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Josie’s triumph (Story 7 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). God even uses horses to help kids and adults understand His great and unconditional love for them. Story 7 (first printed in the spring 2019 issues of “All Things”) from our 50 Stories for 50 Years of Ministry series takes us to One Heart Stables on the Wooster Campus of CCHO. Our equine program began in 1995 as one more therapeutic approach to helping individuals experience their worth in Christ. This program has expanded to serve adults and children in the general public through Encompass. Equine Therapist Krista Overmire, LCPC, shares about God’s transformative work in the arena.

When I first met Josie, I met a powerhouse of a young woman; she presented as a strong, independent teenager with something to prove to the world. She was fluent in psychology, philosophy, and teenager, and she had an opinion about every current issue facing our nation. I found myself going home and researching current events just so that I could sound intelligent when conversing with her! Josie was strong and fearless.

During her first session with me, Josie’s goal was to meet each of the therapy horses and pick the one that would become her equine partner. She met our elegant Thoroughbred Adam, our charming Arabian Magic, our gentle Quarter Horse Blue, and our sweet Paint Sunny. But it was Moses who caught and held Josie’s attention. Moses is our Draft cross, and both his body and his personality are quite large. Moses has been known to nibble on coat pockets and hair, open his stall door when nobody is looking, and playfully throw his bridle across the aisleway when his stall window is open. Our theory in equine therapy is that people will pick the horse that they truly need; it turns out that Josie did just that.

Over the next few months, Josie came faithfully to the barn every week to work on forging a relationship with Moses. While Josie enjoyed Moses’ company, she found it incredibly difficult to maintain a mutual, emotional connection with the horse. Josie used her body language to ask the horse to come to her, yet the horse often responded by ignoring her completely; she found herself feeling frustrated and hurt from the horse’s seeming rejection.

Weeks turned into months of this similar pattern, and one blustery winter day, Josie broke. She cried as she told me about growing up in a family that viewed women as lesser than men, in both worth and intellect. Josie told me about how she constantly felt the need to prove to everyone around her, including her parents and siblings, that she was smart and that she was worth something. However, Josie’s defenses of intellect and wit did not work with the 1,400-pound animal. Josie had never received the unconditional love of another; instead, any love and connection that she superficially obtained was fought for and earned. Suddenly, her fight for her worth did not work, and she was left feeling alone and empty. I watched Josie shatter, all façade of strong and fearless left in the arena dirt.

Meanwhile, Moses was being, “Moses-y”, or his usual ornery self, on the other side of the arena; he was chewing on a lead rope and throwing it into the air, completely disengaged from Josie and me. As I walked Josie through her brokenness, she said something that I will never forget. Josie started to realize that when the horse started to connect with her, she felt a shift in her body energy, which she later described as, “surprise”. When I asked Josie why she felt surprised that the horse wanted to connect with her, she looked at the ground and almost whispered, “Why would anybody want to connect with me?” My heart sank, and tears filled my eyes.

In that moment of true vulnerability, God did the miraculous. Seconds after Josie released those heavy words and pain poured from Josie’s heart, Moses responded; he picked up his head, dropped the lead rope, turned around, and walked straight over to Josie, stopping directly in front of her. I watched in silent awe as Moses put his massive head over her shoulder and wrapped her in an equine embrace, as if to say, “You are worthy of love and connection, and I am going to prove it to you.”

Silence fell around the arena as both Josie and I let our tears fall. Time slowed as Josie wrapped her arms around the giant horse’s neck, buried her face in his mane, and wept.

Moses taught Josie about her inherent worth that day. After months of desperately trying to connect with the horse the only way Josie knew how, Moses showed her that there is another way. Moses taught Josie that she does not have to fight for connection or prove that she is worthy of love; instead, Moses loved and accepted her by authentically embracing her in a moment of vulnerability and pain. Moses taught Josie that she is capable of being loved unconditionally, perhaps for the first time in Josie’s life.

Isn’t that such a beautiful picture of how our God wants to connect with us? We are marred and stained with sin and shame, yet God wants to connect with us in our broken places. We try to act like we have it all together; we compete with our peers to see who can create the best façade of a perfect life. But God, like Moses, wants nothing to do with our façade and everything to do with the condition of our hearts. He meets us in our authenticity and wraps us in His unconditional, loving embrace, proving to us that we are loved and accepted, flaws and all. What a relief it is to know that I don’t have to be perfect to be loved and accepted!

Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for your unconditional love. Thank you for the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Christ, that we may be freely forgiven and accepted into your family. Teach us to love unconditionally the way that you love us. We love you endlessly.
Amen.

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

Certified Best Christian Workplace 2019

We are excited to announce for the third straight year, CCHO and our family of ministries have been certified as a 2019 Best Christian Workplace by the Best Christian Workplaces Institute (BCWI).

The first survey of Christian workplaces was published in Christianity Today magazine in 2003. This engagement survey helps churches, ministries and Christian-owned businesses measure the health of their workplace culture in eight areas: fantastic teams, life-giving work, outstanding talent, uplifting growth, rewarding compensation, inspirational leadership, sustainable strategy, and healthy communication.

“I am humbled and proud to serve alongside each of [our staff] as we help people experience their worth in Christ,” said CCHO’s President & CEO Kevin Hewitt. “I am grateful that our staff exemplifies what Paul wrote in Colossians 3:17: ‘And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.’”

Jeff Stump, director of facilities, added, “How awesome it is to see on a daily basis how our God uses a bunch of imperfect people who love Him, to bring love, hope, grace and mercy into the lives of hurting kids and families. [I am] honored to be a part of this family of ministries.”

BCWI’s mission is to equip and inspire Christian leaders to build a flourishing workplace. The organization has expanded to include Canadian, Australian, South African, United Kingdom, Albanian and Guatemalan ministry partners. View the full list of Best Christian Workplaces for 2019.

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Healing for a kindergartener’s heart (Story 6 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 one of our school-based therapists at Encompass. Abby Fischer, LISW, serves at Triway Local Schools to support the social-emotional needs of students in the school environment. In story #6 from our 50 Stories for 50 Years of Ministry series, Abby shares about a young student whose life has been changed by supportive mental health services.

Throughout my career I have had the opportunity to work in variety of different locations. The change of scenery is one of the reasons I appreciate my career. When I accepted the position of working directly in the school system, I had some worry that my favorite aspect of the job would become somewhat bland and monotonous. However, after meeting Joey I realized I would have more than enough unique opportunities to stretch my knowledge and keep me on my toes.

Joey was a kindergarten student when I started working with him. He had the typical chubby cheeks of a kindergartener. He was missing his two front teeth and had the most stunning eye color. Joey was sitting quietly in his seat when I entered the room, seemingly no different from any other student. Soon after, though, I was understood why I was asked to work with Joey.

Joey was instructed to complete some morning work (a mixture of small tasks to help kindergarten students practice their knowledge). The result of this request was a crumpled piece of paper, a broken pencil and some intense grunting refusals.

Joey’s teacher quietly approached his desk and gently encouraged him to take a break. Joey put his head down on his desk for several seconds, seemingly to agree that a break was necessary, only to explode up out of his seat, catching the desk in the process. A whirlwind ensued; papers, crayons, books, chairs and toys scattered across the room in no time.

Soon after, Joey was taken out of the classroom to calm down in a different room with no onlooking students. He then became aggressive toward teachers, hitting, kicking, grunting and breaking anything he could touch. There seemed to be no end to this angry episode. Joey had a long road ahead.

Reflecting back on this incident, I recall my first impression of teachers and administrators working with this student in true crisis. The calm demeanor they presented, along with their consistent and loving manner with Joey, was amazing to witness. This approach continued for each of Joey’s outbursts that persisted for the next six months.

Joey’s mom came to meeting after meeting and shared how he was struggling at home as well. She spoke of her frustration and occasionally shed tears with school staff, wondering how to help her son.

Joey slowly began to demonstrate some improvement in small areas. He really enjoyed one-on-one attention and showcased that he was highly capable of completing kindergarten level tasks. He learned to give coping skills to older students who came into the classroom struggling; however, it was too difficult for him to implement these skills himself.

Eventually, Joey met with Dr. Reynolds, CCHO’s psychiatrist who prescribed the right combination of medication to meet his needs. Joey’s Attention Deficit Disorder was so severe that life for Joey was like watching the scene selection of a three-hour movie, instead of the whole movie. He was becoming frustrated because he was receiving small bits and pieces of information and it was confusing. The correct medication combined with ongoing therapeutic efforts of school staff, CPST workers and myself helped Joey overcome his symptoms and return to a normal classroom setting.

