Celebrating Black History Month

The BCC Compass – February 2023

As we are in the cusp of Black History Month, I am once again in awe of the amazing attributes that the Black community has given to our society and my heart aches for the walls and injustices that were put in the way. It reminds me that we must continue to make choices that aid in breaking down those walls and to continue to listen and tell the stories of the past and support members of the community.

Some of you might have watched movies depicting stories you might not have heard of before. A few years ago, I watched “Hidden Figures” and was amazed about the impact that African-American women had on the NASA space program. And at the same time, I was disheartened that I did not learn about these stories in school nor was it common knowledge.

Lt. Gen. Frank Petersen, first African American Marine Corps aviator, Vietnam War Vet, and first African American Marine General Officer once shared his story with me about returning back to the Naval Air Base in Pensacola Florida from fighting in Vietnam, only to be told he had to sit in the back of the bus.

During a trip to South Africa, I had met Themba, who was imprisoned on Robben Island with Nelson Mandela because of his fight against the apartheid government. Yet, so many years later he spoke of forgiveness and reconciliation as a tool to heal what was done wrong to him.

So many of these stories resonate with the thread of perseverance and the desire to achieve, despite the circumstances that surrounded them.

We continue to hear stories of those who rise above their circumstances, and we should remember and embrace these lived experiences. They are to be celebrated.

Our challenge is not to settle.

Our challenge is to continue to be disturbed by the current strifes and circumstances facing the Black community or any community that has been marginalized. Continue to support the community with our presence, gifts, and voice. Be prepared to have an open heart and mind to listen and accept.

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Board of Child Care Awarded Grant to Support Strengthening Families Program in Central Pennsylvania

MECHANICSBURG, PA (January 2023) — The Greater Harrisburg Community Foundation has awarded a grant to the Board of Child Care to sponsor the Strengthening Families Program in Central Pennsylvania.

The Strengthening Families Program – a partnership between Cumberland County Drug and Alcohol Commission, Dickinson College, and Board of Child Care – is a free, community-based, family-friendly prevention program available to families in Mechanicsburg, Cumberland County, and surrounding communities.

The program provides families with enhanced parenting techniques to build transformative generational life skill changes that strengthen family bonds. This is achieved by working with parents on their parenting skills and helping youth (ages 10-14) with decision-making, life skills, conflict resolution, and peer pressure.

Participants meet one evening each week for seven weeks, beginning with a group meal. Facilitators meet separately with parents and youth to work on specific topics ranging from coping skills to goal setting, conflict resolution, empathy, understanding developmental changes, avoiding substance abuse, and ways to show love and support. Then, participants reconnect, talk about the new skills they learned, and practice decision-making and joint problem-solving skills through role-playing.

“This program provides the tools, language, and safe environment families need to rebuild positive relationships,” said Laurie Anne Spagnola, BCC President and CEO.

“We are so excited to partner with Cumberland County Drug and Alcohol Commission and Dickinson College to bring this program back as an offering to the community in Central PA and we are grateful to the Greater Harrisburg Community Foundation for helping to make it possible.”

About the Board of Child Care

The Board of Child Care is a private, 501(c)3 not-for-profit that has been serving youth and their families for over 145 years. The organization’s history is rooted in faith, with its early beginnings being several orphanages operated by the United Methodist Church throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Following several mergers, first in 1960 and another in 2019, it is known today as the Board of Child Care. With a staff of 700+, an annual budget around $50 million, and its network of partners, BCC supports communities via a national footprint of programs that extend across the Eastern half of the United States. Its broad spectrum of services to youth and their families include residential, mental/behavioral health, trauma response, family support, and education. To learn more or see how you can get involved, visit boardofchildcare.org.

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40 Days of Positivity 2023 Calendar

Join Board of Child Care on this year’s journey towards 40 days of positivity!

To encourage our team and community to strive for positivity, we developed an activity calendar with 40 days of prompts modeled around the core values of BCC. Together, we will once again make a commitment this year to practice positivity and be kind to others—as well as ourselves.

