CCHO – Christian Children’s Home of Ohio

CCHO

Trust, treatment, transformation (Story 28 of 50)

CCHO is celebrating 50 years of ministry! Throughout 2019, we will be sharing stories of the lives that have been forever changed by the work God has done through our family of ministries (CCHO, Encourage Foster Care and Encompass Christian Counseling). Today, we hear from an adoptive mom whose son eventually found healing from his past trauma in CCHO’s residential treatment program. Story #28 in our 50 Stories for 50 Years of Ministry series reminds us how important time and trust are on the road to wholeness.

My son was adopted when he was eight years of age. He had been in residential treatment for three years prior to his adoption, from age five to age eight. When he came to my home, he exhibited significant self-harming behaviors like defiance, aggression and running away. His social and emotional skills were almost nonexistent due to his extensive trauma, which included 19 moves within the foster care system and the loss of his birth family. Developmentally, he had significant delays as well. Cognitively, he had delays and a lower IQ, which made progress even more challenging.

Initially, his behaviors were not too severe at home. However, he suffered from attachment disorder, which made it difficult to help him feel safe or to trust anyone so he could heal from his past, causing his behaviors at home to intensify. After two years, they had become nearly unmanageable. His threats made it unsafe for him to remain in the home, and he was placed at CCHO by the county after making multiple threats to kill me and kill himself.

He initially was unable to deal with any of his past trauma or behavior issues, making his first four months at CCHO largely unfruitful. But once he began to disclose the extensive trauma he endured as a very young child to a counselor that he trusted, his progress was incredible. His counselor and I communicated frequently and worked closely during weekly sessions to further address the attachment issues my son exhibited. He went through an intensive trauma therapy program (Thrive), which shed more light on what he experienced in his birth family. Finally, after his trauma was treated and he knew he could trust me, his behaviors changed for the better. After only four more months, his transformation was amazing. He came home and was the funny, happy kid God created him to be. He no longer had any aggressive behaviors. He did not make any threats to harm himself or me.

I believe that God directed the county to choose CCHO because it was what my son needed to help him become the man God created him to be. He learned that love is unconditional and that moms can be trusted. He is completely attached to me now and trusts me 100% in many areas. He dealt with much of his past trauma and has continued to use the coping skills he learned at CCHO.

He is now 14 and still has areas that need work. He has many delays that will require more attention. But, without CCHO he would likely not be here at all. I was unable to maintain him safely in our home so I had expected to return custody to the agency. I am thankful that never happened.

I have hope that he will be a wonderful adult and contribute in a great way to the lives of others. He challenges me each day to never give up and to recognize that no child is ever a lost cause. Some kids just got started off with more obstacles than others. But with the proper help and lots of prayer, good things can happen. If my son never gives up, I won’t either.

Celebrating Five Decades of Ministry

This story is part of our "50 Stories for 50 Years of Ministry" retrospective. Throughout 2019, we will be sharing 50 stories about the broken hearts, broken people, and broken families that have been made new by a loving and redemptive God. Have your own story about CCHO and our family of ministries? Click the button below to share it with us.

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Encourage a generation

Without the encouragement from caring CCHO staff, Brent and Mia may not have gotten baptized. Both of these young residents carried many years of severe abuse and trauma with them when they came to our campus last year. The people in their lives that should have protected them instead repeatedly hurt them, and they believed they couldn’t trust anyone. But because of the loving actions and encouraging words of our staff, Brent and Mia opened their hearts to God and eventually ended up getting baptized during their time with CCHO!

You too can powerfully impact the lives of boys and girls who are in desperate need of hope and encouragement from others.

The kids on our campus spend a lot of time in our new Children’s Leadership & Recreation Center (LRC), whether they’re coming in for the school day, enjoying a meal in the cafeteria, playing games in the gym or engaging in our recreational therapy programs. Imagine how powerful it would be for those boys and girls to see an encouraging message from you or your favorite Bible verse each time they walk to the CLRC!

