Boys and Girls Homes Blog

   
 Car driving down a forest road It's Real Out Here!

By Mike Garrell

Recently I was strolling across Boys and Girls Homes campus and I bumped into one of our recent graduates. He left our campus in late June to attend college and this was late July. This young man had come to us with a large attitude and passive defiance to authority.

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 Rev. John Cobb Classic TV, B&GH, and the Definition of Family

By Rev. John Cobb

I have been walking around all day singing the theme song from a TV from my childhood. Let's see if you can fill in the blanks...

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 Labels word art Labels hurt, labels heal

By Melissa Hopkins

Rich. Poor. Southerner. Midwesterner. Urbanite. Farmer. First Responder. Victim. How we label a group of people impacts our view of them and how we interact or respond to them. Labels can elevate or put down even without a particular intent. We may even label ourselves.

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 New blue baby shoes Six-Word Story

From the Spiritual Development Team

It was dark. Dingy. Likely, a place where you may not wander. But it was there, as the urban legend goes, that a group of renowned writers were sitting, imbibing both drink and inspiration.

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 Cluttered room Chaos!

By Ray Cockrell

We all experience times of chaos in our lives.  Right now for my family it is in our home.  My college junior is home for the summer and has moved in with all his belongings and his new found independence.  My youngest is preparing to leave for his first year of college and is busy with working, packing and preparing.  Our home is in chaos!  We are not anxious for our children to leave for college, yet we are anxious to get our home organized and uncluttered.  We need structure.

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 When you are comfortable, the very act of dreaming stops you from actually achieving anything. Mark Cole Dreaming Achievement

By Dr. Geraldine Bradshaw

“When you are comfortable, the very act of dreaming stops you from actually achieving anything.”

Mark Cole

At Thomas Academy, we encourage our students to dream about their future. But that is just the first step, because we then challenge each student to take action toward achieving that future. This is an uncomfortable growth process, but we are here to guide them to success.

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 Girl unpacking a travel bag Broken Promises

By Melissa Hopkins

For a variety of reasons, the promised trip couldn’t happen. It hurt to tell my daughters and watch the excitement in their eyes fade. They understood, but their disappointment was clear as they started to unpack the bags they’d so carefully packed over a period of days to ensure nothing would be forgotten.

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 Teenagers jumping on the beach Get Ready...Summer is Here!

By David Passmore

When the teenage years arrive, behavioral issues become far more difficult to manage than when your kids were younger. Things once black and white become confounding shades of grey. When a teenager experiences emotional distress, you can’t always fix it with a hug. When they display disturbing behavior, simple behavior management strategies, like taking away the cell phone, don’t always work.

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 Redwood forest Strength of a Redwood

By Melissa Hopkins

"Can anyone in this room tell me the largest living thing on the planet?" asked Grady Little during the 2019 Sandhills Benefit Luncheon and Silent Auction to support the children of Boys and Girls Homes of North Carolina.

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 Graduates tossing their caps Marking the Milestones of Life

By Mike Garrell

It is a tradition in most cultures to mark the milestones in a person’s life. In our culture, we celebrate with gifts and a sense of excitement when a mother is expecting a child. When a child is born, the family gathers to celebrate new life. As a child grows we celebrate birthdays and mark the years of physical and emotional growth. In school we celebrate graduations; pre-school, grade school, middle school and finally high school.

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 A girl screaming Finding Your Voice

By Melissa Hopkins

On a recent drive home from school, my daughter was complaining about a decision made by the teachers.

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 A woman and a man talking Someone to L-I-S-T-E-N

By Rev. John Cobb

Having done this work for many years our most important tool, used daily, is listening. Every situation with the kids we serve, or the adults we work with, requires the use of this tool. We don't listen to respond, but we really listen because that is what the children need most.

