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home’s grown

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Paige is discovering her best self, thanks to you!

Giving and Receiving a Second Chance at Childhood CHILDREN’S HOME ALUMNA BRENDA RYAN DRAWBAUGH GREW UP in what she calls a “dysfunctional" situation. “My parents were uneducated, poor and suffered from mental health issues that negatively impacted me and my six siblings,” Brenda said. “I didn’t have much in the way of material things, but I do have some good memories with my siblings and family. I also grew up having good friends who helped shape who I am.” At the age of 14, Brenda and three of her siblings were told they’d be moving to the Masonic Children’s Home. Brenda was old enough to know her living conditions could no longer provide for her needs or give her the opportunity to become the person she wanted to be. Regardless, she felt devastated. “I had friends, and I felt like I was leaving my home,” Brenda recalled.


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Even though she was reluctant to move, Brenda was immediately put at ease knowing three of her siblings would be by her side. She also knew they’d all be fully cared for and no longer face worries a child should never have to face.


“I could lay my burdens down and just be a kid again,” Brenda said. Brenda remembers her and her siblings being welcomed by children’s home staff with open arms. They were “quickly accepted into the pack,” and began school in Elizabethtown. Now having two grown children herself, Brenda doesn’t recall all the details of her transition, but she does have a few vivid memories.

“The house parents took us shopping for school clothes, as we had so little,” Brenda said. “This was a new and exciting experience for us. We were also able to eat well with meals and snacks provided daily.” Brenda’s story proves what’s taken for granted for some means the world to another.

“I felt like God gave me a second chance to grow up and do something new and different with my life,” Brenda said. In 1984, Brenda graduated from high school and the children’s home. She decided to continue her connection to the place she knew and loved and began working as a certified nursing assistant in the Masonic Health Care Center on campus. She rented her own apartment and attended barber school part-time. Eventually, after discovering her true passion, Brenda applied to college in her mid-20s to study psychology. After meeting and marrying her husband, Brad, the couple had two children. For a few years, while her children were young and Brenda was finishing her degree, she worked as a house parent at the children’s home. “It felt like I was returning home,” Brenda said. In 2003, she graduated from Penn State Harrisburg with a bachelor’s degree in applied behavioral science. Brenda and Brad have remained in Elizabethtown, and for the last 14 years, Brenda has worked in the mental health field as a certified family-based therapist.

"I knew I wanted a very different life than where I started."

Pictured is Brenda, a 1984 children's home graduate, with her husband, Brad, at their daughter's wedding.

“My experience allowed me to observe different parenting styles,” Brenda said. “I’ve worked hard to provide a healthy and safe environment where my children can grow into the adults God wants them to be.” Brenda’s son, Alec, earned his bachelor’s degree in environmental science and is employed in a microbiology laboratory. Her daughter, Nicole, holds a Bachelor of

“I knew I wanted a very different life than where I started,” Brenda said. “This became a possibility, thanks to the children’s home staff and donors who give unselfishly to continue to provide a second chance for many children who need it and wouldn’t get it any other way.”

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Brenda's own children's home experience has influenced how she's parented her children.

Science in nursing and was a recipient of the Children’s Home Alumni Association’s scholarship for descendants of children’s home graduates. The scholarship helped Nicole purchase textbooks and, for Brenda, served as a reminder that the children’s home is always there for members of its “family,” even as they create families of their own.


“I work with families who are in crisis and at risk for outof-home placement for their child or children,” Brenda said. “I’ve referred a few children to the children’s home and was happy to see them get a second chance, as well.”



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Thanks for helping kids like Paige!


Discovering the Best Version of Yourself It was a phrase she heard from her Nana growing up. Thanks to the children’s home and the generous donors who support kids like her, it’s easier now for Paige to accomplish her goals and prepare for her future. At only 12 years old, Paige has already seen a lot in life.

“My life before coming to the children’s home was hard, and sometimes scary,” Paige said. “I didn’t know if I would come home with food on the dinner table.” When Paige was 9 years old, she moved to the children’s home with her two sisters: her older sister, Breanne, and younger sister, Hailey. Staff thought it was important to keep the girls together, as moving to the children’s home can be a big transition, and made accommodations to move them in at the same time. Paige and Hailey are able to live in the same cottage, with Breanne right next door. “I’m happy to have my sisters here because I always have someone I can trust and relate to,” Paige said. “I look up to Breanne. She is someone who inspires me, and Hailey and I are really close, so I can go to her anytime and talk.” In addition to her biological sisters, Paige has many more “sisters,” in the form of friends who live in her cottage. “They always make my day,” Paige said. “They make me laugh when I need to laugh. When I need someone to listen, they listen.”

“The children’s home has made my life better and helped me believe that anything is possible,” Paige said. In addition to the fun times, children’s home tutors have also made a positive impact on Paige’s academics. “I’m getting mostly As, all because of the children’s home,” Paige said. “People here made me more responsible, and now I can do more things without any trouble.” Paige has also connected with her house parents, who, besides looking out for her everyday needs, push and inspire her to be the best version of herself. “They believe I can do my best and always want the best for me," Paige said. In the future, Paige envisions herself as a lawyer or an actress. When describing herself, she uses words like “determined,” “smart,” “active” and “fun.” Four years ago, these words wouldn't have been as positive. More than food on the dinner table, the children’s home and its donors now provide Paige with opportunities to discover her self-worth, and most importantly, ensure she can do anything she puts her mind to.

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“You can do anything you put your mind to.”

Outside of normal activities, like playing lacrosse in the backyard or dinner time in the cottage, some of Paige’s favorite memories with the girls include a visit to the beach in Wildwood, New Jersey. She felt blessed for the opportunity.


