Three heartfelt profiles, a financial snapshot and breakout spread highlight publication
It took months of planning and effort, but the Annual Report is finished!
Even though the report will soon be available in all of our campuses, an electronic PDF is available on our website. The first copies of the report mail out next week. There’s a remittance envelope stitched in every mailed copy, which can easily be torn out and returned with your donation.
At 20 pages cover to cover, the report highlights BCC’s accomplishments in the 2014-15 fiscal year (July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015).
We are incredibly proud of our outcomes this past year! Did you know we served 836 youth in total last year and our employees engaged in almost 16,000 hours of continuing education or training?
The statistics are brought to life by three program participant profiles: two active and one alum.
Our first profile, Ruben H., details his incredible strides towards independence after his breathtaking journey to Baltimore from Honduras. You’ll meet Ricky F., who remembers the not-so-sweet start he had at BCC but now looks in the mirror and says he’s a better person because of the team he’s worked with here. And finally, there’s Maria H., who graduated from our residential program years ago but recently received a continuing education grant from BCC to further her career and support her family.
These are stories worth reading – and if they move you like they moved us – we hope you’ll consider donating. BCC’s high level of professionalism and care, as well as our ability to do more each year comes from the support of donors like you.
The way Ricky F. arrived at the Board of Child Care in 2007 will look nothing like how he will leave.
“We had stopped at McDonald’s for dinner and I was in the car with a cup of sweet tea held between my knees. We hit the speed bump by the front gate and the cup smashed and spilled all over my pants,” Ricky said with a smile. “I had to change in the bathroom right by the front desk.”
Nine years later, he prepares to leave BCC – with clean pants this time, he assures us – ready for living independently. “I was angry at leaving home and having to come live in a home,” Ricky recalls, “but I think a lot of maturity comes with age if you try to grasp it.”
SETBACKS TURN INTO COMEBACKS
“When I met him a year ago, school wasn’t working out the way he hoped and no one was calling him back for the various jobs he applied to,” says Grace Rudatsikira, Ricky’s clinical social worker at BCC. “(Then) everything seemed to align – there was a definite “click” moment.”
What clicked was Ricky’s ability to process what was going on around him. Instead of roller coasting through peaks and valleys, he steadied himself by controlling his emotions.
Now living in BCC’s Colesville, MD group home, Ricky is an accomplished skateboarder and snowboarder. He taught himself how to play guitar – first learning small riffs – before moving on to a few chords and eventually entire songs. His music has been a steady fixture at BCC campus gatherings, holiday parties, and Thanksgiving meals.
Ricky earned a scholarship to High Cascade Camp in Oregon, a week of learning from and interacting with professional snowboarders. “You’d be up 10,000 feet above sea level, the clouds would roll in and you couldn’t see 10 feet in front of your face,” Ricky says. “We’d go down the tail at 30 mph. Amazing.”
“I also still remember my first paycheck…it was $115.36. I bought a wireless router and an X-Box Live subscription,” Ricky says.
When asked what he is most proud of during his time at BCC, Ricky’s answer comes without hesitation. “Being there to cut the ribbon for the skateboard park on campus,” he says quickly. An avid skateboarder (and we must assume an excellent salesperson as well), Ricky’s advocacy for the construction of skateboard parks at the Baltimore and Martinsburg campuses pushed those projects to the finish line in 2014.
“Skateboarding was a huge part of my life when I was in Cottage Four and I figured a skate park would be a great way to get kids some activity, get them out of the way of cars,” Ricky says.
The young boy covered in sweet tea is now a young man who sees himself as a role model for younger residents. Helping them make the same small steps he once struggled with is what makes Ricky smile.
“Having someone to answer questions big and small means a lot,” Ricky says. “You’ll always have more chances to progress forward no matter what situation you’re in but what makes the biggest difference is what you do while you’re here.”
Maria H. can describe her experience at Baltimore’s Board of Child Care with just one word.
BORN A SURVIVOR
To understand Maria’s journey, you first have to acknowledge her reality. After spending her first nine years with biological parents, she spent the next five years of her life in a large orphanage in Siberia. After her two sisters were adopted in 1998, a Maryland family from Baltimore County adopted Maria in 2001.
A survivor of a throwaway culture, however, her struggles would continue for some time. Maria spoke little English and, almost immediately, found difficulty adjusting to her new life with her adopted family. “I moved in with a foster care family temporarily. My adoptive parents wouldn’t take me back in, so I was transferred to foster care permanently and that’s how I arrived at BCC,” Maria said. “I was young, emotional, and not very happy,” Maria admits. “I was upset.”
ART BECAME AN OUTLET
Maria turned to art as an outlet to cope with her new reality. “I’m crafty; I like to make things,” said Maria, who continued to take classes at the nearby Staub art school in Catonsville, MD while living on the Baltimore campus.
“Art became a way to deal with my problems and emotions in a positive way,” she says. “It kept my mind busy. Instead of thinking about the sad things in my life, I turned my feelings to art and that made me feel good about myself.”
FOCUSED ON THE FUTURE
Realizing she had to finish high school if she wanted to succeed, earning her diploma became Maria’s main goal in her late teens. “An education meant that I would have a future, that it would lead me to be successful,” she says. “I didn’t know what I wanted to do after high school, but I knew I needed to finish.”
While completing high school, Maria took a job at Crown Trophy in Owings Mills. After graduation, she went to school to become a dental assistant through a program offered at Howard Community College. The license took six months to acquire; she started working in the field shortly after.
“Maria always knew what she needed to do, and she set her sights on being independent and following through on her goals,” says Nicole Smith, BCC’s Vice-President of Residential Services, who worked with Maria during her
time at BCC. “Once she had her skill set in place, we could all see she was going to flourish.”
10 years have passed since Maria graduated from high school, moved away from BCC and launched her career
as a dental assistant. Now married, she is advancing her career through BCC’s alumni grant program, going back
to school to become a licensed dental hygienist. Perhaps most importantly, Maria looks forward to starting a family of her own one day.
“We don’t have kids yet, but we definitely want them,” Maria said. “We’re waiting for the right time to begin our family.”
The ability to circle a goal, chart a path to achieve it and execute the plan is something she credits Board of Child Care for teaching her, and she plans to fully utilize the skill.
“The program’s helped me to set goals when I needed them the most,” Maria said. “I wouldn’t have achieved this life without BCC.”
Kendra M. never received the childhood every little girl deserves until she came to the Board of Child Care.
Abandoned by her mother at two years old, Kendra’s father struggled with substance abuse. Often transient and sometimes homeless, it was not until Kendra was 11 when someone notified Child Protective Services. Neglect was confirmed; Kendra was placed into foster care.
Kendra was welcomed to BCC by a small army of support staff and responded very well to the program. With an individualized treatment plan in place, Kendra was able to work through her past trauma, make academic progress, and blossom through the healing relationships she experienced at BCC.
Kendra’s transformation led her to BCC’s community-based group homes in Martinsburg, WV. She became an honor roll student, a regular at spiritual worship, and advocated for herself and others at “The Landing,” a local teen recovery ministry.
After almost four years of many laughs — and a few tears, too — Kendra bid BCC farewell. Bittersweet because it meant saying goodbye to a recovery filled with good memories, but celebrated as she continues her march towards happiness and independence.
“A story like Kendra’s is the reason we do this work,” says Jacqueline Columbia, BCC’s Director of West Virginia Operations. “Helping change a child’s life positively not only impacts the child, but has a positive impact on an entire community.”