Attending college is a dream that can be in reach for many children. This year’s Tom H. Davis Runway for Success hosted at Western Carolina University (WCU) was specifically designed to encourage Baptist Children’s Homes’ (BCH) boys and girls to stay focused on their college dream.
It was fitting that this year’s event was held at the WCU campus in Cullowhee. Not only did the children spend time touring the university and seeing life and opportunities on campus, but they were introduced to HOMEBASE –– BCH’s college ministry located on the campus.
HOMEBASE was created to provide support, resources and community to students with little or no family support.
“The HOMEBASE partnership with BCH is helping hundreds of students be successful,” said Lowell Davis, WCU Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Success. “If it weren’t for HOMEBASE, I’m not sure they would remain at WCU.”
Much of this year’s Runway was held at the HOMEBASE facility. There, Davis was one of many faculty and WCU alumni who spoke to the children giving them valuable insights, experience and, most of all, encouragement.
“I think it’s extremely important for students, especially from challenged backgrounds, to be exposed early to options when it comes to college,” Davis explained. “Runway allowed us to do that and to encourage them not to lose faith while attending. We want them to know it is possible for them to come to a university and share their love of God.”
The emphasis on faith was prevalent throughout this year’s Runway event.
“We loved the testimonies everybody shared,” said Jason Sullivan, Education Supervisor at BCH’s Cameron Boys Camp. “Qua’Shawn Pernell spoke about pushing through and accomplishing your goals. That stuck out to the boys.”
Pernell, one of Runway’s speakers, is a recent WCU graduate. He wasn’t the only alumni who shared. Charles and Clifton Lambreth, both graduates of the university as well as former Mills Home residents, have gone on to become successful professionals, husbands and fathers.
“There’s nothing special about Charles and me,” Clifton shared with the children. “We are simply the result of people who loved us, mentored us and listened.”
The twin brothers stated that today’s BCH residents have the same opportunities for success because they also have access to the needed support that will help them achieve their goals.
“Runway gave Camp’s boys a lot of hope for both college and their careers,” Sullivan said. “It really encouraged them as they look to their futures.”
Runway for Success is made possible by the Tom Davis Fund established by Piedmont Airlines founder Thomas H. Davis. Each year, Runway provides a hands-on educational experience for BCH’s older residents to inspire them as they consider plans for the future.
Learn more about the services Baptist Children's Homes of North Carolina has to offer by visiting www.bchfamily.org