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Ralph Gives Thanks for His Home

March 6, 2013

By W. James Edminson

Ralph is a gentle giant standing a little more than six feet tall. The Alverta Bolick Home resident was born in Asheville’s Mission Hospital on May 5, 1956. And until his mother and father passed away less than a year apart, he lived at home, was loved and cared for, and had few worries. But after their deaths, his life was turned upside down when he ended up living at a nursing care facility.

“It wasn’t good for me there,” Ralph recalls solemnly.

Ralph slept on a thin mattress laid on a metal, institutional-style bedframe with side rails that could be raised and lowered. There were days when he did not receive his medications. He had no friends.

A smile precedes his next words, “But then I found this place. I said to Jesus, ‘Thank you for giving me an excellent home.’”

Ralph says he likes living in a Christian Home and “wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Alverta Bolick Home in Asheville is one of nine Developmental Disabilities Ministry homes operated by Baptist Children’s Homes (BCH) around the state. The ministry recently marked a milestone reaching 100% occupancy in all nine homes. The final room was filled by the 54th resident who moved in at Alverta Bolick Home.

Ralph’s days are filled. He and the other residents at the Asheville home do daily chores. They make their beds and clean their rooms. Ralph participates in a community day program and is a Special Olympics assistant basketball coach.

Ralph and the other male residents have a special bond. He says his friends not only are great to hang out with, they help reduce the stress he sometimes feels.

“I get nervous,” he admits. “But when I listen to my friends, I can feel the relief. I feel the tension come up and out of me. Yes, I do.”

Ralph warns others to get rid of their stress. He says, “You can’t leave it bottled up inside.”

Alverta Bolick residents attend Calvary Baptist Church which is adjacent to the home. The church presented the property and a financial gift from member Alverta Bolick’s estate to build the home. The men at Alverta Bolick are part of the church’s outreach to people in the area with developmental disabilities.

Ralph has a great heart for the Lord and loves to talk about Jesus. He attends Bible study regularly and can often be found watching preachers on television.

“I want to always live better for God,” Ralph says. “You got to forget about Satan. You do not want him up in your mind. That’s all I know to say about that.”

But Ralph knows it isn’t always easy. He says everyone needs to realize that God is on their side, and embrace the fact that it takes work to be happy.

“This world is getting hard for everyone,” he says. “I’m just looking forward to that happy day in Heaven when Jesus calls.”

To learn more about Baptist Children's Homes Developmental Disabilities Ministry, visit www.hereismyhome.org.