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Trustees inspired by single mom's success - Family Care offers hope and continues to grow

May 8, 2013

By J. Blake Ragsdale

There are always a number of traditional reports and updates whenever the trustees of Baptist Children’s Homes (BCH) come together. Important information is shared by executive staff members, trustees and members of various committees.

But the most powerful voice heard in the conference room on Tuesday, April 2, was uttered by a single mother of four children.

“Because of BCH’s Family Care program, the help of churches, and you folks here in this room, my family has hope,” Whitney said.

Prior to recognizing staff members during the annual Direct Service Awards ceremony, 30-year-old Whitney stood before the group and shared how Family Care, BCH’s residential ministry for single mothers and their children, had changed her life.

Whitney, who lived in Jacksonville, NC, had always been a stay-at-home mother. When her family circumstances unexpectedly changed, Whitney suddenly became a single parent. With full custody of her children, whose ages range from two to eight, Whitney did not possess the education, skills or resources to provide for her family.

Whitney had no money or relatives to whom she could turn. Desperate, the single mom approached a pregnancy resource organization in Jacksonville to ask if they could provide diapers for her baby. The organization, recognizing the severity of Whitney’s situation, connected her to BCH’s Family Care program in July 2012.

Within weeks of contacting BCH, Whitney and her children relocated to Culler Cottage, one of two cottages dedicated to Family Care on the Mills Home campus in Thomasville.

Through this new-found support, Whitney began working at a local restaurant and enrolled at the local community college to be trained as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). Her children, who greeted trustees with a surprise appearance during the meeting, are all doing well. Her twin nine-year-old boys have improved their grades and are excelling in school.

“My children inspire me to do better,”?Whitney shared as the trustees listened intently.

Whitney has now completed her CNA training. She has also successfully completed the Family Care program. She and her children have moved into a nearby apartment, and churches have rallied around the family providing furniture and supplies.

“I don’t have any blood family. BCH is my family now,”?Whitney told the trustees. “I come back and see them almost every day.”

“Whitney is a terrific example of what Family Care is about,” BCH?Chief Operating Officer Keith Henry said. “It’s not a homeless shelter. It’s about empowering single mothers who are dedicated to pursuing a better quality of life for themselves and their children. One of the program’s biggest blessings is that we are able to provide a home where the mothers and children remain together as a family.”

Trustees offered words of encouragement and hugs to Whitney and her children.

The full board meets at Mills Home in Thomasville on September 17.