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

CCHO 50th Anniversary

He’d been there all along (Story 40 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 year has been filled with so many stories of healing and redemption that God has orchestrated together over five decades of ministry. Heather Knapik, residential alum, wife, mom and foster mom, shares her personal testimony and how the impact of her season at CCHO is helping others today. In story #40 of our 50 Stories for 50 Years of Ministry series, Heather reminds us that God is faithful. He never leaves us or stops loving us even when we walk away from Him.

I entered foster care at age four. By the time I was 15, I already had 13 homes including a failed adoption under my belt. Bouncing from home to home, I was subjected to physical and sexual abuse by several abusers. When I was 15, I finally found the courage to tell someone, and doing so unleashed a massive amount of fear and trauma that I’d been holding in for years. I didn’t know how to deal with the emotions, and I tried to take my own life.

Upon being released from the hospital, I was met with garbage bags full of my belongings. I was moving yet again. This time, I was taken to CCHO. I was scared, lonely, depressed, lost and broken. The first thing I noticed was that it didn’t feel like a group home. I’d been in those before. This place was different. It felt safe and welcoming.

We ate meals together, went to church together, and even went on vacation together! I attended therapy onsite, built a trusting relationship with my therapist and was able to open up and share a lot of my pain and begin working through it. Things started to feel somewhat normal again. I began to thrive. In the summer I had my own horse to care for and ride and that was HUGE for my growth. Over time I decided to give my heart to Jesus and was baptized in the CCHO swimming pool! It was such a special moment for me.

After two years of growth and healing, I moved in with a new foster family. I was sad to leave and afraid to go. But I knew the lessons I had learned during my time at CCHO would stay with me. I struggled after leaving. In early adulthood, I had unhealthy relationships, battled an eating disorder, and turned my back on God. In my late 20s, I again felt lost and broken.

Then I remembered the lessons about God and His love for me. Surely He would want nothing to do with me. I had kicked him out of my life. But I cried out to Him anyway, and in that moment, I felt peace for the first time in years. I knew He was there. He’d been there all along, waiting for ME to come back to Him. I began to climb out of my rock bottom with new hope inside. I worked daily on becoming the best me I could be and in doing so I began to heal again, to bloom and grow. I met a wonderful man and we got married.

God began calling my heart to serve. Two years ago, I poured my childhood pain into starting a nonprofit. We make comfort bags for youth entering foster care so they don’t have to carry their belongings in trash bags like I did. Knapik’s Knapsacks serves four county agencies and still growing!

God was calling my heart to serve further. Last year my husband and I began the process to become foster parents ourselves, and in June of 2018, we received our license! We currently have two placements in our home. We don’t know where this journey will lead us, but we know in our hearts that we’ve been called to it.

I talk often with others about my time at CCHO and the positive influence it had on me. I don’t know where I might have ended up without the love and guidance I received there. Those two short years impacted my life in huge ways. I am truly grateful for the time I spent at CCHO.

Celebrating Five Decades of Ministry

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

Read more

Planting, watering, growing and blooming (Story 39 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 year of storytelling has been filled with so many heartwarming memories and precious connections that God has pieced together over five decades of ministry. Today, Matt Hayden with Tri-Village Christian Church in Pataskala, OH shares about his own personal connection to CCHO’s family of ministries. In story #39 of our 50 Stories for 50 Years of Ministry series, Matt shows how that initial seed has grown into something far greater than he could have imagined.

CCHO has been a part of my life for at least 20 years. During that time, God has filled this relationship with a combination of wonder, trial, excitement and purpose.

I first heard about CCHO while growing up in a Christian church in central Ohio. The seed was planted about the awesome ministry happening in Wooster.

I entered youth ministry right out of college and, as best as I can describe it, my wife Megan and I got too comfortable too quick. In a challenge to step out in our faith, we accepted a role at CCHO as teaching parents in 2010, serving in the teenage girls cottage. While we eventually had to admit that we were not equipped for this role long term, Megan and I have never felt more like the hands and feet of Jesus than in that season in our lives. We also experienced such love and grace watching the power of Jesus transform the lives of the kids we served. The seed was watered.

Since our time as teaching parents, we have served in vocational ministry. As the Discipleship and Outreach Minister at Tri-Village Christian Church in Pataskala, OH, part of my role is to oversee missions. It has been wonderful to now be able to support CCHO financially and in other ways on the church side. Two years ago, we took a trip to serve at CCHO during the Great Grill Off. The team certainly enjoyed the chance to serve that weekend and to see the ministry of CCHO firsthand, but God had more up his sleeve.

