Fun In The Sun!

Car washes, book sales, picnics and all things summer at BCC!

CarWash1With the temperature rising and school out, BCC’s residents have been busy with summer programming.

Many of BCC’s residential population attends summer school, and for those who do not, the various summer programs that keep the youth active, engaged, and productive.

The community service program on the Baltimore Campus is run by BCC’s Spiritual Life Department, consists of five girls and seven boys, and meets to work on projects that benefit the community. One of the most recent projects was to bake and deliver homemade cookies to the local police precinct.

This project was important to BCC’s staff because of recent events throughout the country.  Some youth at BCC have not had positive interactions with law enforcement and the simple act of baking and delivering cookies provided an opportunity to start a dialogue and build new relationships.   PoliceJP

Work program coordinator, Clifford Guest, invited BCC employees to get their cars washed by the residents.  It taught the youth teamwork and other soft skills needed for success in the workplace.  Proceeds from the car wash will help offset the cost of the trip to Six Flags scheduled for later this summer.  Youth in the work program also partner with the maintenance team.  Most begin in housekeeping and some move up to shadowing maintenance technicians.

“Our kids enjoy working hands on while gaining a valuable work experience they can transfer to a full-time job or the ability to care for their own automobile,” Guest said. “Being able to treat someone or someone else’s property like you would treat your own are skills future employers want to see. The kids bond with one another and they learn the value in an honest day’s work.”

Other work program activities included creating a volleyball court on BCC’s Baltimore campus, relocating furniture and books from the now-closed North Carroll High school to Strawbridge School, and preparing the new girls semi-independent house in Reisterstown, MD for its opening this month.

The recreation program challenged the youth with nature hikes, the ropes course, swimming and competitive sports games.

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Moore-Koikoi confirmed as Bishop by UMC

BCC Board Member receives honor at Jurisdictional Conference July 15

Moore-Koikoi Elected BishopRev. Cynthia Moore-Koikoi, a member of the Board of Directors of the Board of Child Care since 2013, was elected to Bishop in the United Methodist Church July 13.

Her appointment became official during a Consecration ceremony July 15, where she received her assignment to the Pittsburg Area (Western PA Conference).  She will begin September 1, 2016.

“Just like we would for our staff and our participants, we celebrate the amazing achievement by Rev. Cynthia Moore-Koikoi ,” said Laurie Anne Spagnola, BCC’s President and CEO. “We wish her well as she begins her new assignment.  We were very lucky to have her on our Board.”

Before earning status as bishop-elect, Moore-Koikoi was superintendent of the Baltimore-Metropolitan District.  She played a pivotal spiritual role within the city following the unrest surrounding the death of Freddie Gray in police custody in 2015.

The current Bishop of the Baltimore-Washington conference, Bishop Marcus Matthews, retires August 31, 2016, after 42 years in ministry. BCC wishes Bishop Matthews well in his retirement and extends our congratulations to the newly elected Bishop LaTrelle Miller Easterling, who was appointed Bishop Matthew’s replacement.  Bishop Easterling is from the New England Conference and BCC looks forward to welcoming her this fall!  Like her predecessors, Bishop Easterling will be invited to join BCC’s board of directors or make a suggestion for a UMC representative to take her place.

BCC is delighted that Bishop Peggy Johnson of the Philadelphia Area will remain assigned to the Peninsula-Delaware and Eastern Pennsylvania Conferences and, therefore, remain on BCC’s Board.  Congratulations Bishop Johnson!

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Tim H.: A 2016 graduation success story

How ‘Haystacks’ has overcome loss to achieve his goals

Tim pic with borderIn the giving mood? Great, because while summer school is open, the traditional school year is just weeks away.

This past June, Tim H., a Strawbridge graduate, authored and delivered an amazing graduation speech. You can read about that here and check out the Back to School Appeal at!  To our donors and volunteers, thanks for everything you do!

It is our honor to share with you an abbreviated version of his speech.   His transformation into adulthood includes overcoming a significant loss in his life.

“On April 9, 2014, I got off the school bus on the Baltimore campus, and it was just like any other day.  As I walked in and approached my cottage, there was staff everywhere.  One of the staff members took me aside and she said, “Tim, I am so sorry…your mother is at the Penn State Hospital. She’s suffering liver failure.” 

A few hours after we arrived at the hospital the nurse let everyone know: my Mom was going off life support.   

When I returned to the Baltimore campus, I felt a sense of comfort from not only the staff members, but the residents as well, which made this event easier to bear.

A few months later I moved to BCC’s semi-independent living program in Hagerstown, MD.  Throughout my time at BCC, I have grown to know the staff like they are family, and have felt a great deal of support and love. 

I have also accomplished many feats, including gaining vital work experience, life skills, financial literacy, social skills, and am now a high school graduate!  The truth is that if you stick with the program, and put faith in staff, nothing but success is in your future.”

Your support of the Back to School campaign helps students graduate and set them up for future success.