By purchasing a legacy brick with your name or inspirational message (or both!), you could play a vital role in the next baptisms on our campus. Your words can be a source of incredible encouragement on the next generation of kids in need.

Our world can be so discouraging, leaving many of us scared and scarred. God intends each of us to encourage others so that, together, we can find joy amidst that pain and brokenness (see Hebrews 3:13 and 1 Thessalonians 4:18). Children like Brent and Mia used that encouragement to embrace a relationship with their Savior. Your words of encouragement can help others turn their lives over to Jesus. What a powerful legacy you can leave for future generations on our campus!

Leave a legacy for kids in need

Purchase your legacy brick today and be part of the eternal story God is writing in the lives of these children. What message do you want to leave for them on your brick?

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Cool cars and warm hearts (Story 27 of 50)

CCHO is celebrating 50 years of ministry! Throughout 2019, we will be sharing stories of the lives that have been forever changed by the work God has done through our family of ministries (CCHO, Encourage Foster Care and Encompass Christian Counseling). For the last 10 years, the Mid-Ohio Corvette Club (MOCC) has blessed our young residents with a memorable day filled with yummy food, outdoor fun and rides around campus in some of the coolest cars you’ve ever seen. In story #27 of our 50 Stories for 50 Years of Ministry series, Jim Morrison and Regi Muich from MOCC share the history behind their annual Cruisin’ for the Kids event, which just drew 162 Corvettes to the CCHO campus this past Saturday, August 10. We are so grateful for this 10-year partnership with MOCC!

During the early months of 2010, the Mid-Ohio Corvette Club (MOCC) met to discuss our largest endeavor of the year. We had always chosen our yearly fundraiser on the basis of the recipient’s overall need. After learning that Christian Children’s Home of Ohio (CCHO) was focused on nurturing young girls and boys who may never have received warmth from a home environment otherwise, we were excited to pick CCHO.

Members quickly worked as a team to organize committees for everything needed to create a successful, fun and financially rewarding day for CCHO. Flyers were printed and mailed to anyone and everyone we knew who owned a Corvette so they could mark their calendars for August 14. From April through early August, the Corvette Club members canvassed an area consisting of at least three counties practically going door-to-door to both individuals and companies asking for contributions for CCHO.

The big day arrived with terrific weather and excitement, as well as butterflies. The gathered enthusiasts enjoyed visiting with one another during a pastry, bagel and fruit breakfast at the Wayne County Fairgrounds in Wooster. They were also treated to the local FM radio station WQKT playing music and asking trivia questions for prizes.

Shortly after, 110 Corvettes were on their way to CCHO on roads chosen to show off some of the Wooster area’s natural beauty. Upon arrival, they were parked in a large grassy area near a pavilion set up for all the activities at the home.

My wife Darlene and I are proud to be members of an organization with fellow members who are willing to do what must be done. It doesn’t really seem like work when we have the opportunity to show a few children love and kindness. It warms our hearts when we as a club can create a smile on a child’s face from something we have done.

-Jim

This Cruisin’ for the Kids event has grown over the past 10 years, and the kids and staff now choose the car show winners. One year, the children chose as their favorite a particularly beautiful car that had won multiple trophies at other shows. The owner later told me that this was the best trophy he had ever received and that it meant more to him than any other.

We now give rides to the children and staff as well, a tradition that started when one of the Buckeye Corvette Club members showed up with a banner for the girls to wear that said, “Buckeye Princess.” The girls who wanted a ride were allowed to sit as Princess of the Day while riding around the campus waving to everyone. When it was discovered that the boys felt left out, all the kids (and staff too) were given rides.

It is heartwarming to see the kids enjoy the cars and attention each year. After getting into a convertible, one little girl looked up and squealed, “This car doesn’t have a roof!” Two years ago, we sang happy birthday to one of the residents. I have never heard a more sincere rendition of the song.