My wife and I had been praying about becoming foster parents, an idea that we first considered when we were teaching parents. Every attempt at connecting with a fostering agency was closed. I called Encourage Foster Care and had a great conversation with Heather Huebner. Heather so graciously answered questions and empowered us to keep pushing through with the process. Not only did we have a great mission trip as a church, but the seed began to grow.

The following year, we worked through the process of being foster parents and brought some from the church along for the journey. Then, this past June, Tri-Village got to once again serve at the Great Grill Off while also taking part in the wonderful 50th anniversary celebration throughout the weekend.

CCHO was instrumental in laying a foundation that has now led to five Tri-Village families being licensed as foster parents, including my family. While we were not able to foster through Encourage in this fostering journey, they pushed us forward in the process. Since mid-August, we have once again become Jesus’ hands and feet as we have been privileged to serve a sibling pair in foster care. We went from our own two kids to now an even fuller house that includes a seven-year-old, six-year-old and a pair of three-year-olds! God is great…and He can also be surprising! The seed is beginning to bloom!

The beautiful thing about God is that I don’t know the full amount of fruit that will come from this journey. But knowing His power, I am confident that He is creating far more fruit than we may ever know. For us personally, our brief time in Wooster connected us to several mighty servants of God, from Kevin Hewitt (CCHO’s President & CEO) taking a chance on two people who had never had experience with that kind of work, to coworkers such as Dorn and Kandy Frame who walked alongside us in a tough position.

More recently, Heather’s wonderful words of encouragement led to the fruit of even more workers entering the foster care field. But there has been so much more fruit that God has grown in 50 years of bringing healing and hope to children in the bondage of pain and sin. There is a song we have been singing frequently in our household that says, “My God is so big and so strong and so mighty, there’s nothing my God cannot do.” This sentiment rings true over and over for us. Our God can shine light into the darkest of shadows. There has been more fruit multiplied through 50 years of ministry at CCHO than anyone can comprehend or imagine through God’s power. Here’s to 50 more years, CCHO!

Celebrating Five Decades of Ministry

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

Read more

The transformative path (Story 38 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). Two former CCHO residents share their inspiring stories of transformation in story #38 of our 50 Stories for 50 Years of Ministry series.

Transformation. It looks different for everyone. It takes time. It involves small but important decisions. Often baby steps. But those baby steps along a new path can lead to somewhere special, a destination that once seemed impossible to reach. A season of health, renewal, growth. Transformation.

We’ve been privileged to watch God bring transformation to so many children in our residential center here at CCHO. Even after 50 years, we love watching these God stories unfold. It’s why we do what we do, and it’s why our incredible donors, partner churches and other supporters continue to give of themselves and their resources so generously.

Stories like these below – the first from a former resident from many years ago, and the second from a more recent former resident – illustrate just how deeply God loves us, and how strong his desire is to transform our hearts and our lives into something far better than what we could ever hope or imagine.

I was a child who went through…well, I forget how many foster homes when I was small until I was adopted at age 12. Due to many traumas I experienced as a child, I had a lot of issues I didn’t know how to deal with. My adoptive parent tried counseling, medication, etc., and none of it worked.

My parents somehow heard of CCHO and decided to give that a try.

I remember the ride to Wooster. It was a long drive from Columbus. I remember passing miles of cornfields and farmland. We pulled up, I was dropped off and they got started. The staff were so friendly getting me settled in, but I didn’t care. In my head I was thinking this place is a joke and I can’t wait until I leave.

I walked miles around circle track on campus when I got there. Not because I was in trouble, but because I didn’t want to talk to anyone, get close to anyone or listen to anyone.

Over time I figured out the staff and counselors were quite fine to let me figure stuff out and not be so direct. I started to loosen up, but very slowly. They didn’t pressure me, didn’t rush, and let me take my time. It took so long, in fact, that I lived there for almost four years, if memory serves me correctly.

I figured out they wouldn’t accept lying, cheating, violence, manipulation, or any other types of behavior I had been guilty of doing. They taught me honesty, forgiveness, self-respect, humility, self-worth and so much more.

The most important things they taught me were that it was okay to let people into my life, that people really cared for me, that not everyone was going to hurt me, and they did it well.