Tim was awarded several scholarships to continue his education at Hagerstown Community College.  He hopes to work as a team member in the National Parks Service.

We hope Tim’s story inspires you the way your kindness and generosity has touched so many of our youth.

P.S.  Our class of 2017 seniors are ready to put in the work this year.  Will you help us get them across the stage in June?  Donate easily and securely online at

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Second annual staff appreciation picnic fun for all!

The second annual staff appreciation picnic blurb took place July 20, and was an unqualified success!

There was BBQ, the band Tropical Soul, an amazing race obstacle course, but most of all the day represented a chance to relax and mingle with staff members across BCC locations.

Movies played in the Conference Center for those who wanted to beat the heat, including the Lego movie and Despicable Me 2.

Other activities included a large water slide, water balloon toss, a photo booth, face-painting, beach volleyball, Double-Dutch jump rope, a Hula Hoop contest, Corn Hole, and other outdoor games.

OMHCPicnic Picnic1 Amazing Race - Yuriy vs KristineGIMP
BobbyPCornMan OMHCPicnic2 Lunch1
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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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Thank You to Jan Hayden and Terry Sawyer!

Both individuals have served on BCC’s Board of Directors for a number of years. Their terms conclude at the end of June.

Jan Hayden: 2001-2016

Jan Hayden PhotoBCC’s chairperson of the Board of Directors since July 1, 2013, Jan Hayden has been one of the most visible faces of the board and on campus during her 16-year tenure.

Notable during her tenure is the leadership transition Hayden oversaw when current President and CEO, Laurie Anne Spagnola, came onboard July 1, 2014.

“I’ve had the pleasure and honor to serve this organization under her leadership. She’s a big part of the progress we’ve already made and will continue to make going forward,” Spagnola said at the Strawbridge School commencement exercises at Loyola University Maryland June 9.

Perhaps her greatest asset to the Board was her visibility and grace. Hayden was a regular attendee at graduations, holiday celebrations and other special events. She afforded every program participant respect, the occasional sweet treat, or tickets to an Orioles game.

Close at hand and heart, there was Jan Hayden.

Terry Sawyer: 2007-2016

Terry Sawyer Headshot for Board article - TightCropJoining BCC’s Board of Directors was initially driven by a chance referral from one of Terry’s professional peers (who was at the time a current BCC board member).

BCC’s mission moved Sawyer to accept the challenge, saying, “I’m convinced BCC is a place the world needs.”

Sawyer chaired the personnel committee and even delivered the commencement address to Strawbridge School graduates in 2015 when the scheduled speaker failed to appear.

“That was the thrill of a lifetime, to be able to speak to the kids and be part of one of the most memorable nights of their lives,” Sawyer said.

Sawyer points to the friends and colleagues he has made during his time on the board as another fond memory and hopes they last well beyond his service. He points to a deeper, more intimate understanding of what it truly takes to care for a child whom society and circumstances have not been either fair or kind to.

“It has been an honor to be a part of this organization and will always remain a firm believer in its mission,” Sawyer said.

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Troop 509 rocks foster fair to benefit BCC

girl scouts group shotHoward County pack scores 25 blankets, 65 duffles for our youth

When most people think of the Girl Scouts, they think about cookies. So what do Girl Scouts think about? Thankfully, for their Bronze Star project, Girl Scout Troop 509 thought about the Board of Child Care!

girl_scout_ginger_snap_by_ced75With a focus on the foster care community, Troop 509 organized a foster fair to raise awareness about foster care and to collect donations to benefit the children at BCC. During the event, Troop 509 collected over 65 duffle bags and over 25 blankets were created for BCC’s youth.

Jennifer Rankin, an attorney representing one of our youth at BCC’s Hagerstown group home with a daughter in Troop 509, and Libby Palumbo, a senior childcare worker, were instrumental in organizing the event. On the backend of the event, Rankin and Chad Bikle, Unit Supervisor for the Hagerstown Group Home, joined Palumbo to wrap up the donation process and make sure BCC received the items collected.

“Engaging with our communities is important, and this story highlights the kind of core values we’re seeking from our employees and stakeholders,” BCC President and CEO Laurie Anne Spagnola said.

The troop is from Howard County and is comprised of middle school-aged girls, or Cadets, in the language of Girl Scouts. The youngest girls begin as Daisies or Brownies and later graduate into Junior and Cadet programs. For high school girls, Senior and Ambassador programs are available.

Palumbo, a recent recipient of BCC’s Core Values Awardee for Impact, met with the young ladies prior to the event, educating them about BCC, the organization’s purpose, and the challenges BCC’s youth face.

“Being able to share with these young ladies the challenges our youth face was a privilege,” Palumbo said. “To see the outpouring from the community – in response to the effort these girls put forth – and be an ambassador for the Board of Child Care was nothing short of wonderful.”

Girl Scout donation 01

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The following press releases were sent to local newsgathering partners and campuses June 27, 2016. Readers will find graduation information from Baltimore, Strawbridge School, Martinsburg, WV and Denton, MD.