We wish CCHO a very happy 50th anniversary! MOCC and other Corvette enthusiasts are honored to share the day with the kids at CCHO.

-Regi

Celebrating Five Decades of Ministry

This story is part of our "50 Stories for 50 Years of Ministry" retrospective. Throughout 2019, we will be sharing 50 stories about the broken hearts, broken people, and broken families that have been made new by a loving and redemptive God. Have your own story about CCHO and our family of ministries? Click the button below to share it with us.

Read more

Connect 2 Kids Individual

Connect 2 Kids is growing! We asked Emily Frazier, LISW-S, Clinical Director of our Children’s Residential Center to share more about this volunteer program and the new way to give of your time and talents.

Connect2Kids (C2K) is an incredible volunteer program where people who love Jesus get to put His love into action and follow His command to love. This program offers the ability to fellowship, teach, and guide hurting boys and girls on our residential campus.

Our current C2K volunteers come into kids’ lives once a week and typically provide a meal, an activity and a devotion or lesson focused on Jesus or other Bible stories. We are looking to expand this program to include individuals who have a specific skill and a desire to help kids find a new spark, passion or coping skill that they can use for long-term success.

For so many kids in residential, their lives have been filled with hurt, abandonment and rejection. They’ve never taken a dance or music lesson. They’ve never tried out for a school play or played a team sport. They lack the confidence to try new things because they have always fallen behind their peers.

The expansion of our C2K program allows our kids and teens to explore new interests and find something they enjoy. We hope the experience will guide them into pro-social activities when they finish their residential stay and get back into their communities.

This week, our residential youth and staff put on the annual Campus Talent Show to an audience made up of staff and peers. What an amazing time to see our kids and teens share their unique abilities. Beautiful voices. Incredible artwork. Creative dances. Heartfelt expression. So many special giftings that had the opportunity to shine and be celebrated.

Program staff came alongside our residents to assist with costumes and performances. They also contributed through dynamic performances of their own — much to the delight of everyone in attendance.

Consider your skill set and pray about serving with C2K Individual. Teaching six weeks of soccer or eight weeks of theatre could impact a youth for a lifetime. We’re looking for volunteers to serve once a week for a six- or eight-week session. Perhaps the time and encouragement you give will be part of next year’s talent show.

Learn more about this new opportunity at ccho.org/volunteer or contact Campus Pastor Tim Hartzler at hartzlert@ccho.org or 330.345.7949, ext. 2597.

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Sensitive therapist

Each horse at One Heart Stables brings a unique personality to their role in equine therapy as they serve the children in our residential program as well as adults and children in the general public through Encompass Christian Counseling. We’ve come to believe that people will pick the horse they truly need, and in turn our clients are able to engage in an honest, non-judgmental relationship with their horse.

Name: Sunny
Age: 22
Breed: Paint Mare

Sunny came to One Heart Stables many years ago through a donor and has been a great asset to our program. About four years ago, Sunny was given to a teenage girl who really needed a horse in her life; now an adult, Sunny’s owner generously decided to put Sunny into our therapy program so that Sunny can give other people that help that she received from this special horse.

Sunny is now a sensitive “therapist” with our clients. She is kind, gentle, and gives 100% while working with her clients.

Volunteer at One Heart Stables

Serve using your passions and gifts at One Heart Stables. Volunteer opportunities include general stable maintenance, equine grooming/care and horse leader/side walker support for therapy sessions. Learn more and inquire today.

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CCHO: The Next 50 Years (Story 21 of 50)

CCHO is celebrating 50 years of ministry! Throughout 2019, we will be sharing stories of the lives that have been forever changed by the work God has done through our family of ministries (CCHO, Encourage Foster Care and Encompass Christian Counseling). During our 50th Anniversary Benefit Dinner, we debuted several original videos to help celebrate the life change God has initiated through five decades of ministry. Today’s video, Story #19 in our 50 Stories for 50 Years of Ministry series, looks ahead in anticipation of what God may do with CCHO and our family of ministries over the next 50 years.