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 Bible on the altar "Speak Life"

From the Spiritual Development Team

Our Spiritual Development and Chapel Ministry Team contributes a key part to B&GH’s mission of a comprehensive and integrated approach to reach the needs of our children. The following is an excerpt from a speech recently presented at our Grace Promotion by one of our children and shared with their permission.

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 Two students welding Connection

By Ray Cockrell

I recently walked around the Boys and Girls Homes (B&GH) campus with a few visitors and was talking with them about our program and the positive work we are doing for children.  As we approached the farm area on our campus, I reflected on two brothers who were here when I first arrived that absolutely had a passion for the farm.  They had horses they cared for and had ribbons and trophies from shows in which they had participated.  The Farm is where they made the connection to B&GH and our program of healing and care.

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St. James Service Club Flea Market
The Heart of Giving

By Mike Garrell

Each year a small local organization awards funds to Boys and Girls Homes along with about twenty other non-profits who are making lives better in our corner of Southeastern NC. Their efforts may never make the state or national news, but they represent the heart of giving and service.

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 Definition of hope  Hope

By Dr. Geraldine Bradshaw

Hope – noun - a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.

Hope – archaic -  a feeling of trust.

Hope – verb - want something to happen or be the case.

The definitions of hope are profound.

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 Little girl pouring milk into a friend's glass Parentified Children

By Abbigail Roberts

In December we celebrate the birth of Jesus, in July we celebrate independence, and in May we celebrate mothers. Some women become mothers by carrying a baby in their belly and dedicating the rest of their life to ensuring the baby's needs for love, safety, and belonging are met. Some women become mothers by carrying a child in their heart before ever meeting them and provide them with love, safety, and belonging through the foster/adoption process. Regardless of how motherhood fell upon you, in May, we celebrate you; and rightfully so!

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 Boy blowing gum bubble

Let us go back to chewing gum

By David Passmore

I remember when I was in public school (it’s not that long ago!) the most horrendous crimes a student could commit were fairly simple:

  • running in the hallway during the exchange of classes,
  • yelling in the hallway,
  • smoking in the bathroom,
  • talking back to a teacher;
  • and, finally, chewing gum!

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Many Voices

By Mike Garrell

I was recently privileged to attend a "Voices for Children" breakfast hosted by NC Child. Boys and Girls Homes is a strong advocate of the work and mission of NC Child so we were invited to honor the work of some of the state's most dedicated childcare advocates.


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 Evil queen looking in a mirror

"Mirror, Mirror on the wall..."

By Rev. John Cobb

An evil queen, standing in front of the mirror, utters that famous question, seeking affirmation of her outward appearance. Sadly, she didn't like the response.


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 Plastic Easter eggs

Empty

From the Spiritual Development Team

Many remember Paul Harvey's radio broadcasts - his News and Comment and The Rest of the Story -- from the 1950s and the 1990s. Here is an excerpt from one of his beloved broadcasts.


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Revisiting Life On Display

By Donna Yalch

Last week I was heading to our office in Kinston on Highway 41. Back in the fall, after Hurricane Florence, the devastation on this road was horrific. People's lives were out on the road and it was obvious that people were not able to live in their home.


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 Women getting their hair done at a beauty salon

Beauty Connection

By Melissa Hopkins

Every Friday as long as I can remember, my grandmother went to the salon for her weekly beauty appointment. Monica, her beautician, would set Grandma's hair and do her nails.


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 Lake House Children's Princess Painting

Impact

By Melissa Hopkins

Do you ever wonder about the impact you can have on the life of a child?

Let me tell you a story about the impact the Janet Mitchell Winstead Lake House program had on the life of Renée.

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 Maslow's hierarchy of needs

When is safe, safe?

By David Passmore

Sanctuary is a beautiful word. Sanctuary is defined as a place of refuge or safety. I wonder how people feel or react when they hear the word sanctuary.

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 MLK photo with quote on B&GH podium

"I have a dream..."

By Gary Faircloth

When Martin Luther King evoked these words in front of the Lincoln Memorial, he rallied all of us to realize we need to stop and reach out to others regardless of any differences.

