The third class of Baptist Children’s Homes University (BCHU) graduated November 12 at Mills Home in Thomasville.
“Well,” BCH president/CEO Michael C. Blackwell said, “this is a different kind of graduation.”
Blackwell alluded to how COVID-19 continues to change the way things are done at Baptist Children’s Homes (BCH).
“When Cohort 3 began on December 4, 2018, no one could have imagined,” he said. “Not only did you master a very stringent program, but you pushed through at the end during the pandemic to be here today celebrating the completion of your program.”
BCHU is a leadership and talent management program covering eight core areas that challenge participants to reach their “next best.” Classes are made up of staff members who not only do their jobs, but look for ways to improve BCH’s overall “culture of excellence” in their areas and departments.
In his commencement address, Blackwell affirmed the graduates: “You did it. And today, that which may have seemed impossible, that which may have been improbable, has now become inevitable. You are a graduate of BCH University, reaching a level of excellence and knowledge that only a few have achieved.”
Blackwell affirmed graduates personally offering gifts to each one in the class.
To Chris Allabaugh, he gave the gift of leadership; to Samantha Allred, the gift of enthusiasm; to Brenda Hofstetter, the gift of innovation; to Bobby Mitchell, the gift of positivity; to Dana Hartman, the gift of empathy; to Shannon Fulp, the gift of understanding; and to Kevin McPherson, the gift of life-long learning.
“When I first greeted this cohort in 2018,” Blackwell said in concluding his commencement address, “I charged you with three things: be open to learn, be willing to participate, and be excited to implement. You have done all three. All these months later, I add this: live simply, love generously, care deeply, speak kindly, and leave the rest up to God.”
The 2020 BCHU graduates are:
Eastern Regional Director, Kennedy Home
Chris has served BCH since November 2016 in several different roles. He began his career as a Foster Care Case Manager and then transitioned in to the Director of Residential Services at Kennedy Home. He currently serves as the Eastern Regional Director.
North Central Regional Director, NCBAM
Samantha has served at BCH since May 2017 as a call center specialist and now serves as the North Central Regional Director for North Carolina Baptist Aging Ministry.
Shannon H. Fulp
IDDM Administrator/Qualified Professional
Shannon has served on staff at BCH since July 2017. She began her ministry as a qualified professional for the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Ministry in Winston Salem at Hinkle and Davis House. Shannon will be transferring to a new position as the IDD Program Coordinator starting December 1.
Dana L. Hartman
Case Manager, Mills Home
Dana has served at BCH since August 2013. She served on staff previously between 2000 and 2007. She began serving in two areas––emergency care and transitional living––before joining residential services at Mills Home.
Director, Robert Idol Child Development Center
Brenda has served at BCH since September 2012. She began serving in weekday education as a lead teacher in the NCPreK program at Robert Idol Child Development Center. Currently, she is the Center’s director.
Case Manager, Mills Home
Kevin has served with BCH since October 2015. He began his career with his wife, Becky, as cottage parents at Mills Home. He now serves as a Mills Home case manager for residential services.
Statewide Facilities Manager
Bobby has served at BCH since July 2010. He began serving as an IT network analyst before moving to the properties office to serve in his current position.
Article by Jim Edminson, Charity & Children Editor