In addition, this year we will are facilitating an Imago Dei Lenten Bible Study. A five-week study written in the style of Lectio Divina—a four-step process where the community comes together to read, meditate, pray, and contemplate—our goal is to celebrate diversity, equity, and inclusion through the lens of the Holy Spirit.

To help in this endeavor, we have developed a 40 day calendar with prompts for thoughts and actions modeled around the core values of BCC. We encourage everyone to participate in this as a joint effort for team members, residents, and our surrounding communities.

Ready to get started? Download these resources:

View Calendar Ver Calendario

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Foster Care Youth Panel Blog Post written by SIL Program Participant

The Board of Child Care provides youth with various opportunities to network and express their experiences while in foster care. Below is the story written by one of our youth who participated in panel discussion with other Maryland Foster Care Youth

When I was asked to participate in the MARFY foster care panel, I didn’t have to think twice about giving an astounding “Yes!”. I always enjoy talking about my foster care experiences and giving feedback on what works  and what needs improvement. While participating in the panel, I was asked questions such as “How is my therapy going” and “how am I able to calm down when I’m escalated”, and my overarching response was relationships. At the Board of Child Care, I have formed strong relationships with Child Care Workers who understand me and want to see me succeed.

The panel also consisted of a networking session where I was able to exchange contact information with various stakeholders who will be able to help me achieve my personal and career goals, and gave me an opportunity to connect with the Maryland Foster Care Ombudsman who is always available to offer me support and resources when needed. I am so grateful to have been given this opportunity and hope to be able to attend this panel event next year!




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40 Days of Positivity: Congratulations

If you are able and would like to join with our youth in Baltimore in celebrating, you are welcome to come to the Chapel on Wednesday, April 18 from 4:15 until 5:00 p.m. Mr. Shawn will be hosting a small reception.  We will have certificates for all of our participants.  If you would like me to email one to you, please reply to me with your request.

If you cannot join us in person, please pause wherever you are and offer a moment of gratitude to God for yourself and for all of our BCC family!  I will be in BWI Airport, most likely, at that time – but please know that I will be expressing my gratitude with intention.

Keep up the positive actions and positive thoughts!
I will be sending more emails of encouragement.  Remember, you may opt out from receiving them whenever you wish.

May the beauty and promise of the butterfly inspire us to embrace change with courage, joy and gratitude!
God’s Blessings to you,

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Our final week brings us to the fourth core value of BCC:

Aim for Impact.  In other words, we are striving to make a difference.

I invite you to look back over your calendar of these last few weeks.
Does any one action stand out for you?  Spirtual
Where were you most challenged?
How have you grown?
What will you do now?

Imagine with me the cumulative effect of all of our positive actions and thoughts blessed by God’s grace.  Thank you!

May God multiply our impact for the good of young people and their families in our communities and in our world.

With hope –

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It is important to remember that feeling empathy and compassion for others and our selves leads to action if we are to have an impact.

I offer this prayer from a Native American tradition:

Oh, Great Spirit,
Help me to remain calm and strong
in the face of all that comes toward me.
Let me learn the lessons you have hidden
in every leaf and rock.
Help me seek pure thoughts and act
with the intention of helping others.
Help me find compassion
without empathy overwhelming me.
-Great Spirit Prayer

We hold you in our prayers and compassionate intentions.
On behalf of the Spiritual Life Team

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Halfway to 40

You are halfway to the goal of 40 days of positive actions and thoughts.  Keep up the great effort!

This past Sunday I preached at my home church and shared about our 40 day effort in living with a commitment to positive actions and thoughts.  I am learning so much myself each day and I appreciate each one of you who have taken the pledge of positivity.

From the Christian tradition, I would like to share a portion of the scripture lesson we used on Sunday in worship:

If anything is excellent and
if anything is admirable,
focus your thoughts on these things:
all that is true,
all that is holy,
all that is just,
all that is pure,
all that is lovely,
and all that is worthy of praise.
Practice these things …
The God of peace will be with you.

Philippians 4:8-9, Common English Bible

I am grateful that we have today – another opportunity for kindness and for positive actions and thoughts embodying our core values of safety and integrity.  More to come …

Peace to you this day as you strive to be kind to yourself and kind to others

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