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 House in deep flood waters

An Answer to Prayer

By Mike Garrell

My brother-in-law likes to tell a story about how God answers prayers but how we need to be ready to recognize the answer to prayer. It is a familiar story.

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 Clemson Tiger Football Victory Walk

"Culture Matters"

By Rev. John Cobb

If you hang around me for any period of time, you will know that I am a diehard Clemson Tiger fan. Head coach Dabo Swinney has accomplished amazing things with the young men he has recruited. If you asked him why, he would tell you that it is an outcome of the culture that you create.

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 A phone with low battery on a charger

An Incomplete Charge

By Melissa Hopkins

Have you ever put your phone on a charger and returned after a significant time to find the charge incomplete?

I have - three times in the past few weeks. I found myself annoyed and frustrated. While I have taken the steps to prevent that frustration from happening again, it got me thinking about our children and families in care through Boys and Girls Homes.

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Are You A Missionary

By Gary Greene

If you've ever heard me addressing a civic club or district meeting, you have probably heard me talk about how our children come from all corners of our state.

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 Rose Window, Altar and Bible

What the Lord Means to Me

Spiritual development is one of the needs Boys and Girls Homes of North Carolina commits to addressing in our mission statement. The following essay was written to Pastor Joe and our ministry team by one of our residents. It is used with their permission.

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 Having someone to love is family

Family

By Ray Cockrell

It is that time of year when we often think of family and enjoy spending time with our loved ones. As the years roll on, I become more aware of the importance of family and just what it means. So many of the children in our care have no concept of what a family is supposed to be; so we strive to create a family environment in each of our cottages. We talk often about the Boys and Girls Homes Family - but what does that mean?

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Ghost of Christmas for children in care a B&GH Christmas Carol title slide

Ghosts of Christmas

By Rev. John Cobb

Ghosts of Christmas for kids in care a B&GH "Christmas Carol" isn't a story about some stingy "Scrooge", but is instead a look through the eyes of a "Tiny Tim" told in a visual format.

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 Best day ever handmade ornament

Christmas Spirit Flo(w)

By Tracey Natale

Hurricane Flo may have hit our area hard but it did not crush our Christmas spirit. Hurricane Florence wreaked havoc in our area September 2018. Our Boys and Girls Homes residential campus, as well as many of our licensed foster homes, were affected by this massive storm system that flooded our communities. Many people were left without power for days and homes were flooded. However, this natural disaster did not keep us down for long. In the days immediately following this storm, people came together to help support the communities devastated.

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 Boy in hoodie looking sad

Perfect set up for Failure

By David Passmore

In North Carolina we have approximately 14, 000 children ages from birth to eighteen years of age in our foster care systems. The priority for the Department of Health and Human Services is to protect children from harm - specifically physical abuse, sexual abuse, and emotional abuse. This unfortunately can be life threatening and traumatizing for a child.

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 Doctors reviewing patient results Question the Experts

By Melissa Hopkins

In 1989, a very somber doctor told my parents that my grandfather would not live to see 1990. My grandfather not only saw the new decade, he lived to see the early years of the new millennium.

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 Heart shaped drop of water Something in the Water

By Mike Garrell

Forty-three years. Forty-one years. Thirty-nine years. Thirty-one years. Twenty-nine years. These are some of the special anniversaries celebrated at Boys and Girls Homes this year. These are not wedding anniversaries. And these are not birthdays. No, these are the "work" anniversaries of some very dedicated Boys and Girls Homes staff who have been meeting the needs of abused and neglected kids for many, many, many years.

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 A sad teen with a Christmas tree The Night Before Christmas (Re-imagined)

By Rev. John Cobb

In this holiday season, Rev. John Cobb applied his creative skills to re-imagine the classic poem by Clement Clarke Moore to reflect the experiences of so many of the children we serve at B&GH.

