The 2015 Annual Report is Here!

Three heartfelt profiles, a financial snapshot and breakout spread highlight publication

2015 Annual Report Cover
Click the image to download the full report

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.

Read more from The 2015 Annual Report is Here!

Ruban H. – A Life Reborn Through Belief

ruban-hHanging out with friends, listening to music, and playing sports – markers of typical teenage life – were things Ruben H. could only dream of in Honduras.

“It’s hard to make people understand what it’s like in Honduras, but I’m OK with telling it,” Ruben says. “I want to help people understand why I left.”

A RISK WORTH TAKING

Ruben escaped violent cartel drug trade, human exploitation and ransom kidnappings by walking from his village of Dolores in the Honduran state of Copán. He was just 14.

“Tell the truth and you’re in trouble,” Ruben says. “Because I saw people stealing things, other people wanted to kill me.”

Walking from Honduras, through Guatemala and into Mexico – a grueling trek of 800 miles by road or longer if by trail or field – Ruben and other migrants boarded the Ruta Golfo, a freight train running along Mexico’s Gulf Coast.

Filled with migrants sitting in cargo beds or atop boxcars with no protection from the elements, the trains are rife with criminals seeking victims for kidnapping ransoms.

“One night I huddled for warmth with a stranger so I didn’t die from the cold,” Ruben says. “If I was crying or feeling sad, I asked God to take care of me.”

On August 1, 2012, wearing nothing but the clothes he traveled over 1,000 miles in, Ruben waded across the Rio Grande River into the United States.

ruban-h-travel-map
Click to open a full size image

TOURING AMERICA

Almost immediately, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) took Ruben into custody, kicking off a 26-month, five-state tour of residential foster care facilities. In October 2014, Ruben entered Caminos, BCC’s program for unaccompanied children. Titled to honor the Spanish translation for “journey,” Caminos offered short-term shelter, medical care and case management support while youth awaited reunification with family or a sponsor.

BCC’s challenge initially was paperwork – without citizenship papers or a birth certificate, Ruben could not apply for a visa – and because he wasn’t 18, he could not stay in the United States. Viviana Camacho, Ruben’s BCC case manager, called the Honduran State Department several times a day for two weeks to unravel Ruben’s riddle.

Camacho had to get creative, too. “We drew a map, discovered Ruben’s hometown and ran an announcement on a local Honduran radio station,” Camacho says. “Someone heard it and told his mother. That was the break we needed.”

“That was maybe the best day of my life,” Ruben says of hearing his mother’s voice for the first time in three years. “My mother was so happy to hear me.”

FINALLY, SOME GRACE

Armed with his birth certificate and with help from a DC law firm, Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights (CAIR), BCC helped Ruben qualify as a Child In Need of Assistance (CINA). That meant Ruben could stay in the United States instead of banishment back to Honduras when he turned 18.

Ruben embraced American culture. He played striker on his Baltimore County high school soccer team. He has made friends while taking hold of American culture. He learned to text in English, and has written close to 70 songs in Spanish.

Ruben believes his life has purpose thanks to the Board of Child Care. “In America, I’m not facing the danger I feared in Honduras,” Ruben says. “I’ve already done the hardest part. I’m at BCC because I believe God
wanted me to make a good decision.”

This story originally appeared in our 2015 Annual Report.  Click here to read all past annual reports.

Board of Child Care was operating the Caminos program in partnership with the Federal Government.  The grant has since concluded and the Caminos program is no longer offered at BCC. Read the full article here

caminos-call-out-stat
Read more from Ruban H. – A Life Reborn Through Belief

Ricky M. – Skating Past Obstacles

ricky-m-alumni-profileThe 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.

FONDEST MEMORIES

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.

GIVING BACK

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.”

This story first appeared in our 2015 Annual Report (see all past annual reports here). 

Read more from Ricky M. – Skating Past Obstacles

Maria H. – Hope Drove Her to Succeed

maria-h-alumni-profileMaria H. can describe her experience at Baltimore’s Board of Child Care with just one word.

Hope.

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.”

LIFE TODAY

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.”

This article originally appeared in BCC’s 2015 Annual Report (click to view all annual reports).

Did You Know?
Thanks to its donors, Board of Child Care funded $21,702 in continuing education for its alumni in FY 2015!

Read more from Maria H. – Hope Drove Her to Succeed

Kendra M. – A Childhood Restored

kendra-m-alumni-profileKendra 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.”

This story originally appeared in BCC’s 2015 Annual Report (see all past annual reports).

Editor’s note:
The name of the program participant has been changed and stock photography utilized to protect confidentiality.

Did you know?
Due to past success, the Martinsburg group home added a third cottage to the property in FY 2015 (read the newsletter article).

Read more from Kendra M. – A Childhood Restored