Boys and Girls Homes Blog

   
 A group of donors in the activity center with games and outdoor play equipment Love Made Visible, Part 2

By Kristen Dewberry

Another project that was taken on this summer was re-instituting our Boys and Girls Homes of North Carolina activity center on campus back to its original intended purpose... activities for children.

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 Mr Buddy working with youth during summer activities Love Made Visible, Part 1

By Kristen Dewberry

As I reminisce about summers in the past, I can remember smells, sounds, and feelings of freedom and fun. I can remember drinking water from the water hose and staying up late to catch fireflies at night. The warm summer breezes and smells of sweet honeysuckle are something that I hold dear to my heart and cherish because they remind me of special times.

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 Woman on crutches with ankle in a brace Break vs. Sprain

By Melissa Hopkins

I recently managed to break my foot and sprain my ankle. As the doctor explained, there is a firm timeline and expectation for the healing of a break. Sprains are a different story.

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 Amber and Herb A Children's Champion

By Kristen Dewberry

Everyone needs someone in their corner. I can remember in high school, it was Mrs. Toothman, my science teacher. She saw right through me and I couldn't get away with anything. But she also pushed me to be my best and challenged me to not only be a contender, but a champion. 

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 Three tubes of toothpaste with toothpaste squeezed out Toothpaste

By Dr. Mason Fuller Smith

I like to play a game with children in which I give them a tube of toothpaste and ask them to see how fast they can squeeze it empty into a plate. They always have a blast! Then, I ask them to put the toothpaste back into the tube.

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Pushing Forward

By Mike Garrell

Serving over 7,500 kids since 1954!! LOOK AT WHAT WE HAVE DONE! Whew! Time to take a break and rest on our laurels?

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 Residential Staff with thank you sign for Tieks Partnerships Produced in Pandemics

By Rev John Cobb

Lake Waccamaw, NC and Beverly Hills, CA are separated by a distance of 2,578 miles according to Google Maps.  Quite frankly, there is not a lot that connects our town with that most famous of all towns.  That is until recently.

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 Thomas Academy High School Orientation Re-entry

By Melissa Hopkins

After more than five months the students of Thomas Academy walked through the doors to begin receiving classroom instruction.

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 Keys to Freedom

By Melissa Hopkins

Learning to drive is one of the first steps to true freedom in the eyes of many teenagers.

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 You can still have motivation and goals no matter what your age. WOW Motivation

By Melissa Hopkins

Every week day morning during the summer, the youth participants in the Boys and Girls Homes World of Work (WOW) program gather outdoors at the pavilion for a few minutes to prepare for the day.

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 Woman balancing on a railroad track  Balancing Point

By Melissa Hopkins

It feels like many of us are walking a fine line to find balance. Every day there are new pieces of information that can knock you off balance.

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Carolyn's Kaleidoscope Child Advocacy Center

By Gary Faircloth

When you look into a kaleidoscope, you see the pieces of color shifting to form different shapes and patterns. When you work with a Child Advocacy Center (CAC), you are looking inside the experiences of a child who has suffered from abuse and neglect in much the same way.

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Building toward the future

By Gary Faircloth

Every July our Boys and Girls Homes of North Carolina Board of Trustees gathers for our annual meeting. While this year's gathering was virtual, our Trustees still received reports from across the organization sharing the accomplishments and achievements we have experienced.

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 Mr. Lee supervising his housekeeping crew Learning on the Job

By Dr. Mason Fuller Smith

"Now see, you always want to do a good job and make sure you speak loud and clear and respectful. Ya hear?" - Mr. Lee, Assistant Housekeeper to his 'crew'

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 Sad teenage girl looking out a window with a hand pressed against the glass Do it for the Children!

By Mike Garrell

Despite what you may read, COVID-19 is harming children. The virus may not be deadly to the health and life of children and young people, but the impacts of long-term lockdowns and closures are harming them.

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 Pink flowers Nature's Healing - Beauty is a silent teacher

By Melissa Hopkins

Self care and stress relief tips are everywhere right now. One item that appears on list after list is to take a walk in nature if permitted.

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 disconnection image with people The Stress of the Disconnect

By Melissa Hopkins

I worked from home from mid-March until early June. Like so many workers, this was my first extended foray into remote working. I had enough knowledge from multiple trainings on the subject to know the importance of specific routines.

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  Normal is just a setting on the dryer

By Melissa Hopkins

I keep hearing that we will eventually enter a "new normal." No one know when or what that will look like.