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Thanksgiving Gratitude

By Melissa Hopkins

Thanksgiving is a holiday for gathering together in gratitude. Here at Boys and Girls Homes, we celebrate with a campus wide Thanksgiving dinner prior to the official holiday. While this is done strategically to allow staff to spend the actual holiday with family and friends, it also allows for an expansion of the gratitude filled celebration.

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 Grinch at Christmas Celebration Holiday Visits

By Gary Greene

Thanksgiving and Christmas bring a lot of visitors to our campus to bring presents to our children and contribute to the overall festiveness of this time. We are highly thankful for the difference you make in the lives of our kids.

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 Luke 6:48 A Word

By Pastor Joe Kennedy

I'm going to ask you to think of a word. When I do, tell me what you see?

Ready?

Here is the word:

Hurricane.

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 Student driver

I Remember Where I Was….
By Ray Cockrell

I remember specifically where I was on September 11, 2001 when the twin towers fell.  I remember the minute the Challenger exploded.  A lot of people I know can tell me specifically where they were when Kennedy was assassinated.  Significant times in our lives have an impact and we mark that time in our memory.  I also remember that time when our work here at Boys and Girls Homes really hit home for me.  It had an impact and it is imbedded in my memory.

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 Life is too short to wake up in the morning with regrets quote by Dr Seuss

Compassion
By Dr. Geraldine Bradshaw

This quote by Dr. Seuss highlights the importance of compassion, one of the three characteristics emphasized in our Thomas Academy motto.

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Life on display
By Donna Yalch

As I was contemplating what I would write in my blog I kept going back to a trip I took recently to our Community Based Services Pink Hill Office.  To get there, I drove through Chinquapin and Beulaville, a couple of small towns in rural North Carolina. Along the way, I passed home after home with all their belongings on the side of the road.

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 Unloading supply donation truck after Hurricane Florence Team Work: Community helping Community
By David Passmore

 

I remember when I was in little league baseball, my coach would yell and scream "team work guys!" As a kid, playing baseball, I never understood the meaning of teamwork. But now on any given day in my office mail, I will receive three or four marketing brochures to train you on how to develop teamwork. But what is teamwork?


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 Hurricane Florence damage to Roxy's Place Recovering from Florence
By Gary Faircloth

 

Hurricane Florence had a significant impact on our Boys and Girls Homes campus.


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 City of Fayetteville Heroes Welcome Sign 156 Heroes
B
y Mike Garrell

As you drive into Fayetteville, N.C., the green road signs proudly declare, “This is the city of heroes.” They are correct, as Fayetteville and more specifically, Fort Bragg, is the home of the 82nd Airborne. These are some of our bravest war fighters. In time of crisis, these courageous front-line soldiers are called on to engage in some of the most dangerous battles. They are directed to literally “jump” into enemy territory and fight hand-to-hand combat to protect our nation and preserve our way of life. These soldiers are easily recognized by the distinctive AA maroon patch on their uniforms.

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Preparation
By Melissa Hopkins

 

More than 200 people stepped toward the starting line for the Take the Lake Personal Endurance Challenge, listening to the instructions provided by the event coordinators. For many, this more than 16 mile walk/run was the culmination of years of preparation. For others, this was the training run for an upcoming marathon. Yet, each person at that line had taken time to prepare for the day.


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 Brain plugged into a computer The Ultimate Memory Storage Device - Why do I remember what I want to forget?
By Rev. John Cobb

I will never forget where I was and what I was doing on September 11, 2001. I watched the scenes play over and over again on TV and in my mind. Those images are burned into this ultimate memory storage device I have between my ears.

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Our Legacy Partners
By Gary Greene

 

Have you ever been a member of a civic club? Are you currently a member?


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 Dr Fred Craddock

Child of God 
By Pastor Joe Kennedy

Here at Boys and Girls Homes of North Carolina we serve children with many different backgrounds. They come from varying family situations - many without a good or even any relationship with their father.

