Boys and Girls Homes Blog

   
 Basketball scoreboard Small Victories

By Melissa Hopkins

What is your definition of victory? For the fans of our Thomas Academy girls' basketball team this season the definition of victory changed significantly. The team composition varied from game to game with multiple games seeing only five players available to play. The team also included players who had never played organized basketball.

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 Silhouette of children holding hands How Can I Help?

By Ray Cockrell

We all experience the instinctive need to help. A good friend recently lost two close family members in a relatively short period. A friend and member of my Sunday School class recently received the news of cancer and is facing the challenges of radiation and chemo. These are very challenging times for them and the instinct is to reach out to help in some way - but how?

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 Teen holding a hope stone Finding the Light through Hope

By David Passmore

"I have to find some goodness in my life. I survive knowing that there is goodness and hope in people, it would be too hard to survive and thrive if there was not even a glimmer of something good in a situation."

These words were shared with me by one of the youth in our care who was victimized early in life.

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 Maya Angelou quote on sky background Thriving in Style

By Dr. Geraldine Bradshaw

"My mission in life is not merely to survive, but thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style." - Maya Angelou

When watching almost any teen focused movie, there is a recurring theme that surviving high school is hard. Now, the challenges highlighted onscreen are rarely academic, and relate more to the relationships being navigated in the hallways between classes.

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Foster Care Answers


The original, expanded version of this article appeared on WRAL.com’s Spotlight page.

 

Over 11,000 NC children need foster care. Here are some frequently asked questions answered by foster care experts.

 

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 Teenage boy in hoodie seated with his head down Unbroken

By Dr. Mason Smith

"No one can make you break!"

Those are pretty truthful words. They were shared with me by one of B&GH's transitional living residents. He offered them abruptly and with defiant spirit in the middle of a conversation about the pressures of life in light of all the difficulties that he'd been through.

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 Teenage girl on a couch with a notebook and laptop Foster care through the eyes of a teenager


The original, expanded version of this article appeared on WRAL.com’s Spotlight page.

 

Her Story –

Shania was taken into the foster care system at a young age and has had a "unique foster care experience" – one that has involved multiple states, agencies and placements.

 

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 Sad teenager in the stands Each child has a story

By Melissa Hopkins

Each child that receives services from Boys and Girls Homes has a story. There may be commonalities among the stories, but each story is different. This is the story of John.

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 Family at Christmas "The Night Before Christmas Re-imagines (one year later)"

By Rev. John Cobb

In this holiday season, Rev. John Cobb returns to the perspective of one of the children served by B&GH as he did in last year's The Night Before Christmas (Re-imagines). He applied his creative skills in line with the classic Christmas poem by Clement Clarke Moore.

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 Stressed out teenage boy on top of books Over It

By Melissa Hopkins

As my teenage daughters played the video for a song by a pop singer named Eben on repeat, I found myself drawn to the opening lyrics.

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 Teenagers holding hands in a circle at sunset We Need Each Other

By Ray Cockrell

I recently attended a local company celebration held at the B&GH Farm. At the event, I was talking with a representative of the company and expressed our gratitude for their support and all they do for our children. He in turn began to elaborate on how important our work is and how happy he is to be able to be a part of such positive work.

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 Woman struggling with sleep Sleep Knowledge

By Melissa Hopkins

It started becoming routine - lying in bed, opening my eyes to check the clock, seeing the big red numbers, 2:38 AM. Next came the run down of possible reasons for being awake - was there a noise, did I need something, did I have a nightmare?

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 Maya Angelou Quote Feeling

By Dr. Geraldine Bradshaw

As we enter the end of semester testing cycle, emotions are running high. It is critical to our students' success for the teachers and staff to pay attention to how they are feeling.

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 Plate full of Thanksgiving food Food for thought

By David Passmore

This is often the season when memories are made through family gatherings and the sharing of wonderful delicious meals that fill the air with smells that you remember for a lifetime.

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 McCray Alumni Center groundbreaking Celebrating 65 years serving vulnerable youth

By Gary Faircloth

Having been a Boys Home boy, I feel a special connection to this amazing place that made such a difference in my life. I also feel a kinship with others who have experienced that saving level of care. A group of us alumni recently gathered on a Saturday to celebrate the role B&GH played in our lives.

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 A collage of labels Power of Labels

By Dr. Mason Smith

Labels can be powerfully important. As a pastor I am accustom to late night calls. Once, in the darkest hours of deep, deep sleep, the phone rang. It was a frantic and already grieving voice informing me that her husband of nearly 60 years was fading.

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Boys and Girls Homes 2021 - Community Care

By Mike Garrell

Boys and Girls Homes is being challenged to be more tomorrow than we were yesterday or are today. 

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 Storytelling around a campfire Stories Too Scary to be Told in the Dark

By Rev. John Cobb

There is something captivating about a well spun yarn, told by a campfire, that has just the right balance of realism and fantasy, that will make you jump when you least expect it. If the story is too fantastical, you won't believe it could happen to you. A story that is too ordinary fails to capture the listener's attention.

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RelateStrong!

By Melissa Hopkins

 

In today’s social media driven world, it is easy to connect on a superficial level. With Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat among hundreds of other channels, you can amass thousands of connections with people you know very little about.

 

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Planning documents spread out on the floor
Planning Happiness

By Melissa Hopkins

I love planning.

It is just so satisfying to me to sit down and put together a step-by-step plan including deadlines for each step to achieve a goal. I always feel so accomplished when I complete the planning process.

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Bucket of well water
Going to the well

By Melissa Hopkins

Generating content for a website, blog, newsletter and social media is a high demand process. Like many processes, it can become overwhelming and stressful over time.

That is why it is so important to develop a well of support so when you need a refreshing refill you can find the person with the right bucket of water.

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Compassionate Education

By Dr. Geraldine Bradshaw

Vivienne had been bullied and humiliated by a teacher in the second grade. Other students picked up on it and the bullying continued throughout elementary school. Even moving to a middle school in a different county didn’t stop the bullying. Vivienne found every excuse she could not to go to school.

 

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Sunflowers in a field
Sunflower

By Donna Yalch

I was driving to work the other day and I saw a beautiful sunflower that had just bloomed and the sunflower was standing tall and proud. The reason it caught my attention was it was in a field of sunflowers that had already bloomed and were now in the process of turning brown and drooping.

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 Youth walking a bike It's like riding a bike

By David Passmore

 

Recently, I had the pleasure of taking 8 youth on a bike tour traveling 185 miles over six days. This was a unique group of youth who live in foster care.

 

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Community Connection

By President Gary Faircloth

At Boys and Girls Homes, we truly believe in the importance of connection with the community.

That is why we make every effort to participate in community events throughout the year, including the Lake Waccamaw Labor Day weekend Take the Lake event.

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 Feet with arrow to get from here to there Getting there

By Dr. Mason Smith

“You can’t get there from here.”

Ever have anyone respond with those words when you stop and ask for directions? There is a lot of truth in those words!

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 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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 2018 Blog Posts