The Next 50 Years (#21)

Several CCHO employees share their vision for what’s ahead for our family of ministries and what “More” might look like over the next 50 years. Click here to see the full recap from our 50th Anniversary Benefit Dinner.

Celebrating Five Decades of Ministry

This story is part of our "50 Stories for 50 Years of Ministry" retrospective. Throughout 2019, we will be sharing 50 stories about the broken hearts, broken people, and broken families that have been made new by a loving and redemptive God. Have your own story about CCHO and our family of ministries? Click the button below to share it with us.

Read more

How Motley Lou became Pastor Louie (Story 20 of 50)

CCHO is celebrating 50 years of ministry! Throughout 2019, we will be sharing stories of the lives that have been forever changed by the work God has done through our family of ministries (CCHO, Encourage Foster Care and Encompass Christian Counseling). Louie Pantelis takes the storytelling reins today. Louie lived in fear and desperation as a teenager. His family was torn apart with abuse, and he had no sense of purpose and little hope that he would ever find it. But then Louie wound up on the CCHO campus…and today, he is a pastor at Grace Chapel Community Church in Worland, WY. How did that happen? Read story #20 in our 50 Stories for 50 Years of Ministry series to find out.

Late in my sophomore year I learned that my foster parents were moving to Florida. As a I ward of the state, I would not be moving with them. Toward the end of that school year, my caseworker told me, “If we do not find some place for you soon, we will have to place you in a juvenile correction facility.” I had done nothing to deserve being placed in a correctional facility. I was five-foot nothing tall, weighed 87 pounds, and the thought of being placed in a correctional facility terrified me. I knew I would be the one everyone mistreated; when you are five-foot nothing, you make an easy target. Throughout school and at home, I had already suffered enough abuse. Not knowing what to do, where to turn, or whom to trust, I chose to call my older sister and asked her if she would help me to run away to Florida. Together we purchased the ticket from the money I had saved delivering newspapers, mowing yards and shoveling snow, and I ran away.

I spent most of that summer living incognito with the parents of my foster parents. They were the closest thing to grandparents I had ever known. Toward the end of July, I called my caseworker and told him I would turn myself in, if he had a foster home for me. The last thing my father told me when I placed myself into foster care was, “You will never graduate from high school and you will never amount to anything,” so I made clear to my caseworker that I wanted to graduate high school. A few days later, I called to see if he had found a place for me, and he had.

As unnerving as it was living as a runaway, the thought of returning to Ohio with the promise of a foster home was just as daunting. I was placed in a temporary home called Providence House upon my return. One day, my caseworker called and told me he had found a group home for me – It was called the Christian Children’s Home of Ohio (CCHO). As much as I wanted to have some permanence to my living situation, being placed at CCHO was the last thing on earth I wanted. My father, who was very abusive, had dragged me to church and called himself a Christian. The pastor I told about the abuse did not believe my account of what was transpiring at home. It wasn’t until I showed up at the Department of Family Services with bruises on my neck from where he had strangled me that someone finally listened. Because of what I had experienced, I did not want anything to do with Christianity.

On the day I was to be interviewed at CCHO, I dressed just the opposite of how you should dress for an interview of any kind. I wore my jeans with holes in them, my leather studded belt, my Motley Crue t-shirt (with the words “Theater of Pain”) and my grim reaper earring, and I feathered my long, black hair. I took a good look in the mirror before leaving and thought to myself, there is no way any Christian Children’s Home is going to want me living amongst their children.

I went through the interview answering every question with sarcasm, spite and malice. They gave me a tour of the place; it was out in the country, and everything was foreign to me. By the end of the day, I thought I had given them every reason in the world to not want me living in their home. When we arrived back at the room where I had been interviewed, I was introduced to Pat and Tim McKelley, and to my surprise I was told they were going to be my foster parents in cottage 2. Over time, they loved me, mentored me, and parented me even though I did not always cooperate with them. Pa Tim gave me one of my favorite all-time nicknames: Motley Lou.