One of our favorite praise songs to sing is Good, Good Father.

This combination brought to mind a story shared by Fred Craddock, who we introduced in an earlier post.

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 Facing the Giants Theatrical Poster Facing the Giants

By Ray Cockrell

In 2006 an inspirational movie came out by the name of Facing the Giants. It is a movie about Grant Taylor, a Christian high school football coach who faces personal family challenges as well as the attempt of local parents to replace him. His team, the Shiloh Eagles, never had a winning season in the six years he coached the boys. 

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 Residential cottage  Why do I have to move?
By David Passmore

There is a universal understanding that children need an environment that embraces safety, food and love. When children receive this at the critical times in their development they will thrive and grow.

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 Dr Geraldine Bradshaw  A Place of Dreams

By Dr. Geraldine Bradshaw

School is a place where everyone is allowed to dream….

Teachers, administrative staff, support staff… children … parents… are allowed to dream.

Teachers dream of ways to REACH students right where they are.

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 A loving family

Making a Difference

By Donna Yalch

Being a social worker is never boring. Tiring yes, boring no. For the last 17 years I have worked in the non-profit field with foster parents and adoptive parents. One of the greatest challenges that I have faced is recruiting foster parents. 

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 Child coloring

Artistic Expression

By Melissa Hopkins

“Isn’t this relaxing?”

I had to laugh at my daughter’s question as we sat coloring. The humor for me was that I had asked my mother the same question in a similar situation many years before. It is incredible how we naturally recognize in our youth the activities that can relax and refresh us.

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 Chapel Window of Jesus and the Children

Seeing is Believing

By Gary Greene

In the Leamon Rogers Memorial Chapel at Boys and Girls Homes, one of the stained glass windows shows Jesus surrounded by several children. The verse inspiring this window comes from Matthew 19:14:

“But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” (KJV)

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“Freedom”

By Pastor Joe Kennedy

Boys and Girls Homes of North Carolina has a special program called World of Work. Provided through a generous donation, WOW allows each eligible youth to have a campus related job. WOW teaches them interview skills, job skills, responsibility with wages and savings among other things.

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 Dripping faucet

Just One Drop

By Ray Cockrell

I recently had the opportunity to hear a minister speak to a large group of boy scouts at a Sunday morning worship service. The speaker began with letting one drop of water fall from a standard dropper. As it fell he asked those watching about how much power that one drop of water has. He was met with some chuckles, laughter and a few sarcastic comments that all sent the message – one drop of water doesn’t do much.

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 Graduation cap toss

Dream Work

By Dr. Geraldine Bradshaw

"Dreams don't work unless YOU do the work"

It is wonderful to have dreams and to set your goals according to your dreams, but you must be willing to PUT IN THE WORK!!!! to make dreams a reality!!!

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 Dr Fred Craddock

“Listen”

By Pastor Joe Kennedy

Imagine. You’re sitting. Silent. In front of you is one of the Top Ten Speakers of all time. What will he say?

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 For the Love of Kids Logo

The Need is Greater Than Ever

By Gary Faircloth

You can see the headlines everywhere about the opioid crisis and the destructive impact on families.

We see the impact every day as vulnerable children are taken from their homes as the family deals with the addiction that leads so frequently to abuse and neglect.

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 Firefighter fighting a fire

Safety

By Melissa Hopkins

“Get up and get out!”

The tone of my father’s voice left no room for questions as my sister and I climbed out of bed in the middle of the night. We followed the family evacuation plan to meet at the curb in front of our home, meeting our brother there. As we stood waiting for further instruction, a car horn began to blare from beside the house. Then we saw the flames erupting from our minivan, still parked beside our home.

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 Motorcycles riding onto campus

A Meaningful Ride

By Gary Greene

You could hear the gathering roar of 150 motorcycles as they neared the Boys and Girls Homes campus recently for the annual May Lake Waccamaw Ride. Our children were waiting at the Gary Jones Pavilion and you could see them suddenly perk up as the sound increased.