I’m happy to share that Joey is currently excelling in the classroom. He has the highest test scores out of all the students in his grade and always has a smile and a hug to give. He still enjoys teaching all his peers coping skills that he has learned along the way. Recently Joey received the “Leader of the Month” award at his school. Due to all the positive growth he has demonstrated, his mom now cries tears of joy when she meets about her son.

Joey is just one of 45 children currently being served by Encompass in the school environment. He is a beautiful example of how the appropriate mental health intervention can change someone’s life. I’m excited to see what God has in store for his future.

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

Decades with Discover (Story 5 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 wouldn’t have reached this milestone without the faithful and vital support of incredible churches like Discover Christian Church in Dublin, OH. Discipleship Minister Jim Brechbuhler shares why Discover has supported CCHO for decade upon decade in story #5 from our 50 Stories for 50 Years of Ministry series.

As the Discipleship Minister at Discover Christian Church in Dublin, Ohio, I have led our annual CCHO men’s mission trip for the past 10 years. Our senior minister and I discussed how long Discover has been involved with CCHO. While neither of us can remember when it all started, we know it’s been at least 20 years!

This has been a long and treasured friendship. Discover supports CCHO monetarily on a monthly basis, as well as with our previously mentioned men’s construction trips. Our missions ministry and children’s ministry also help with Christmas gifts and pillows for the children, as well as with other periodic projects.

Three words quickly came to mind when I began to think of the people at CCHO, three words that best describe my deep love and respect for this ministry. Yes…CCHO has a physical location, but CCHO is its employees and the kids and families they serve. Each word comes straight from scripture.

The Discover Christian Church team pouring cement at One Heart Stables in the fall of 2018

KINDNESS

From Kevin Hewitt (President & CEO) to our own sitting board member, Bill Roberts, to the maintenance guys who we know well, kindness permeates every level of CCHO. Stumpy, Tim, Winky, Mikey and Mark from maintenance and John from One Heart Stables work closely with us on all our construction projects. We see them interact with the kids and how the kids love to joke and talk with them. Due to behavioral issues of the children that unfortunately often result in things getting broken around campus, these men sometimes have to fix the same things over and over. For many, this would be frustrating, but we only see kindness in their responses. We work long hours to get our constructions projects done in short periods of time, so we’re always asking them a zillion questions and have them running everywhere for us, but they always respond kindly! We’ve seen cottage workers endure less than kind words from children that have only had unkind words spoken to them, yet they always respond in kindness. We watch how the employees treat each other, and kindness is front and center.

PERSEVERANCE

Each day that we’re working on campus, we see Carla and the other equine counselors head out through the pastures, each leading a horse with a child in the saddle who needs to talk. Daily, they lovingly invest many hours in walking and listening, helping kids unpack their deep hurts. Our guys see counselors go home at the end of long days of helping families heal. Even though they might be weary, they often stop to chat or at least wave and smile on their way out. Professionally, helping those that hurt can be tough, in that it takes a toll on caring people. It takes perseverance to go the distance and not give up. The CCHO staff perseveres because they’re professionally strong and know that Jesus walks with them into every situation they encounter.

HUMILITY

Rare is the organization where everyone with whom you come in contact exhibits a humble spirit. Humility is in great shortfall these days, but the Holy Spirit is actively cultivating it among the CCHO staff on a continual basis!

Christ-centered kindness, perseverance and humility explain why kids and families come to CCHO hurting and leave with a new outlook on the future. Every time we pull onto campus, we know we’re going to be blessed more by the staff than we’ll bless them. We look forward to serving CCHO for many years to come and would encourage everyone to join in the mission of CCHO! From all of us at Discover to our CCHO friends, we love you all!

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 class clown

One Heart Stables is home to a select group of horses. 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: Moses
Age: 11
Breed: Draft/Quarter Horse gelding

Moses was previously part of Ohio University’s equestrian program. He came to One Heart Stables in 2015. One of our younger horses, he is a true extrovert who loves to be around people and other horses. Moses’ broad back and smooth gaits are beneficial for clients with physical disabilities.