Since leaving CCHO, I graduated high school and then served four years in the Marines. I started a family and transitioned into a new career. I became an electrician, but I didn’t stop there. After four years of apprenticeship school, I became a journeyman electrician. Then a few years later I became a state licensed master electrician, wiring jobs in excess of a million dollars. I kept learning and passed my national exams to become a licensed electrical inspector. I now work for the city of Columbus as an electrical inspector.

I firmly believe that none of that would have been possible without the God-loving and caring staff of CCHO.

To the staff at CCHO: You are helping save children’s lives. It is challenging at times, I know, but never give up. The staff who touched my life didn’t. I am now a successful member of society, and I use the lessons I learned there to be a better father and husband.

God bless all of you.

I spent a year and three months at CCHO. While I was there, the staff were really kind and sweet to me and the other girls at the cottage. Those of us who had been making safe and healthy choices for ourselves and other residents would go on weekly outings like shopping or local activities.

Because of CCHO, I’m now doing really well coping with a lot of stress. They also baptized me but before that, they introduced me to God Almighty, and I’m so thankful for that. I want to thank all of the staff members for all the help they gave me. They never gave up on us kids even when we were being rude and not listening. They kept calm and tried to redirect us. If I had the chance to change my life before going to CCHO, I wouldn’t have, but they saved my life from self-destruction. They are my family and I will never forget them. Love you all and I miss y’all so much. Also, I miss the horses.

Celebrating Five Decades of Ministry

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

Read more

Compelled by extravagant love (Story 37 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). As our 50 Stories for 50 Years of Ministry hits the home stretch, we’re pleased to once again celebrate our sacrificial and compassionate staff in story #37 with a closer look at the work they do each day to help people experience their worth in Christ.

In one of our very first stories in this series, we shared a COMPEL nomination one of our former employees wrote for another employee. COMPEL, inspired by 2 Corinthians 5:14, is an acrostic for:

Christ
Others
Me
Possibilities of
Extravagant
Love

Each quarter, staff from our family of ministries send in COMPEL Award nominations for fellow staff members who have shown the love of Christ to others while upholding our core values of relentless commitment, selflessness and kindness. These nominations are then read aloud and celebrated at our quarterly All Staff luncheons.

Today, we have a trio of COMPEL Awards from our most recent nominations. These stories of extravagant love provide just a glimpse into the powerful ways our staff are impacting lives at CCHO, Encourage Foster Care and Encompass Christian Counseling each day. They also remind us of the importance of placing the needs of others ahead of our own.

“Rebekah recently had to take a girl to court to testify against her abuser three days in a row. The first two days, the trial was postponed, which was discovered after arriving. The hearing was about three hours away, so Rebekah knew it would be a long day and that it could potentially be a long week. While taking residents to court is in her role, volunteering to do it three days in a row without complaining – while refusing to give in to fatigue, frustration and despair with the process; while providing a sense of safety and security for this hurting girl – is IN HER CALLING. We found out the day after the trial that the verdict was not guilty. The man against whom this girl testified and had to face had gone free. Naturally, this invoked some pretty intense behaviors such as self-harm and running away, but guess who was there with her walking down the road, asking to stay with her and showing her unconditional love all the same. Rebekah! What an example of relentless commitment, selflessness and kindness coming together to show a hurting girl her worth in Christ even if it may take her a lifetime to recognize it. Rebekah has surely planted this seed regardless of whether she will ever see the increase. Thanks, Rebekah, for showing us how Jesus would handle those four difficult days.”

“Marissa acted quickly in getting two foster children into counseling with Encompass and with our Thrive program in Green. As soon as the children were placed with one of our families near Cleveland, Marissa anticipated their treatment needs given their exposure to severe domestic violence, when they witnessed their mother stab their father to death. Marissa also assisted with getting the children to and from their Thrive visits that week so that the foster mother could attend to the needs of her other children while also running her own business at The Westside Market. Marissa makes most of the counseling appointments so they can facilitate the court ordered contact with their mother, which Marissa does as well. Thanks, Marissa, for displaying relentless commitment to these children and helping to fulfill our agency’s mission!”

“Perseverance is a word that concisely describes Kateri! She helped a young man in Cottage 1 understand that his past did not have to define him. She helped calm anxiety that was so crippling that it threatened to steal any amount of joy that he could find. She waded through depression that all but prevented him from even getting out of bed. She advocated for him at every turn and ultimately helped him discover his worth in Christ. This young man left recently to go to an independent living program with a better outlook – one that involves hope and the same perseverance that Kateri meets each kid with every day she walks into cottage 1!”