Little did I know, when I went for that interview, that who I was as a rebellious teenager was exactly the kind of adolescent CCHO was looking for. My parents in cottage 2 were my advocates, friends and greatest supporters. I was a part of every school play and musical at Norwayne high school. I won a regional acting award for my role in the one-act play competition. Ma Pat and Pa Tim’s belief in me helped me to believe in myself, and that has allowed me to see the potential that they saw in me. The love they showed me transformed me, I developed a very different understanding of Christianity, and every day I thank God for the Christian Children’s Home of Ohio.

Many years later, when I was an adult, Pa Tim passed away and I was given the opportunity to speak at his funeral. It was an honor to share my cherished memories. I interact with Ma Pat on a regular basis on Facebook, and she continues to give me a word of encouragement whenever she can. Pa Tim and Ma Pat gave me the best understanding of what it is to be taken into a family, to be loved, cherished, valued, and appreciated. Much of what I have learned about family, I learned from them.

As a pastor now, I share this story with those who need to be adopted into the family of God. I want others to know that their past does not have to equal their future. God in His love, grace, and mercy takes the most rebellious people, transforms their lives and allows them to be a part of His story. No matter who we are, no matter what we have done, and no matter how many times we fail, He is there to offer the forgiveness we need to become His child and a part of His family.

Louie’s story reminds us that our God is the greatest storyteller, the ultimate miracle worker, the supreme redeemer. We have seen that time and again during five decades of ministry, a history rich with examples like Louie’s of God reaching down to take the broken remnants of hopeless lives and making them new.

We were absolutely thrilled that Louie was able to join us at our 50th Anniversary Weekend earlier this month. Not only was Louie our special guest at the benefit dinner on Saturday night — taking part in a Q&A session with our campus pastor, Tim Hartzler — but while he was in town, Louie also took some time to speak to the kids in each of our residential cottages here on the CCHO campus. He told them his story, he talked about the hope he found in Jesus, and he made sure they knew that the same hope was absolutely available to them. He even played some kickball!

Louie blessed CCHO in so many incredible ways during his recent visit, a lovely reunion that reminded us yet again that God absolutely loves to make miracles out of the muck and mire of our lives.

As a special gift to those who attended our benefit dinner, Louie worked with CCHO to create a five-day devotional on the story of the Prodigal Son. This booklet, called “There is Another Chapter,” is also available to download at this link.

We’re excited to be able to introduce you to Pastor Louie (AKA, Motley Lou), to show you a few photos from his visit, and to share a copy of his devotional with you today.

Celebrating Five Decades of Ministry

This story is part of our "50 Stories for 50 Years of Ministry" retrospective. Throughout 2019, we will be sharing 50 stories about the broken hearts, broken people, and broken families that have been made new by a loving and redemptive God. Have your own story about CCHO and our family of ministries? Click the button below to share it with us.

Read more

The Kandel Family (Story 19 of 50)

CCHO is celebrating 50 years of ministry! Throughout 2019, we will be sharing stories of the lives that have been forever changed by the work God has done through our family of ministries (CCHO, Encourage Foster Care and Encompass Christian Counseling). During our 50th Anniversary Benefit Dinner, we debuted several original videos to help celebrate the life change God has initiated through five decades of ministry. The most touching moment of the night belonged to Julie Kandel and her incredible family. Story #19 in our 50 Stories for 50 Years of Ministry series celebrates Julie, her late husband and their legacy of fostering through faith.

When Julie Kandel and her husband Ron began their foster and adoption journey in 1991, they couldn’t have imagined they would one day have 18 children (including three biological daughters). Theirs is an incredible story of answering God’s call for their lives and their family, of trusting during each step of the process, and of persevering through incredible tragedy to provide a safe haven for young children in need of a loving home.

