Opportunity to walk into new life chapter thrills graduates

Celebrations held in Baltimore, Denton & Martinsburg

Graduation season is afoot and the Board of Child Care had much to celebrate in June!

In total, BCC congratulated 20 seniors across its Maryland and West Virginia residential programs and from its Baltimore-based Strawbridge school.

The festivities kicked off in Martinsburg, WV. Just down the street from the residential campus are three of BCC’s group homes called Campolina Way. BCC’s staff honored Sabrina L., who graduated with honors from the local Spring Mills High School.

Sabrina has been involved in the Work Exploration program for the last two years and looks forward to obtaining full time employment this summer. When she leaves BCC she will be transitioning to a semi-independent living group home.

In Baltimore, back-to-back ceremonies provided plenty of cheer and smiles. On June 8, Baltimore residential program graduates celebrated with staff, family and friends. A variety of scholarships and awards were distributed to the 11 seniors, three of which graduated from the Strawbridge School on campus while the remainder received their diplomas from the local public school they attended.

The celebration included a visit from the Mathis family and Rear Admiral (retired) William Mathis, the brother of former BCC Board Member, Jim Mathis. Both brothers are alumni from the United Methodist Strawbridge orphanage (which would later merge with two other orphanages to form the Board of Child Care).

Tim H., who attended Smithsburg More School and gave the class address, and Robert R., a Strawbridge student, won the James and Lois Mathis Award for Community Service. The Alice G. Seymour Award for Academic Achievement, presented by Rear Admiral (retired) William Mathis, went to Tim H. and Dejon L., who earned his GED on his own while living on the Baltimore campus.

Justin B., a Strawbridge graduate, earned the $1,000 Chase United Methodist Church Award, while Jason L., a graduate from Randallstown High School, and Meaghan S. from Pikesville High School, each won a $250 award of the same name. Many thanks go to Chase United Methodist Church (Middle River, MD) and to their pastor, Rev. Cynthia Burkert, for their incredible partnership and support of our graduates and their future educational plans.

Blaine A., a Strawbridge School graduate, won the Board of Child Care Award for best representing the values of BCC.

The next evening, commencement exercises for Strawbridge School recognized its nine graduating seniors. Laurie Anne Spagnola, BCC’s President and CEO, told the Strawbridge graduates that life is not to be stressed over but rather to be enjoyed and savored.

“Be kind, be silly and most of all, be honest,” Spagnola said in explaining why striking a balance between being too serious or not serious enough is important to success in life.

The annual highlight of the Strawbridge ceremony is the rose presentation. Each graduate singles out someone within the assembly who was significant to their success, walks down off the stage and hands them a single, white rose in an emotional, heartfelt thank you. Recipients this year included foster care brothers, grandmothers, extended family, BCC social workers, and Strawbridge teachers.

The star of 2016’s class was Miranda Webb, a Baltimore County resident student who attended Strawbridge and was one of 70 students statewide awarded the Michael Cardin scholarship from the Maryland Association of Nonpublic Special Education Facilities (MANSEF).

During her address to classmates, she said, “My success is because you gave me the support and encouragement to become the person I am today.” Webb will be using her scholarship for tuition to attend the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC) to obtain a nursing certificate.

BCC’s final graduation celebration was at our Denton, MD campus. Jacob C. graduated from North Caroline High School, celebrated in a small ceremony June 15 on the Eastern Shore campus.

Karen McGee, Director of Operations in Denton, called Jacob, “one of the most socially conscious residents we’ve ever had – he was so concerned about the environment he started a cottage composting station for other residents and staff.”

Jacob is busy with driver’s education classes, seeking a summer job and exploring classes to take at Chesapeake Community College in the fall. Jacob is known on the Denton Campus as an avid gardener and an animal lover.

The Treatment Foster Care department also had a graduate, Brandy H., from the Academy for College and Career Exploration in Baltimore.

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Child Bus Tour stops at BCC’s Martinsburg campus

CHILD BUS TOUR AT BCC-WVA 2016-4-20

BCC’s Martinsburg residential campus hosted a Child Watch tour April 20 as part of a larger, collaborative effort to heighten community awareness of the plight of abused and neglected children.

“Because April is Child Abuse Awareness Month, we try to give adults an exclusive look at what a child sees while they go through the system,” said tour organizer Kristen Gingery, project assistant at the Family Resource Network. “This tour has been building for over 10 years and we were thrilled to have the Board of Child Care as a participant.”

The eight-destination bus tour included a stop at a hospital, where abuse or neglect is usually spotted or confirmed by a medical team. From there the group visited locations such as the Department of Health and Human Services in Martinsburg, a children’s shelter, a Safe Haven shelter, the Berkeley County Judicial Center and then as their last stop: the Board of Child Care.

Jackie Columbia, BCC’s director of operations in West Virginia, hosted the 21 participants for a campus tour and short talk about BCC’s residential programing.
“This type of experience is so important as we can show community members what we do, and who we’re advocating for,” Columbia said. “Seeing our actual facility and understanding what treatment looks like helps drive home our mission and the importance of BCC’s role within the community.”

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UMC lantern vigil enlightens Baltimore campus

NEWS_CC_Lanterns
Lanterns like these will blessed and shipped to Africa following UMC’s general conference in Portland May 12.

