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Partners in legacy (Story 15 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 pause to acknowledge the community partners who have stood with us over the years. Their legacy is story #15 in our 50 Stories for 50 Years of Ministry series.

As we prepare to gather for our 50th celebration this weekend, we are especially grateful for our community partners who support our mission. They play an important role in helping individuals and families find healing throughout our family of ministries. We recently heard from one of our long-time friends who has contributed in many meaningful ways. Christine Malcuit, Collection, Purchasing, Marketing Officer at Apple Creek Banking Company, shared about our unique relationship.

Apple Creek Banking Company has been a supporter for about 15 years, and some employees have supported CCHO for many years prior to that. Jeff Smith recalls Gary Porter (former CCHO executive director) purchasing repossessed vehicles for CCHO many years ago, and what stands out most is what a good steward of funds Gary was (and a very tough negotiator)! Our bank has supported the CCHO ministries through various donations over the years, including building projects, golf outing sponsorships, donation of fair hogs, and other contributions. Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven’ (Matthew 19:14), and we are extremely happy and honored to be a small part of what the CCHO mission stands for. “

Our advancement team has the privilege of working with our business partners to help them achieve their philanthropic goals. “What I love about working with Apple Creek Bank and other businesses in this community is just that—a sense of community,” said Jenny Myers, Advancement Coordinator. “People who truly care about where they work and live. Apple Creek Bank is a great example of a business that cares and shows that through support and volunteerism.”

Many thanks to Apple Creek Banking Company and our generous 50th celebration weekend sponsors. Some of these businesses are brand new business backers and others have faithfully watched our organization develop and grow over the years. Each one of you is part of our legacy in serving others. We are grateful for your trust and partnership.

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.

We will also be hosting our 50th Anniversary Celebration Weekend on June 8 & 9. We hope you can join us!

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Leading with kindness (Story 13 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 recognize a community partner who has gone the extra mile to help our youth heal. The Wayne County Sheriff’s Office is the subject of story #13 from our 50 Stories for 50 Years of Ministry series.

Helping meet the needs of our residential youth takes a lot of hands and partners. We are especially grateful for the kindness of the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office. There are good days and growing days in our children’s residential center. With the often unpredictable behavior of youth with trauma, there are times when the sheriff’s office makes frequent visits to campus. They have come out many times in the last month but continue to protect and serve with a positive attitude.

One officer in particular has visited a few times just to check in with kids and bring them gifts. Deputy Kirk Shelly brought the younger girls of cottage 3 some stuffed animals several weeks ago. He also stopped out more recently to visit a teen boy who he had interacted with the previous weekend during crisis. He remembered that this young teen was sad because a peer had broken his ear buds, and so he delivered a new pair of ear buds just for him.

These positive interactions help our youth feel known and valued by a caring adult. For the majority of our residents, their experiences with officers have occurred in times of crisis. A uniformed officer often represents loss, separation, abuse or neglect. We are most appreciative for law enforcement officers like Deputy Shelly, who help break down negative impressions through acts of affirmation and respect.

Thank you so much Wayne County Sheriff’s Office for demonstrating leadership in such a powerful way with our kids.

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.

We will also be hosting our 50th Anniversary Celebration Weekend on June 8 & 9. We hope you can join us!

Read more

Memories from our second resident (Story 12 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). This next story comes from the early days of our ministry. Robert Marshall, the second youth resident at CCHO, shares memories with us about his time living on campus in the 70s and the impact of Dennis and Dorothea Bowers in story #12 from our 50 Stories for 50 Years of Ministry series.

I came to CCHO in August 1971 and lived there until I graduated [high school] in June 1975. I was the second resident in the program and still go back often just to visit. I feel that CCHO’s work then and now was and is very helpful to so many. My memories are numerous but here are a few.

Not too long after I arrived, I started going with Dennis Bowers [the first executive director and house parent] almost every weekend to churches all over Ohio to show a slide show. Dennis would talk about CCHO’s mission and what they started in 1969. After I had been at CCHO for a while, I talked a couple of times at these churches too.

I loved to go for walks down in the woods on the CCHO campus just to enjoy the beauty and quietness. When I lived on campus, the farm land was leased out to local farms and at times we would help them bail hay and straw and help unload it into the barn hayloft.