Celebrating Five Decades of Ministry

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

Read more

Grateful for a great staff (Story 34 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). Our purpose of helping more people experience their worth in Christ also applies to our employees. In story #34 of our 50 Stories for 50 Years of Ministry series, Kevin Hewitt, CCHO’s President & CEO, discusses the importance of investing in the lives of staff members and showing them that they are valued, not just because of what they do but who they are.

How do you show appreciation to staff who consistently fight for the highest good of others? Who walk alongside those in pain, laughing with some, groaning with others, but connecting through it all? Who help others experience their worth in Christ? These are difficult questions to answer because it is impossible to accurately depict how much we – how much I – appreciate our staff. My heart swells with gratitude as I see their passion, love, selflessness and relentless commitment displayed each day.

We also realize that our staff do not do this alone, supported by spouses, children, moms, dads, sisters, brothers, grandmas, grandpas, boyfriends, girlfriends and friends who encourage them when the work gets overwhelming, or who simply lend an ear when a vent is needed. So, with that in my mind, we have been blessed for the last several years with multiple opportunities to provide our staff and their families with staff appreciation events.

It’s special to head to Canal Park and watch the Akron RubberDucks play baseball each summer, surrounded by several hundred people connected to CCHO and our family of ministries, easily identified by our matching shirts. I have to admit I might even get a little teary-eyed when the CCHO logo flashes on the big board and a cheer arises from our section. It’s cool to see staff and their families play together at Putt-n-Stuff in Orrville, the laughter ringing through the area as someone gets drenched on the bumper boats or passes someone on the go-kart track! Few things beat seeing the joy on the children’s faces as they climb the wall, win an arcade game or indulge at the ice cream machine. Last year, several hundred staff along with their families and friends filled a couple movie theaters to see “I Can Only Imagine,” the beautiful story behind Mercy Me’s iconic song and the relationship of lead singer, Bart Millard, with his father.

Recognizing the stressors inherent in our jobs along with our immense desire to be as healthy as possible as we help others experience their worth in Christ, CCHO instituted the Diamond Leadership Institute (DLI) five years ago. Created because we must lead ourselves well if we are going to lead others well, DLI is designed to give every staff member who desires to grow ample opportunities to learn how to lead effectively. We have been blessed to learn from great leadership voices such as Andy Stanley, Craig Groeschel, Patrick Lencioni, Bob Goff, Brene Brown, Henry Cloud and Simon Sinek. We have also given those who complete DLI the opportunity to attend the Global Leadership Summit, an annual two-day event hosted locally by Grace Church in Wooster that is full of leadership teaching and inspirational stories from around the world.

The opportunity to connect with coworkers at fun family outings and to learn alongside those with whom you work is invaluable in creating the culture here at CCHO – a culture of gratitude, cloaked with a desire to always improve, not for our glory but for the Glory of God, who has given us immeasurable worth through Jesus Christ. We look forward to even more ways to show how much we appreciate the staff at CCHO and our family of ministries.

Celebrating Five Decades of Ministry

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

Read more

There’s more to life than surviving (Story 33 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). As an agency committed to being trauma effective across all of our programming, we are happy to share a story today from Lindsay DeHaas (MSW, LSW), one of the therapists from our Thrive Trauma Recovery program. This intensive trauma treatment, part of Encompass Christian Counseling, allows clients to effectively process traumatic events from their past so they no longer feel the impact from those experiences in their day-to-day lives. Story #33 in our 50 Stories for 50 Years of Ministry series offers hope to those who may otherwise have a hard time finding it.

As an intensive trauma therapist in the Thrive Trauma Recovery program at Encompass Christian Counseling, it’s standard to work with clients for a week or two and then wish them well on their recovery journey as they return to ongoing mental health services. Although all clients have a special story and are memorable, some clients’ stories stick with you long after their treatment in the program has ended.

Amanda (name changed to protect her identity) was one of those clients whose traumatic experiences and resulting challenges in life were especially pressing on my heart. Amanda was an adult woman who appeared to “have it all” from the outside looking in on her life – she was married with several children, and successful in her career outside of the home. However, what Amanda truly experienced on a day-to-day basis were challenges like depression, difficulty getting out of bed, isolation, withdrawing from her family, disinterest in engaging in any social activities, guilt, anxiety, flashbacks, and nightmares that caused her to relive some of the worst moments and experiences in her life.