Moses is most definitely the “class clown” of the stables and knows how to make people laugh. He is often playful and mischievous, whether opening his own stall door or chewing on your jacket zipper. He loves to trail ride, possibly because he enjoys stopping to eat along the way. With his curious and hungry nature, the first “horse drive thru” came to be!

Therapy Comes in All Shapes & Sizes

When you donate to CCHO, you are ensuring that our kids receive access to a wide range of therapies including equine therapy. Client benefits include an increase in self-confidence, self-worth, communication skills, coping skills and problem-solving skills. Make a gift today!

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Minister to hurting kids

The character and commitment of our staff members are critical to us serving our clients well. Treatment specialists, a key position within our children’s residential center team, directly care for the needs and safety of our youth clients. This role offers the unique opportunity to build relationships with kids and teens and model for them what a healthy adult looks like. This position receives specialized training in caring for children and teens with trauma. It’s a great opportunity to explore the social services career field and gain experience working alongside other clinical team members. More than that, the treatment specialist role is a ministry to hurting kids looking for hope and stability.

We asked our staff to share about their experiences as a treatment specialist. Tim Hartzler, now our campus spiritual coordinator, served as a treatment specialist in our teen boys cottage for several years. Read his words below.

Being a treatment specialist is difficult and frustrating yet fulfilling and rewarding all at the same time. It can be frustrating watching kids make choices that negatively impact their life, and frustrating when you can’t do anything to help them.

However, it is incredibly fulfilling when you see residents make positive choices and changes in their lives that they have been struggling with, sometimes for all of their lives. Knowing, at the end of the day, that I have served a greater purpose than my own wants or desires, to put someone else’s needs first, is an incredibly rewarding feeling.

My motivation to help our clients is seeing the world through their point of view. Seeing them the way my heavenly Father sees me. To see each one as a lost and broken child that is unable to understand and cope with the world in which they have been brought up. And needing the grace, strength and peace that only comes from Jesus.

The reason I have dedicated time and energy can be summed up in James 1:27, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

What better way to show the love of our heavenly Father than to take care of those who are without a family. At the end of my life when I stand before God, I will not feel remorse over the difficulties I went through for these kids, but rather I will feel ashamed that I did not go through more for them.

Learn more about the treatment specialist position on our human resources page. We currently have openings on first, second and overnight shifts.

Treatment specialist applicants must be 21 and have a high school diploma/GED, valid driver’s license and reliable transportation. Treatment specialists are required to be able to restrain a client when necessary (training provided) and must be able to pass a pre-employment physical. References, background checks and drug screenings will be completed on all potential candidates. EOE.

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One Heart, One Family of Ministries (Story 4 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 enjoy this glimpse of our amazing staff, written by our President & CEO, in story #4 from our 50 Stories for 50 Years of Ministry series.

From the first employee hired in 1969 to our most recent group of new hires, thousands of men and women have served at CCHO and our family of ministries. They have served by caring enough to step into the pain and hurt of life to offer hope and peace. They have served by caring enough to support their fellow staff. They have served by caring enough to be the hands and feet of Jesus each day of the year.

Many of those staff members attended our spring All Staff luncheon this week, where we spent some time celebrating 50 years of ministry while looking ahead to what God may have planned for the next 50 years. It was a fun afternoon of food and fellowship for everyone, as you can see in the below picture. I am grateful for each and every one of our current staff – for the heart they all have for our family of ministries – and I am amazed by the impact they are making in northeast Ohio and beyond.

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

Perfect love casts out fear (Story 3 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 #3, courtesy of Encourage Foster Care, from our 50 Stories for 50 Years of Ministry series.

It’s not easy being a foster parent. In fact, many foster parents would say opening their hearts and homes to children in need is the hardest thing they’ve ever done.

Gwyn would agree. When she took in a terrified four-year-old boy and his baby sister nearly five years ago, Gwyn’s whole world was turned upside down. The siblings’ two-year-old brother had just died as the result of suspicious injuries allegedly inflicted by their mother’s boyfriend. After months of praying over the beds in an empty room in her house, Gwyn watched God answer her prayers in an unexpected way.

The transition was incredibly difficult for everyone, especially early on. The little boy, who insists he also had been abused by “the bad guy,” bombarded Gwyn with questions, trying to figure out if he was finally safe. Fear and anxiety ruled him, and he wondered why he hadn’t died too. His anger sent him into intense “fight mode,” repeating the words and actions that he endured from his mother’s boyfriend.