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 Forest path

Two Roads Diverged Re-imagined

By Rev. John Cobb

In honor of the Boys and Girls Homes of North Carolina community commitment to Growth and Change, Rev. John Cobb applied his creative skills to re-imagining Robert Frost’sThe Road Not Takento reflect the needs of the children we serve.

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 Board room meeting

Passion vs. Benefit

By Ray Cockrell

You could feel the tension filling the room as the discussion turned to the new tax act responsible for the broadest changes to our tax code since the mid 1980’s.

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 Teens at a table working on homework

What are Schools?

By Dr. Geraldine Bradshaw

Schools are not "holding pens" where we place children so that they are out of the way for the day.

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 Sanctuary Community Commitments

Practicing Emotional Intelligence

By Melissa Hopkins

I was recently watching a rerun of NCIS where one of the agents was having a conversation with a psychologist. The psychologist was trying to help the man deal with several traumatic events happening at the same time. She pulled out a sheet of paper with a circle of faces that displayed different emotions and tried to get him to identify what he was feeling. She was trying to get him to practice Emotional Intelligence.

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 A child born to another woman calls me mommy.

A Fostering Journey

By Bianca Richardson

Fostering has brought my husband and me on this amazing journey over the last eight months and it’s been both incredibly easy and incredibly hard.

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 John 16:33

Hold Onto Hope

By Kristen Dewberry

In today's age of technology, we have the ability to stay connected and updated on current events in a matter of seconds.

 But what happens when this convenience and constant connection of information becomes too much?

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 Light the Lake 2018 Poster

Changing the question

By Melissa Hopkins

“What is wrong with her? Why would she react that way? All they have done is show her love and support!”

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 Family with children in a park

Treasured memory

By Gary Greene

Often times, I am privileged to give campus tours to our supporters. During a recent tour with members of one of our many civic club supporters, we stopped for a few moments to visit with a long-time counselor and staff member. One of the visitors asked a simple question:

“What moment has been your most treasured memory in your years at Boys and Girls Homes?”

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 Shaun's Speech on The Good Doctor

The Good Doctor

By Pastor Joe Kennedy

We were at the hospital, waiting for word. President Gary Faircloth and his wife Betty had come to pray with and support one of our B&GH teen mothers while her baby was in surgery.

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 Feet climbing stairs

Take the Stairs to Financial Health

By Ray Cockrell

I was with my doctor for an annual checkup a few weeks ago and he encouraged me to take advantage of more opportunities for exercise and activity. He even pulled out the traditional example to “take the stairs” to be more active rather than just ride along in an elevator!

http://www.boysandgirlshomes.org/About/Take-the-Stairs-to-Financial-Health

   

Teens at a table working on homework 

Why do you show up?

By Dr. Geraldine Bradshaw

Why do you show up...

…when you’re so tired your brain says "Stay Home You Just Left There"?

Why do you show up...

…when you know that you will never get accomplished what is on your "To Do List"?

Why do you show up...

…when your body aches so bad you are not sure which area to pray for?

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 Woman touching her nose

Nose Goes

By Rev. John Cobb

The trashcan is a smelly, overflowing mess. I provide a gentle reminder to my kids that it needs to be emptied. Both girls yell “Nose Goes” and reach for the tip of their nose. The basic idea is that the last one to put their finger to the end of their nose has to complete the undesirable task. There was no personal responsibility, just a “dirty job” for the loser.

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 Sanctuary Community Logo

What does it take to change organizational culture?

By David Passmore

We’ve all heard it… “Things never change here” or “We’ve never done it that way before”

One of the biggest challenges for large organizations is communication breakdown, both within and between departments.

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 Children playing tug of war

Why are we here?

By Courtney Allen

Some days are draining at work, especially when you are one of the only sane voices for the little people who have no choice to be in their positions.

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