Each year, I went to Round Lake Christian Camp. Even after I left CCHO, I continued to work in the kitchen at Round Lake.

After I graduated in 1975, I went into the Navy. Dennis not only attended my graduation in 1975, he and his wife Dorothea also drove up to Great Lakes Naval Training north of Chicago for my graduation from boot camp in September 1975.

Dennis and Dorothea were like mom and dad to me and sadly there are both with our Lord now. Dorothea passed in May 2017 and Dennis just passed April 2019. I miss them both. We all lived in the main farm house—Dennis and Dorothea, along with their four young daughters. At one point there were four teenage boys and three teenage girls plus the Bowers’ family all living there. We had lots of fun and went to Parkview Church of Christ [now Parkview Christian Church] in Wooster.

I will be at the 50th Anniversary Benefit Dinner in June and hope to see everyone there. God bless everyone and see you in June.

Enjoy the photos below also contributed by Bob.

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.

We will also be hosting our 50th Anniversary Celebration Weekend on June 8 & 9. We hope you can join us!

Read more

Fill the Gap

We are beyond excited to celebrate our 50th anniversary at our benefit dinner on Saturday, June 8 and the Great Grill Off on Sunday, June 9. After five incredible decades of ministry, the list of blessings we could praise God for is practically endless. One of those blessings would be our unbelievable staff, who not only give their hearts totally and completely to our purpose of helping people experience their worth in Christ, but who also bring so many wonderful talents to work each day.

Be sure to join us on Saturday, June 8 when Brandon Jurkovich, our Assistant Director of Clinical Services will deliver a powerful spoken word performance about legacy at our 50th Anniversary Benefit Dinner. Get your tickets today!

Spoken Word

At our 2017 Heart for the Home Celebration, Brandon took the stage with a performance about fatherhood. Here’s a clip from that night, and be sure to join us on June 8 for Brandon’s next performance. You won’t want to miss it!

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See the possibility (Story 11 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). We hope you will enjoy story #11, courtesy of Emily Engman, LSW, foster care assessor and trainer at Encourage Foster Care, from our 50 Stories for 50 Years of Ministry series. Her words are timely as we recognize National Foster Care Month in May.

When you hear people talk about foster care and adoption, you often hear about a broken system, damaged children and a whole litany of all the challenges, difficulties and reasons to stay away rather than get involved. At Encourage we see the heartache our foster parents experience when they grieve the loss of separation from a foster child they loved as their own. I am most inspired by the families who persevere and press forward, take on another placement and once again love and care for another child whose future is uncertain. It is often this uncertainty that weighs foster parents down. Not knowing if a child will be in your home for three months, a year, or forever, is tough.

Our goal in child welfare is always to reunite a child with their biological families. Reunification is a beautiful thing. Adoption is a beautiful thing, yet it is also born out of a significant loss. As Christians, we’ve just celebrated Easter. To walk away from the challenges and not move forward, is to leave Jesus in the tomb.

The hope in Jesus is that there is restoration for each and every one of us. For the parent who hurts their child. For the foster parent that wants to quit. For the child whose behaviors makes them seem most unlovable. There is nothing that brings me greater joy than to help a foster and adoptive family through the struggle of foster care and see them come out on the other side.

In the last year, I have had the blessing of working with a few families who had just about closed their doors or had been told by other agencies that they wouldn’t have more children placed in their homes. But I think the hope we have calls us to do more. In the summer of 2018, we accepted a family who had experience fostering/adopting but had been through a challenging situation. Since they have worked with our team, they have fostered four more children and were chosen this week to be placed with a little girl who has medical needs and is currently available for adoption. If they hadn’t become an Encourage foster family, they wouldn’t have had the opportunity to love and care for these children.

Being able to witness the healing and restoration of a foster family is such a privilege. While we minister to the children in our care, we minister to the families as well. I love to see our Encourage foster and adoptive families experience success and know that our staff is there to support them along the journey. When I think about foster care, I don’t see a broken system or damaged children. I see the possibility.

I’ve been a social worker for over ten years, and I am still passionate about children in foster care not just surviving but thriving in our foster homes. Our strength lies in our ability to believe in something greater than ourselves and that each and every foster parent, biological family and foster child has value and meaning beyond ourselves.

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.

We will also be hosting our 50th Anniversary Celebration Weekend on June 8 & 9. We hope you can join us!