Gwyn says she believed that God had placed this little boy and his baby sister into her home for a reason, and she knew she had to love them in return because “perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18). “I couldn’t guard my heart if I was going to love them and give them what they needed,” she says. “I had to make them feel safe…. So I just said, ‘Okay, God, I’m going to love them while I have them. While they’re in the circle of my arms, my family, my home, you are giving them to me to invest, to love, to nurture, to do my best with.’”

Breakthroughs began to happen during the boy’s trauma-informed counseling, and six months later, he started praying that Gwyn would adopt his sister and him. That prayer was answered two years later.

Today, the nine-year-old boy has a new name – Joshua, which he chose because he wanted to be as strong and courageous as the Joshua he learned about one day in Sunday school. He’s a big baseball fan who loves camping, fishing and riding his bike. “He’s just my outdoor kid that wants to go wander the woods all the time,” Gwyn says. And after starting this school year two full grades behind in his reading level, Josh has nearly caught up with the other kids in his class.

Meanwhile, Josh’s sister, Lena Rose, is now named after Gwyn’s grandmothers. While she tries to make sense of her big brother’s grief and anger, Lena hasn’t been as impacted by the traumatic events as Josh because she was so young when she was placed in Gwyn’s home. She loves reading and will be starting kindergarten next year. “Lena would swim every chance she gets,” Gwyn says. “She’d grow a tail if she could, so we love mermaids now.”

Gwyn, Josh and Lena Rose

We featured Gwyn and her beautiful family in a recent video for Encourage Foster Care. To learn more about this ministry, please visit encouragefostercare.org.

While the initial trials and immediate turmoil have passed, Josh still has days when his emotions get the best of him. However, his overall progress, Gwyn says, is remarkable. He sometimes struggles understanding other people’s boundaries but he has become much more empathetic toward others.

“He definitely puts himself first,” Gwyn says, “but he’s able to recognize he’s doing it and he can come back and apologize (in those moments). I never saw that at all from him at first.”

In particular, Josh still wonders how “the bad guy” could do what he did. “I told him people can only do that if their empathy is broken,” Gwyn says. While Josh’s sense of empathy was damaged by what happened to him, Gwyn says she has explained to her son that they are rebuilding it. “I said…‘we’re teaching you to look at what is happening to others and how others feel, and you’re learning to care about other people.’ And that made sense (to him), and he took it and ran with it.”

Gwyn’s prayer for her children is that they would “love Jesus ridiculously,” that they would both grow up being incredibly strong and courageous, just like Josh’s namesake, while using their gifts to impact God’s Kingdom. As for herself, Gwyn has been reminded that God is big enough for everything she has faced, and that He will be big enough for anything she, Josh and Lena will face in the future.

When asked what advice she would give to herself at the beginning of this emotional five-year journey, Gwyn says, “Hold on tight because you’re in for a wild ride.” She pauses before adding, “It’ll be really hard, but it’ll be worth it. It’ll be worth it.”

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

“I don’t want you to love me” (Story 2 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 #2 from our 50 Stories for 50 Years of Ministry series.

Each day, employees of our family of ministries aim to uphold our three core values: relentless commitment, selflessness and kindness. We believe our interactions with the children, adults and families we serve throughout our three ministries, as well as our interactions with fellow employees, should be infused with these values.

Of course, living out these values day-by-day can be challenging. That’s why we love to celebrate moments when employees show relentless commitment, selflessness and kindness with our quarterly COMPEL Awards. Inspired by 2 Corinthians 5:14 (“For the love of Christ compels us…”), COMPEL is an acrostic for:

Christ
Others
Me
Possibilities of
Extravagant
Love

Each quarter, employees send in their COMPEL Award nominations by sharing short stories about ways they’ve witnessed fellow staff members show the love of Christ to others. We typically receive upwards of 50 nominations each quarter from all corners of our agency, and every nomination is read aloud and celebrated at our All Staff luncheons.