2016 BCC Graduation Releases 2016-07-11

For any additional information, please contact Mr. Kristian Sekse, V.P of Communications, at 443-845-4395 (cell). Additionally, readers can email Board of Child Care’s Communications Dept. at

About Board of Child Care

Enriching communities, one family at a time, BCC’s $27 million annual budget provides programs across the Mid-Atlantic. Offerings include residential care, treatment foster care, early childhood education, therapeutic counseling, adoption information and referral, and a special education school. Headquartered in Baltimore, BCC operates facilities and group homes throughout Maryland and the Eastern Shore, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia.

To learn more, visit



Contact: Kristian Sekse
443-845-4395 (C)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – June 27, 2016 — The Board of Child Care’s Early Learning Program, located in the Southeast (SE) quadrant of Washington, D.C., has earned accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) – the nation’s leading organization of early childhood centers.

This approval follows the Board of Child Care’s certification in February from the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) and last month’s license for the West Virginia campus in Martinsburg to offer Functional Family Therapy (FFT).

BCC REPORT CARD W MEAN SCORE NAEYCBCC earned outstanding scores within the 10 NAEYC program standards the ELP was judged and evaluated upon. NAEYC awarded BCC 100 percent marks in five categories, 96 percent or better in two other standards, giving BCC a mean score of 95.8!

“NAEYC is the gold standard and recognized nationally for quality early learning programs like ours,” said Cora Jackson, Assistant Program Director of the DC ELP. “It says that our program is a place where all children can learn, grow and thrive, because of our exciting and rich learning environments, nurturing, engaging, and knowledgeable teaching staff, and committed families.”

The NAEYC certificate, conferred June 6, 2016, is valid through July 1, 2021. The certificate is based upon evaluated proficiency in 10 program standards, each group or classroom observed during a site visit, as well as all candidacy and other required criteria. The required criteria include scoring 80 percent or better for each program standard and 70 percent or better for each classroom or group observed.

“What these numbers tell me is we’re very successful at what we do and justifies why we have a waiting list to get into the program in DC,” said Laurie Anne Spagnola, BCC’s President and CEO. “It also means we have some outstanding programming in place to enrich the children and families we serve, and that is most important.”

To earn NAEYC accreditation, the Board of Child Care went through an extensive self-study process, measuring the program and its services against 10 NAEYC Early Childhood Program Standards and more than 400 related accreditation criteria. Additionally, NAEYC assessors conducted an on-site visit. NAEYC-accredited programs are also subject to unannounced visits during their five-year accreditation.

In the 25 years since NAEYC Accreditation was established, it has become a widely recognized sign of high quality early childhood education. NAEYC validates 7,000 programs, or just approximately eight percent of all preschools and other early childhood programs.

About the Board of Child Care

Enriching communities, one family at a time, BCC’s $27 million annual budget provides programs across the Mid-Atlantic. Offerings include residential care, treatment foster care, early childhood education, therapeutic counseling, adoption information and referral, and a special education school. Headquartered in Baltimore, BCC operates facilities and group homes throughout Maryland and the Eastern Shore, WV and D.C.

To learn more, visit


Download a PDF of this news release


Mathis posthumously receives MANSEF award June 6

DSC_6080Jim Mathis, who served on the Board of Directors for the Board of Child Care for 19 years, will be honored June 6 with the 2016 Distinguished Citizen Award from the Maryland Association of Nonpublic Special Education Facilities (MANSEF).

Mathis died July 15, 2015 at age 78 and grew up in the Strawbridge home in Eldersburg, MD. His widow, Lois Mathis will accept the award on his behalf. Two of Mathis’s brothers and his daughter, Amy, plan to attend the ceremony.

Mathis was profiled May 24 in the Carroll County Times by reporter Jon Kelvey. Read the entire article here. Mathis was featured on Page 19 of the Board of Child Care’s 2015 Annual Report, which is available for download here.

Described as “the ultimate advocate and volunteer for BCC during his lifetime,” in that 2015 annual report, Mathis led several committees and served a term as chairman, and was the driving force behind the Strawbridge alumni program.

A residential cottage was named in Mathis’s honor in 2012 and the Jim and Lois Mathis Award For Service and Community Scholarship is given annually to a current program participant.

Mathis believed in education above all else and would often visit the campus and encourage BCC’s children to persevere and to seek a diploma despite the difficulties they experience, his own life serving as a sterling example. He gifted plenty of financial resources to BCC over the years, none greater than a kind and gentle spirit to all he encountered, especially the children who are part of the Strawbridge School, the namesake of his childhood home with BCC.

Mathis was a regular at events or graduations, reminding all of us that commitment to our children sends a clear message of love and respect.

MANSEF is a professional association of publicly-funded private schools. The Distinguished Citizen Award is given annually and has traditionally recognized a board member, stakeholder or volunteer at one of the member schools within the association who has demonstrated a willingness to exceed expectations in fulfilling the mission of the organization he or she represents.

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