Read more

Trading worthlessness for faithfulness (Story 10 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). We’re thrilled to be able to share this baptism story from Tim Hartzler, our Campus Pastor. Story #10 from our 50 Stories for 50 Years of Ministry series celebrates Mia’s transformation and baptism!

I met Mia last summer when she first became a resident in our Young Girls Cottage. I was working as a treatment specialist in a different cottage at the time, so I only got to see her every so often. I was immediately struck by Mia’s kindness, openness and her bright, vibrant personality. She was the type of kid that made you feel warm inside just being around her. I remember thinking, “Why is a kid like this even here in a treatment facility?”

It didn’t take long to see just what was really going on inside Mia. She began to display anger, violence and rage. I remember her telling me that she felt broken and worthless. She shared details of a past full of hurt, pain and trauma. I felt helpless and my heart broke as I could see this amazing child of God, but felt unable to help her to see the same.

I thank God for the amazing staff that work in our Young Girls Cottage. Through their dedication and daily example, Mia saw the love of Jesus Christ. They tirelessly poured love into Mia to combat the feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness she carried with her. One day, after talking to Miss Cindy, one of our incredible treatment specialists, Mia accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior!

Over time I began to see changes in Mia. She began working hard to overcome her past and the feelings she had about herself. Shortly after I became the Spiritual Coordinator and Campus Pastor at CCHO, Mia began faithfully attending Bible studies in her cottage, asking more and more questions about Jesus and what it meant to be a Christian. I could see her confidence in herself and what God was doing in her grow. One day, we talked about baptism and Mia immediately asked if she could be baptized. I explained that baptism was a public declaration of our faith in Christ Jesus, and I asked if she was ready to tell the whole world that she loved Jesus and was choosing to follow Him. Mia emphatically said yes!

On April 26th, 2019, I had the privilege and great honor of baptizing Mia. I can say with pride and confidence that Mia is a completely changed person from the girl I first met last summer. She knows the road ahead won’t be easy, and she still has a lot to work on (as we all do!), but I am confident that she is on the path to hope and healing, and by the grace of God, will get there.

We are thrilled to be able to share, with her permission, the testimony Mia wrote and read for her baptism service:

“When I was young, I constantly moved from house to house, never knowing where my next home would be. Sometimes I had to steal food so I would have something to eat.

My dad drank alcohol a lot and was in and out of jail most of my childhood. I didn’t really know my mom growing up, and I ended up living with my grandparents.

I became very angry and one day I threatened to hurt someone in my family. As a result, I was taken from my grandparents and placed at Christian Children’s Home of Ohio.

It was at CCHO that I met miss Cindy, who taught me about Jesus. I now choose to get baptized and have asked Jesus to come into my heart to save me from my sin.

I want everyone to know that Jesus is my Lord and Savior, and I commit my life to following Him.”

After reading her testimony, Mia then shared one of her favorite verses: Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

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.

We will also be hosting our 50th Anniversary Celebration Weekend on June 8 & 9. We hope you can join us!

Read more

The gentle giant

One Heart Stables is home to a select group of horses that offer clients struggling with depression, low self-esteem or anxiety the opportunity to engage in authentic connection. Each of their distinctive personalities contributes to their role as “equine therapists” 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: Adam
Age: 18
Breed: Thoroughbred gelding

Adam is known as the “gentle giant” of the barn. While many are intimidated by his large size, he can quickly gain one’s trust and confidence with his calm and pleasant nature. Honesty is Adam’s virtue as he supports clients in exploring and experiencing authentic connection within relationships.

Adam is quite the athlete and enjoys having a job. He also enjoys galloping around the pasture, reliving his glory days as a racehorse and eventer. Adam is a great confidence builder for children and adults alike; he constantly proves to people that they can overcome challenges and achieve their goals! Adam came to us from a wonderful friend who wanted his retirement to be productive and helpful to others.

Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy

Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) uses interactions with a horse to facilitate individual growth and relational healing. Board-certified therapists use experiences with a horse and personal reflection to achieve the participant’s therapy goals. Individual, family and group sessions are offered and can include riding or working with a horse on the ground. Our team looks forward to hearing from you and helping you achieve your goals. Most insurances are accepted. Learn more and inquire today.