When I met Amanda on the first day of treatment, she presented as guarded, reserved and quiet. Throughout the course of our initial assessment and gathering information related to past trauma experiences, Amanda told me her past trauma experiences were secrets she felt trapped into keeping to herself, and her isolation was to the point where she had nobody to talk to on a tough day. Amanda desired to be able to connect with those around her, and to function differently than she had been for much of her life. So, with great hesitancy and skepticism toward the methods of the program, Amanda started to tell the story of her younger self, giving a voice to experiences, thoughts and emotions that had long been locked down tight.

Shortly after Amanda started processing her stories, she looked at me and said, “Okay…I’m trusting you here…that this actually works.” I remember smiling encouragingly and assuring her that she was strong and courageous, and that I wouldn’t walk with her through something I didn’t believe would be the best for her. Meanwhile, part of me was praying, “Lord, please work through these methods in a powerful way in her life. Show her Your hope.” And man, did He show up.

By the end of Amanda’s first week of treatment, I had to do a double take when she walked into the office. Everything about her was different. Amanda didn’t walk – she bounced – into the office that day. For the first time all week, she was taking care of herself in notable, obvious ways. Amanda’s guarded and intense demeanor had slipped away, and in its place was a very bubbly and relaxed woman whose eyes sparkled with joy as she joked and smiled, despite the tough content discussed throughout the session. When I commented on this extreme difference in her demeanor, tone and appearance, Amanda smiled and said she felt “empowered” by what she had done so far in treatment.

By the end of treatment, Amanda – who was experiencing constant flashbacks and unwanted thoughts about her past – stated she had only had a few flashbacks for days, that some days she hadn’t had any, and it felt “good.” Amanda said she didn’t feel like a victim anymore, she felt she could stand on her own two feet, and that through processing her traumatic experiences, she felt she knew who she was at her core and was more aware of her own needs that had to be met in order to be the wife, mother and woman God had designed her to be.

Amanda came to the Thrive program feeling hopeless, isolated and so afraid of what telling her story would do or not do in her life. Through the process, she surrendered her fear and allowed God to work in her life in such a powerful way that everyone around her could literally see the difference.

Thrive Trauma Recovery

Would you like to learn more about Thrive Trauma Recovery, the intensive trauma treatment offered by Encompass Christian Counseling? Click the button below to read all about this unique program.

Celebrating Five Decades of Ministry

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

Read more

25 years of drives, chips and putts (Story 31 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 are pleased to share the story of our 2019 Caring4Kids Golf Classic. This annual event regularly brings together more than 60 different golfers in support of the work being done at CCHO and throughout our ministries. Story #31 in our 50 Stories for 50 Years of Ministry series recaps the 25th edition of the C4K Golf Classic, which took place Monday, August 26, 2019.

What started in 1994 as a small fundraiser for CCHO in our 25th year of ministry has now become an annual event, 25 years later, that allows our family of ministries to continue providing services and support for children, adults and families in need.

This year, 64 golfers from 16 teams teed off at Hawk’s Next Golf Course for 36 memorable holes. Teams competed for prizes like longest drive of the day, closest to the pin and longest putt while also shooting for the best team totals on the first 18 and second 18 holes, but the real focus was on supporting CCHO and its family of ministries.

The 25th annual Caring4Kids Golf Classic was a huge success. Save for a couple of late rain drops, the weather was absolutely gorgeous. Golfers were welcomed with a warm breakfast courtesy of Biscuit Uprising, lunch was served during the first round and then each team made their way back to the CCHO campus for a delicious steak dinner. The night was capped off with the announcement of the winning teams and golfers.

We are thrilled to announce that the 2019 C4K golf outing raised a total of $50,000 for CCHO and its family of ministries. Thank you so much to all the golfers and sponsors who have blessed the children, adults and families we serve in an incredible way!

Our 2019 Title Sponsor was Hummel Group; Premier Sponsors were Apple Creek Banking Co., Area Wide Protective, BellStores/Campbell Oil Company, Central Coated Products, Inc., Eagle Advisor Group, Ohio Gratings, Inc., United Titanium, and Vasco Asphalt Company; Supporting Sponsors were Seaman Corporation and Whitaker-Myers Group; and Lunch Sponsor was Security First Training & Consulting.

Celebrating Five Decades of Ministry

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

Read more

Supportive golf swings (Story 30 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). As we prepare for this year’s Caring4Kids Golf Outing at Hawk’s Nest Golf Club in Creston, we hear from a father-son duo who supports this event each summer in story #30 of our 50 Stories for 50 Years of Ministry series.