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 A kickball game in a field The Joy of Laughter

By Ray Cockrell

We all know the smile that will cross your face and the joy you feel in your heart when you hear the laughter of a child.

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 Graduates tossing caps Bravo Eagles!

By Dr. Geraldine Bradshaw

The school counselor's heart in me causes me to have an eagle eye for transcripts. I begin to look at transcripts the moment a student enters Thomas Academy. The transcript speaks volumes as it allows me to see where a student's life may have taken a turn. Transcripts also provide a diagram of where we need to repair. A transcript is the pathway to HOPE.

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 Little girl hugging a woman Success Coach: The answer to reducing recidivism within foster care

By Ashlynn Campbell

Though May was National Foster Care Month, each and every day a social worker is asked, "When can I return back to my parents?"

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Appreciating Foster Parents

By Donna Yalch

May is Foster Parent Appreciation Month. Foster parents should be celebrated every day of every month. Foster parents are selfless individuals who open their home to children who have gone through at least one traumatic event. They open their hearts to love and help these children heal without knowing how long the child/children will be with them.

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"Quaranteen"

By Mason Fuller Smith

"Quaranteen." This is my new word for youth enduring this strange new world we occupy right now. Allow me to unpack its meaning.

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 Two sad teenage girls comforting each other Eager to Go, Eager to Stay

By Mike Garrell

Change is scary!!! Even when that change appears to be for the better, change is scary. For the children of Boys and Girls Homes change has been a constant part of their life.

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 Rev John Cobb in a super hero mask Wearing Masks for Protection

By Rev John Cobb

Just look around you; almost everyone is wearing a mask to protect themselves and others. Many special individuals are making masks to protect the most vulnerable people around us. We are learning that masks are quickly becoming a necessary part of life. We only take them off when we are certain that we are in a safe space.

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 Computer with reset message A Hard Reset

By Melissa Hopkins

In the computer world, sometimes the only solution is a hard reset, where all the data is removed from the device and makes it 100% clean.

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 Light the Lake walk on Flemington Drive Awareness needed for prevention

By Melissa Hopkins

In April 2019, more than 100 individuals gathered together at the corner of Flemington Drive and Sam Potts Highway, holding electronic candles. They walked as a group down Flemington Drive toward Lake Waccamaw, turning left on Lake Shore Drive. As they continued onto Cameron Street and turned back toward campus on Church Street, the positive energy radiated from these individuals.

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 A 2020 planner on an outdoor concrete table with a cup of tea and teapot What day is it?

By Melissa Hopkins

I was sitting outside enjoying my lunch in my yard when my youngest daughter asked, "Is it Wednesday or Thursday today?"

"It's Friday," I replied with a smile. She looked at me in shock.

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 Thomas Academy cheerleaders Growth... or not

By Melissa Hopkins

I recently worked with several of our youth as a cheerleading coach for Thomas Academy. When we were in cheer practice or at the basketball games, my intention was always to treat the cheerleaders fairly. They were all my squad.

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Respite Foster Care Explained

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

 

Not ready to foster full-time? Consider respite foster care to relieve the primary foster care parents of their duties for a short period of time - typically a single day, a weekend or one to two weeks.

 

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COVID-19 Desperate Times

By  President Gary Faircloth

I don't usually send you appeals like this. But these are desperate times and for the sake of the children I feel called to share this message with you today.

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 Teen laughing while lying on grass How much is a child's laughter worth?

By Dr. Mason Fuller Smith

Most people want to know what they are going to "get" for their money. No one wants to waste what they have worked so hard o earn. That is why we research, read reviews, and test drive. We want to make certain that we receive our money's worth; that we are investing in something worthwhile. When we are buying a car, a house, or a new boat this might be more straightforward. However, what are the metrics of "value" when it comes to investing in a child's life.

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 Small child in a car seat Giving Together

By Melissa Hopkins

Julie and Tom happily welcomed 2-year-old Rosie into their Fayetteville home late one Tuesday night. The first time foster parents had completed training and volunteered to host any child.

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 Roberto D. Rivera Promotion to Confidence

By Rev. John Cobb

Recently, I had the honor of being able to share with Kiwanians from throughout the Carolinas about the devastating impact of childhood trauma. To make it personal for them, I gave trauma a face and a name, Roberto D. Rivera.

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Girl in silhouette celebrating Promotion to Confidence

By Melissa Hopkins

Recently one of our youth wrote a letter to her staff to self-advocate for a promotion to Confidence, the third level of our social skills development program. It is shared  with her permission.

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 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  Fuller 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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