Started in 1970, Earth Day has become a worldwide effort to give voice to emerging environmental issues.

Nationally, the Earth Day movement hopes to plant 7.8 billion trees and divest from fossil fuels and making large, urban cities more renewable.

At the Board of Child Care, program participants spent some time discussing the link between spirituality and social consciousness, and how that relates to events like Earth Day.United Methodist Church’s Baltimore-Washington Conference participated in, which ties in with the church’s.

Program participants in Baltimore and Martinsburg will construct and decorate lanterns lit by small LED lights. Each lantern will have a short message or prayer written on them.

The BCC Earth Day program ties into a larger effort being taken by the United Methodist Church nationwide. The UMC’s general conference – scheduled for May 12 in Oregon – includes a climate vigil. Lanterns made at BCC will be blessed alongside thousands of other lanterns made across the United States, and ultimately distributed overseas to those in need of light in their homes.

The lanterns – which will include a prayer card – are earmarked for communities in Africa, where in-home lighting is scarce and a lantern with even a small LED light can make a potentially huge impact.

“This is an important project because it teaches our kids about spirituality and social issues, and how both can be intertwined on a daily basis,” Rev. Dr. Stacey Nickerson said. “We can use events like this to make a difference in communities locally as well as abroad.”

For more information on how your church can participate, visit the news blog of the United Methodist Church’s Pacific Northwest region here.

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Career Fair at Board of Child Care April 12, 2016

(As the job fair has already occurred, positions we were interviewing for have been removed.  Please click “Careers” at the top menu of this website to see all open job postings!)

 

Career Fair Open House
Tuesday, April 12, 2016
10:00 AM to 2:00 PM

Welcome Center on the Baltimore Campus
Board of Child Care
3300 Gaither Road, Baltimore, MD 21244 (map & directions)

Are you looking for:

  • Full time work (either salaried or hourly)?
  • A job with benefits such a health insurance, paid time off and sick leave, and matched retirement contributions?
  • A meaningful career where you can see the tangible results of your work and how it helps others?
  • An employer who invests in YOU with paid continuing education, tuition reimbursement program, and staff appreciation days?
  • (Full list of employee benefits available here)

Then join us on Tuesday, April 12, 2016 from 10:00am to 2:00pm!

Make sure you bring:

  • Plenty of copies of your resume
  • Driver’s Licence or other government issued photo ID (required for entry to campus)

All Board of Child Care locations require visitors and vendors to present a driver’s license or government issued photo identification upon arrival. State employees (DHHR, DJS, DSS, DHR, etc.), court employees, and police officers may show their state government ID in place of a driver’s license if they wish.

What to Expect:

Representatives from Human Resources and various Directors and hiring managers from the Baltimore program will be on hand to answer questions and interview selected candidates.

 

(As the job fair has already occurred, positions we were interviewing for have been removed.  Please click “Careers” at the top menu of this website to see all open job postings!)

 

Can’t join us for April 12th?

Check out a full list of open positions at BCC and apply online anytime.  www.boardofchildcare.org/careers

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2015 Children’s Sabbath Workshop Recap

childrens-sabbath-2015-headerHow long must a child cry for help?

That was the question and theme of the Board of Child Care’s second annual Children’s Sabbath workshop, hosted at BCC’s Baltimore campus on Saturday, October 17, 2015.

Rev. Stacey Nickerson, BCC’s Director of Church and Community Engagement, said the program reached attendees on a deeper level.

“There’s a lot of people who don’t understand what children and young adults at BCC have been through, what they’re afflicted by, and what BCC’s programs actually do for them,” said Nickerson,. “The Children’s Sabbath represents so much of who and what we are at Board of Child Care. We are advocates for children who need a voice.”

“It can be transformative when people see firsthand what we do,” said Nickerson, who served as emcee for the workshop. “For most people it’s the first time they’ve been on one of our campuses.”

BCC President & CEO, Laurie Anne Spagnola, attended the program and spoke to the group.

“To have her out there with us was great because she’s one of our biggest assets in a context like that – she’s so engaging,” Nickerson said. “She sits with people, has real conversations, shows genuine interest and makes such a difference for us.”

The celebration moved Eboni Roach, one of the attendees, to offer her thanks in a letter to Spagnola.

“I was just inspired and richly blessed during 2015 Children’s Sabbath,” Roach said. “I am still taking in the impact the meeting has made and what impact it will make for my future.”

During the program, children from Ames Memorial UMC in Baltimore sang in a music ensemble (pictured above) – directed by Rev. Randy Hudson – the same children who attended Camp Life, a camp funded by both a monetary grant and also the use of some BCC social workers and staff from BCC.

A sermon was offered by Rev. Michael A. Parker, II from Ames United Methodist Church in Bel Air, MD (pictured above). Parker‘s perspective was unique because his cousin was a former resident at BCC. Following a served lunch, a panel convened to engage discussion about ending child poverty issues.

Nickerson offered special thanks to Darlynn McCrae, a staffer from the Baltimore Region of the United Methodist Church, Parker and Spagnola.

“One of the things we’re focused on is measuring outcomes … I think events like this help us learn how spirituality fits towards achieving better outcomes,” Nickerson said.

A very special thank you to all the participants who came out for the 2015 Children’s Sabbath Workshop. We hope to see you all again next year!

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