On Monday, August 26 at 8:00 in the morning, 15 teams will tee off for the first of 36 holes at our Caring4Kids Golf Outing. As we head into the final months of our year-long 50th anniversary celebration, it’s only fitting that this marks the 25th edition of our annual golf outing.

The golf outing began in 1994 as a way of connecting members of the community to the work being done in our children’s residential center. Now, 25 years later, this end-of-summer fundraiser helps provide the resources our family of ministries needs to assist children, adults and families on their journey to healing from abuse and trauma of all kinds.

Don Boehm and his sons Matt and Brad have been swinging their clubs in support of our ministry for years. Here’s what Matt and Don had to say about why they come back every year for the golf outing:

My involvement in the golf outing began one year when one of our church teams was looking for a golfer for the outing. It was my first time visiting the campus and seeing what CCHO was all about. It was a fun time on a great course and so I was hooked from there. It has become a day I look forward to each year and, for the last several years, an opportunity to spend the day golfing with my dad and my brother Brad.

The golf outing is one of the ways I support the mission of CCHO. CCHO has a special place in my heart and has impacted my life in a big way. It was on a short-term mission trip to CCHO to work on the campus several years ago that I was able to witness firsthand the kids who were struggling with hurt, anger and fear. The campus staff showed me what it looked like to step into the trenches and embody the love of Jesus in a new way. God used that trip to break my heart for hurting kids, an experience that led to my wife Daylene and I becoming foster parents and ultimately adopting two young ladies into our family.

-Matt Boehm

For me, it started as a great way to support CCHO. Through some work projects we’ve done on campus with our church, Bethel Church of Christ, CCHO has become special to me. The work CHO does changing the lives of children coming from troubled homes makes it a worthy mission. A side benefit has been golfing with my two sons. The golf outing is a special day that we look forward to every year, spending the day together and helping support God’s work at CCHO.

-Don Boehm

We are so appreciative of Don, Matt, Brad and all of our golfers, and we can’t wait to see what God has planned for our 25th Caring4Kids Golf Outing. If you would like to join the fun next year, be sure to save Monday, August 31, 2020 on your calendar!

Celebrating Five Decades of Ministry

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

Read more

Riding high with Sons of God (Story 29 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). The Northern Ohio Chapter of the Sons of God Motorcycle Club has been blessing our ministry and the kids we serve on the CCHO campus every summer since 1996. On the heels of SOGMC’s latest visit on Saturday, August 17, Anthony Lehman writes about his club’s incredible event and the ways their members show our young residents the love to Christ each year. In story #29 of our 50 Stories for 50 Years of Ministry series, we give thanks for the unbelievable generosity shown by the SOGMC over nearly a quarter of a century.

In 1981, Gary Shire was given a vision from God that became Sons of God Motorcycle Club Ministry. Since our humble beginnings in Mansfield, Ohio, the SOGMC has grown across the United States and Canada, with multiple chapters spread throughout 25 states and Canada.

The Sons of God MC, Northern Ohio Chapter had the pleasure of hosting their first benefit run for Christian Children’s Home of Ohio (CCHO) in 1996. This annual benefit has taken place every August for the past 23 years, with 100% of the money raised going to directly support CCHO.

The SOGMC, Northern Ohio annual CCHO Benefit Run takes the participants on a journey of 75-100 miles, beginning in the Akron/Barberton area, winding its way through the beautiful countryside of Summit and Wayne Counties, and ending at the CCHO campus. While the riders are on their way to Wooster, the children at CCHO are being treated to a host of activities including games, prizes and face painting, to name a few. At the conclusion of the run, the riders join the children for an afternoon of eating, socializing, entertainment and all-around fun. Some of the entertainment provided throughout the years has included motorcycle stunt riding, parachutists, puppet shows, bands and more.

Toward the end of the day, the SOGMC, Northern Ohio Chapter auctions off numerous donated baskets and items. We present awards to the riders from different categories such as furthest distance traveled, largest motorcycle club, and the coveted Kids’ Choice for best bike. We then conclude with what is arguably the best part of the event for the participants and the children: the motorcycle rides. The SOGMC members and participants provide the children with helmets and are then blessed to be able to give the children motorcycle rides around the property.

It has been the pleasure of the SOGMC Northern Ohio Chapter to be involved with CCHO in this capacity, and we look forward to many more years of blessing the members of this community, as they have so richly blessed us in return.

Celebrating Five Decades of Ministry

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

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Trust, treatment, transformation (Story 28 of 50)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Celebrating Five Decades of Ministry

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

Read more