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Life lessons learned (Story 9 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). This next story comes from a former teen resident of cottage 1. In story #9 from our 50 Stories for 50 Years of Ministry series, Amanda shares how her life has been deeply influenced by the kindness of residential team members at CCHO.

I was 16 years old when I came to CCHO. I was a lost, angry teenager, but the love and support of CCHO helped mold me into the woman I am today. I was a resident of cottage 1 for almost a year. I made friends that I’m still friends with today. I learned how to ride horses and clean stables as well as saddle horses and clean hooves. To this day I still remember how to do those things. I remember the joy of riding and the comfort of being around the horses.

While I was a resident I had tough days, but the house parents (as we called the cottage staff at that time) always helped me smile again. Sarah and Dwayne were one set of parents who made an impact on me. They were caring and fun and loved all of us individually. They tried to connect with each of us to help us the best they could. Sarah and I used to play SingStar when I needed cheering up. We used to make jewelry too. She was the best.

The other house parents Tim and Jenny were just as amazing. They loved with a gentler technique yet still as effective. If it wasn’t for CCHO, I would most likely be hooked on drugs or dead. But because I was blessed to have them, I am a mother and have a happy normal life.

Each of our house parents had a dog. Theirs was Maggie, a little schnauzer who was the sweetest cuddle bug. While I was there we went on a missionary trip to Noblesville, Indiana to help restore a historic landmark. The experience was more fun than it sounds 🙂 Afterward, we spent the next day at Kings Island. Best day of my life!

I may have left CCHO on not-so-good terms but everything I’ve learned from them has helped me grow and mature in ways I didn’t think possible. I’m now a 27-year-old mom who has a good life and still goes to church and uses the life lessons I learned from CCHO.

Thank you, CCHO, for everything you have done for me. I would still be a lost, angry person without you.

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.

We will also be hosting our 50th Anniversary Celebration Weekend on June 8 & 9. We hope you can join us!

Read more

A faithful foundation (Story 8 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 celebrate the life and ministry of a man who helped lay the foundation upon which our agency is built. Dennis Bowers, CCHO’s first executive director, is the subject of story #8 from our 50 Stories for 50 Years of Ministry series.

Fifty years ago today, on a Tuesday evening at Rittman First Church of Christ, 12 men were selected as members of the interim Board of Directors for Christian Children’s Home of Ohio (CCHO). Several months later, one of those men would become CCHO’s first executive director while also serving with his wife as the organization’s first set of house parents.

Dennis Bowers and his wife Dorthea faithfully served CCHO for its first decade of ministry. Dennis and Dorthea, along with their three daughters, Debbie, Denise and Darlene (above), lived in the original house on CCHO’s 175 acres of farmland from 1969-‘79, providing faithful guidance and leadership to the fledgling ministry while serving as foster parents to the organization’s first young residents. Dennis and Dorthea also were charter members of Parkview Church of Christ in Wooster. Sadly, on Wednesday, April 3, 2019 – nearly 50 years to the day that he accepted the nomination as one of CCHO’s first board members – Dennis Bowers passed away at the Sycamore Run Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Millersburg, surrounded by his family.

In honor of his life and his service during those first day’s of CCHO’s existence, we wanted to share the official minutes (read below) from that first meeting on April 22, 1969 at Rittman First Church of Christ, along with a photo of Dennis and his family from their time with CCHO. We’re so grateful for people like Dennis, Dorthea and our original board members, whose heart for children in need helped lay the foundation for 50 years of ministry at CCHO.

Original Board of Directors

Ken Bliler (Sherman Church of Christ, Barberton)
Dennis Bowers (Parkview Church of Christ, Wooster)
Paul Carr (Jackson Christian Church, Massillon)
Rev. Paul Carson (Rittman First Church of Christ)
Charles Deitrich (Welcome Church of Christ, Millersburg)
Paul Hubacher (Church of Christ, Orrville)

Rev. Ed Hughes (Parkview Church of Christ, Wooster)
Rev. Bill Keever (Millersburg Church of Christ)
Joe Noll (West Akron Church of Christ)
Rev. Don Scott (Lakeview Church of Christ, Akron)
Mahlon Sommer (Millersburg Christian Church)
Earl Taylor (First Church of Christ, Rittman)

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.

We will also be hosting our 50th Anniversary Celebration Weekend on June 8 & 9. We hope you can join us!

Read more