We will be including other COMPEL nominations in our “50 Stories for 50 Years” series, but today, we wanted to share one of the most powerful nominations ever submitted, from our former campus minister in 2012:

I saw Jesus that night…. Several weeks ago, on a Wednesday night as I was leaving one of the (resident) cottages, I heard loud yelling, swearing and profanity. Although it was dark, I could see the form of an animated youth and what looked like two staff members attempting to redirect the over-stimulated girl. I heard her (the youth) yell, “Get the *!%@ away from me…I DON’T WANT YOU TO LOVE ME….” The youth began to alternate between sobbing and screaming. After a while, the youth laid down on the cold pavement in front of cottage one and continued to sob.

By the way, it was freezing cold that night and although I was standing with my thermals, sweatshirt, coat and boots, I was STILL FREEZING out there!

Then, I saw Jesus lay down on the hard, cold pavement with that (girl) and stroke her hair and calmly reassure her…five minutes later, still on the ground but sobbing softly…10 minutes later, both still on the ground, no audible crying…15 minutes later, still on the ground…. I felt the need to help them get out of the freezing cold, so I asked the other staff who was there…if he could get some blankets from the cottage and cover them up!

When I left the scene, Jesus was still lying on the ground next to the youth, comforting her…. He was disguised as (former treatment specialist) Mary Fishburn.

On that bitterly cold night, Mary proved to this former resident that she was relentlessly committed to her by showing her kindness and selflessly putting the resident’s needs ahead of her own. It was exactly what that little girl needed, precisely at the moment, to discover some peace in the midst of her emotional turmoil.

What a great reminder of just how transformational Christ’s love can be for people who have experienced so much pain.

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

National Social Work Month

CCHO and our family of ministries is a social work agency. We believe in wrapping our clients with faith, love, relevant tools and supportive services to help them experience their worth in Christ and lead their best lives. We are deeply grateful for the countless contributions of our agency’s social workers throughout the year and acknowledge them especially this month in observance of National Social Work Month.

Each social worker’s day looks a little different depending on their area of service. Our organization utilizes social workers in homes, offices, schools, courtrooms and cottages. They provide mental health support and resource information. They come alongside individuals and families in times of crisis and help them make healthy choices for the future.

The following excerpt is from an interview with Kevin Hewitt, our president & CEO, originally printed in the Wooster Weekly News on March 25, 2013. A 25+ year social work veteran, he shares about the role of social workers and the motivation behind it.

“Social workers are the links that provide the services that our families need. They are aware from both a clinical standpoint and in a pragmatic way. They are wise in therapy techniques, and the empathy they have for kids and their ability to make connections, to find that child the right program they need and can flourish in . . . . Social workers are really taking up the cause of the powerless. Social workers give them a voice.”

“Social work really is showing somebody else that you value them. [It’s] the ability to bear one another’s burdens, to take some of the emotional baggage and pain and say, ‘you’re OK, we’re going to get through this.’ There’s tremendous value in that.”

Kevin continued, “In Scripture, we are repeatedly told to do good unto others, to love others. In Matthew 5:16, ‘that they see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.’ Or Ephesians 2:10, ‘For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared beforehand for us to do.’”

Our multi-site agency staff includes more than 30 professional social workers who serve others with leadership and compassion in this critical ministry career. They diligently work on behalf of others in need, and their relentless commitment brings restoration and healing for children, adults and families.

Ruth Aubrey, LISW-S
Alison Bartholomew, LSW
Necole Beitzel, LISW
Jessica Berry, LISW-S
Eleanor Brooks, LSW
Lindsay DeHaas, LSW
Alexandra Didato, LISW
Lenora Dotson, LSW
Kateri Ewing, LSW
Katherine Failor, LISW-S
Abby Fischer, LISW
Emily Frazier, LISW-S

Kristina Fryson, LSW
Valerie Grisak, LISW-S
Lisa Haberbusch, LISW-S
Kevin Hewitt, LSW
Brandon Jurkovich, LSW
Annita Justice, LSW
Candice Kocsis, LSW
Sarah Laubli, LSW
Sharon Mathias-Cain, LISW
Melissa McMullen, LSW
Alicia Miller, LSW
Rebecca Mollohan, LSW

Ronda Mullet, LSW
Shawn Pedani, LISW-S
Carla Plegge, LSW
Elizabeth Raynes, LSW
Tara Satterfield, LSW
Peggy Smith, LSW
Rebekah Smith, LSW
Glenn Sprunger, LSW
Julie Tuel, LSW
David Yoder, LISW-S
Renee Young, LSW

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