The Kandel Family (#19)

Julie and Ron Kandel have built a legacy of selflessness and unconditional love while welcoming 15 foster and adoptive children from three different sibling groups into their home since 1991. This is their inspiring story. Click here to see the full recap from our 50th Anniversary Benefit Dinner.

We were honored to have Julie and her family join us for our 50th Anniversary Dinner. After the video played, everyone in attendance gave the Kandel family a standing ovation as Julie and her children made their way to the stage, where Kevin Hewitt, CCHO’s president & CEO, gave them a token of our appreciation for all she and Ron have sacrificed to provide a loving home for children in need.

Celebrating Five Decades of Ministry

This story is part of our "50 Stories for 50 Years of Ministry" retrospective. Throughout 2019, we will be sharing 50 stories about the broken hearts, broken people, and broken families that have been made new by a loving and redemptive God. Have your own story about CCHO and our family of ministries? Click the button below to share it with us.

Read more

A guided imagery narrative (Story 18 of 50)

CCHO is celebrating 50 years of ministry! Throughout 2019, we will be sharing stories of the lives that have been forever changed by the work God has done through our family of ministries (CCHO, Encourage Foster Care and Encompass Christian Counseling). During our 50th Anniversary Benefit Dinner, we debuted several original videos to help celebrate the life change God has initiated through five decades of ministry. Story #18 in our 50 Stories for 50 Years of Ministry series provides a sobering look into the trauma experienced by one of our young residents and the hope that God ultimately provided through CCHO’s treatment program.

When new residents arrive at CCHO, our therapy team writes a guided imagery narrative from the perspective of the child. These narratives are designed to take the reader on a journey through each child’s past while describing their fears, abuse and trauma in detail. Listening to the guided imagery helps CCHO’s residential staff fully understand what the child has been through so they can approach negative behaviors with empathy and compassion. All of this allows us to better connect with each resident by providing treatment that is tailored to their specific experiences and needs.

We shared the following guided imagery during our 50th Anniversary Benefit Dinner to give those in attendance a deeper understanding of the challenges facing our residents, and we’re sharing it on our blog today for the same reason. As a word of caution, the story is intense.

Guided Imagery (#18)

Sadly, this is a true story of the trauma endured by one of our residents. Many boys and girls come to CCHO with similar stories of abuse and neglect. Click here to see the full recap from our 50th Anniversary Benefit Dinner.

Celebrating Five Decades of Ministry

This story is part of our "50 Stories for 50 Years of Ministry" retrospective. Throughout 2019, we will be sharing 50 stories about the broken hearts, broken people, and broken families that have been made new by a loving and redemptive God. Have your own story about CCHO and our family of ministries? Click the button below to share it with us.

Read more

A new day for Ashley (Story 17 of 50)

CCHO is celebrating 50 years of ministry! Throughout 2019, we will be sharing stories of the lives that have been forever changed by the work God has done through our family of ministries (CCHO, Encourage Foster Care and Encompass Christian Counseling). During our 50th Anniversary Benefit Dinner, we debuted several original videos to help celebrate the life change God has initiated through five decades of ministry. Today, we’re excited to share Ashley’s video with you as story #17 in our 50 Stories for 50 Years of Ministry series.

Ashley's Story (#17)

It is an honor to walk alongside people like Ashley, who has found health and healing for herself and her family during her time as an Encompass Christian Counseling client. Click here to see the full recap from our 50th Anniversary Benefit Dinner.

Celebrating Five Decades of Ministry

This story is part of our "50 Stories for 50 Years of Ministry" retrospective. Throughout 2019, we will be sharing 50 stories about the broken hearts, broken people, and broken families that have been made new by a loving and redemptive God. Have your own story about CCHO and our family of ministries? Click the button below to share it with us.

Read more