CCHO 50th Anniversary – Christian Children’s Home of Ohio

CCHO 50th Anniversary

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

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

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

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

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

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