lessons. It may feel overwhelming and the task may feel daunting. The good news is we were built to accept the challenge. There is something inside of us that helps us to step up to the plate.

So this year I encourage each one of us to accept the challenge before us. Maybe

we want to be the best teacher, student aide, behavior staff, or social worker we can be this year. Maybe it’s to be the best parent, spouse, sibling, or friend we can be. Whatever the challenge is, let’s all remember that with God ALL things are possible! If we believe, keep the faith, and help one another, there is no limit to what we can do.

But first, we have to step up to the plate!

 

 

 

Thank you so much for your contribution in support of our Back to School appeal! While we appreciate online contributions, if you are having any trouble using our online form you are also welcome to mail a check to:

Board of Child Care
Attn: Back to School
3300 Gaither Road
Baltimore, MD 21244

You may also call (410) 922-2100 x5430 to make a contribution over the phone during regular business hours.

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Behind the Tassel-Yeremiyah


“The opportunity changed my Life.” -Yeremiyah

Yeremiyah feels that when he came to the Board of Child Care with three of his siblings, he was ” fortunate to have been granted an opportunity to  change my life forever and hopefully change the lives of those around me.”  Thanks to BCC’s assistance, Yeremiyah realized his dreams and achieved the goals that he would not have considered.  Playing sports, graduating from high school and being accepted into college are only a fraction of the things he has been able to accomplish with BCC’s help.  Yeremiyah made the Dean’s List attending  North Carolina State University where he is pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in chemical engineering. He says, ” The BCC is a support system that I consider to be part of my family.

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Thomas L. Curcio, former President/CEO and youth advocate passes away.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Kristian Sekse
(443) 845-4395 (cell)
ksekse@boardofchildcare.org

BOARD OF CHILD CARE ANNOUNCES THE PASSING OF THOMAS L. CURCIO, FORMER PRESIDENT/CEO

Baltimore, Md. – August 23, 2017 – “On behalf of the Board of Child Care (BCC) Board of Directors, our employees, and program alumni, it is with deep sorrow that we announce the unexpected passing of Thomas Curcio,” stated Guy Everhart, chair of the board of directors.  “Our hearts and prayers are with the Curcio family.” Mr. Curcio, passed away August 22, 2017.

Mr. Curcio started his career in the field of child welfare more than 45 years ago.  In 1993, he took over as executive director (later becoming president and CEO) of the Board of Child Care and led BCC through remarkable growth. When Mr. Curcio assumed his leadership post, BCC had an annual budget of just $3 million and served 50 youth on one campus. Upon his retirement on June 30, 2014, the organization spanned Maryland, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia and served hundreds of children and young adults annually.

During Mr. Curcio’s leadership the Board of Child Care received several honors including Organization of the Year Award and Best Practice Award for Innovative Programming from the United Methodist Association. In 2009 Mr. Curcio was named Administrator of the Year by the same association. A year prior, he received the Samuel Gerson Nordlinger Child Welfare Leadership Award from the Alliance for Children and Families.

An Ellicott City resident, Mr. Curcio graduated from Gannon University in 1967 with a bachelor’s degree in sociology. He held both a master’s in criminal justice from Long Island University and a master’s in social work from Hunter College, School of Social Work.

Family and friends may call at the Candle Light Funeral Home by Craig Witzke for a memorial gathering on Friday, 6-8pm. Services and Interment private. For further information and/or to post condolences, please visit www.candlelightfuneralhome.com

About the Board of Child Care

The Board of Child Care has a long history of serving children and families in the community.  The organization began as three United Methodist orphanages that opened in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, which later merged in 1960 to become the Board of Child Care.

Today, the Board of Child Care’s $32 million annual budget provides programs that enrich communities, one family at a time.  It offers residential treatment, mental health, special and early learning educational programs, and community-based programs throughout the Mid-Atlantic.  To see a map of all program locations and descriptions of each BCC program, visit boardofchildcare.org.

 

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BCC Receives Official EAGLE Accreditation Notice

Board of Child Care is proud to announce that we received word today that our 2017-2021 EAGLE accreditation was officially renewed!  

We had undergone our site visit from the EAGLE review team in March of this year and are thrilled to have received our confirmation letter today.  The site visit involves interviews with program participants, families of our clients, staff members, and our Board of Directors.  The review team also reviews client charts, policy and procedure manuals, and a host of other documentation to ensure that BCC’s operations meet or exceed the EAGLE standards.

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Behind the Tassel – Matthew

Matthew Howard: An Alumni Who Gives Back Every Day

As most anyone on campus knows, Matthew Howard is a well-respected and hard-working member of the Board of Child Care staff. After only two years as head of the on-campus mechanic shop, he has found ways to save thousands in unnecessary charges and updated operations in numerous ways.  What’s less well-known is that he’s also an alumnus of Strawbridge School. That’s not surprising since, as he says, he did not fit the profile of a “typical” student.

“Not everyone who attends Strawbridge School comes from adverse homes,” says Matthew. “My family life is actually pretty solid. I was lucky for that, compared to a lot of the other kids here. I have a lot of support from both of my parents.”

Yet the school proved to be the right fit for him, in so many ways. More important, the transformation that he experienced during the three years he attended was textbook. Matthew admits he never felt comfortable in any school, and the middle school years were particularly difficult for him. “I had a lot of challenges [in 7th and 8th grade], a lot of anxiety and social problems,” he says. “I was super-antisocial and had a really hard time in large groups of kids. So I just wound up leaving school to go hang out in the woods for 6 hours. I just needed to be by myself.”

The public school system tends to be intolerant of such behavior, and eventually, after receiving some counseling and being transferred to several different schools, Matthew wound up as a day student at Strawbridge. As it turned out, it was what he needed most. “In public school, it was like you were up to something if you didn’t want to go to class or anything like that,” he says. “Their answer is always ‘no.’ here [at Strawbridge], it was more like, ‘how can we help you get back into class at some point?’ There is just a strong level of support here for any problems I had, which was really helpful.”

Matthew says Strawbridge’s focus on the individual student’s need, along with small classrooms guided by education specialists, were key to his ability to grow and eventually thrive. “Coming here felt more comforting, it just seemed different. Here, they were accepting of the type of person I was,” says Matthew, who graduated in 2001. “They don’t try to ‘fix’ you, they just try to help you understand that it’s OK if you’re different. A lot of it is just helping you accept and understand who you are.”

One of the things that helped him cope and find a pathway forward, he says, was the school’s flexible curriculum. “I had a lot of electives and I was given more ways to express myself,” he says, adding that he spent a lot of time in the wood shop during senior year, which allowed him to find inspiration and discover something he liked to do. In fact, he originally intended to pursue a career in carpentry after graduation.

Eventually, his desire to work with his hands — and to work indoors on solid ground, rather than up on a roof in bad weather — led him to join his father’s auto mechanic shop. He worked there for a decade and gained experience, know-how and increased responsibility.

In 2015, when offered the opportunity to come back to BCC to run the on-campus mechanic operations, Matthew couldn’t resist. “It felt like it would be cool to come back and work here and give something back,” he says. “I am happy to be back here. It feels like home.” Giving back includes mentoring and teaching: “I have kids who work with me from time to time, and if any are willing to learn, I am more than happy to teach them.”

And not just about maintaining and repairing vehicles, either.

“I tell them to embrace this place,” he says. “This place has a lot of support and a lot to offer, and I think it’s important that they acknowledge that.”

Learn more about our graduates at Behind the Tassel.

 

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