WHEN TIMES GET TOUGH, Paige likes to remember one simple phrase:


A Lot of Kindness & a Little Bit of Basketball LEE ECKERT WAS BORN INTO THE WORLD OF SPORTS. His grandfather was a baseball and cross country coach, and Lee was the youngest of four boys – all of whom lived and breathed athletics. “I remember going to my brothers’ games as a little guy,” Lee said, “and getting thrown around in the back yard.” Having a childhood full of opportunity is the reason Lee is thriving as a house parent at the children’s home and as the nearby Elizabethtown Area High School’s new boys’ basketball coach. He's also successful because his heart aches for children who don’t have the same chance. “In my life, I’ve had a lot of adults who have looked out for me,” Lee said. “I want to pay it forward.” At the children’s home, while Lee rotates among the three boys’ cottages, he’s mainly a house parent for middle and high school boys. Some may view these age groups as a challenge, but Lee sees them as a time when a good mentor can make the biggest impact. He can relate well to these young men, mostly because he knows what it’s like to search for self-identity.


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Lee grew up playing baseball, looking up to his older brother, whose talent was extraordinary. Lee was a natural at baseball as well, but as a teenager, while trying to discover his own identity as a person and athlete, Lee fell into basketball.


with local youth basketball camps and programs. This is where he met then 5th-grader Amos Kollie, a 2019 children’s home graduate, who had a burning passion for the sport. After college, Lee took a job as the junior varsity coach, then as the varsity assistant coach for boys’ basketball at Elizabethtown. In his career leading up to becoming head coach, he saw Amos learn and grow.

“I was probably a better baseball player than I was in basketball,” Lee recalled.

“I got to know him, and he’s kind of one of the main reasons I work at the children's home,” Lee said.

Regardless, Lee was a top-scoring player on the Hempfield High School boys’ basketball team, and progressed to play as a top scorer and rebounder at Elizabethtown College, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in history in 2015.

He had always been impressed with Amos’ determination and demeanor.

Throughout his years as a student, Lee volunteered

“From my experience, kids who live at the children’s home have good manners,” Lee said. “They are outgoing and respectful. Watching Amos go from being a tiny guy

to starting in the biggest game in the school’s history [during Amos' senior year] was incredible.” Upon Amos' graduation, Lee learned there was a house parent position open at the children’s home and decided to go for it. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, he didn’t start his position until May. “My goal is to make sure the guys have someone they feel comfortable going to, especially if they’re feeling down,” Lee said. “I want to build relationships and help them get through things. I was in high school and college not that long ago, so I like to think I know what they’re going through.” Due to the pandemic, many of the kids’ day-to-day lives and activities have been altered. Lee has been brightening their spirits with a lot of kindness and a little bit of basketball.

“I’ve seen kids struggle this past spring,” Lee said, “but all the staff make it a team effort to come together and help turn it around.” Lee wants the young men to know that life doesn’t always go according to plan, and taking ownership of how you’re going to react when something

unexpected happens is important. In addition, respect, honesty and giving a helping hand will “get you far in life.”

“They have everything they need to succeed here, from help with school down to things like Gatorade,” Lee said. “This isn’t a place where you’ll be sitting around on your laptops and phones all day. This is a place that forces you to go outside and interact with other kids.”

What’s been most impactful to Lee in his children’s home journey so far is seeing new children come out of their shell. He also hopes to keep in contact with the young men he’s inspired, just like he has with Amos. “My wife has noticed my happiness since I’ve started working here,” Lee said. “I don’t think it’s felt like ‘work’ one day. That’s a credit to the kids and this program, and I’m proud to be part of it.”

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However, it’s not all fun and games. Lee has also had to take on the unexpected role of “teacher” in more than just the subject of basketball throughout the pandemic while the young men learn virtually half the week.

Pictured is Lee with some of the children's home boys on Halloween.


“It’s a good time,” Lee said. “At 3 o’clock, when the guys are usually done with their schooling, we’ll go out and run drills and shoot around. I get paid to teach basketball and work with kids. You can’t beat that.”


Three Ways to Help Kids in Need this Holiday!

Make the season SNOW much brighter for our kids!



See p. 9, right, for details. Browse the holiday catalog online or request a printed copy using the enclosed envelope.



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QUALIFIED CHARITABLE DISTRIBUTION (QCD) If you are 70½ or older, you can use your individual retirement account (IRA) to support the Masonic Children's Home.

Call 1-800-599-6454 and ask for our QCD planning kit or to speak with a gift planner. You may also use the enclosed envelope to request information.

Authorize a specified amount of money to be electronically transferred directly from your checking account or credit card to the Masonic Children's Home monthly. This is the easiest form of giving - plus, you will receive a yearend statement of monthly giving for easy tax preparation. You can cancel your authorization at any time. To join, complete and return the enclosed envelope, call 1-800-599-6454 or visit MasonicChildrensHome.org/donate-now.


Giving Catalog

DURING THIS SEASON OF GIVING, purchase an item (or a few) to benefit our kids through the Holiday Giving Catalog.



Browse the holiday catalog online or request a printed copy using the enclosed envelope.

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Items include books, music lessons, tutoring sessons, clothing, holiday gifts (such as the one being modeled by Jebbeh, left) and more.


Thank You ALL GIFTS GIVEN JAN. 1 - APRIL 30 SCHOLAR DONORS Thomas and Linda Schmidt Verizon Foundation Samuel Williamson



WISH LIST CONTRIBUTORS Wayne and Nancylee Garafola Robert Glunt Evelyn Hunter-Longdon Ronald and Judy McKnight Tim and Marcia Spangler

Shirley Becks


Joan Kelley

Don and Sue Bachman


Bro. Dennis K. and Janice L. Schmuck

Evelyn Hunter-Longdon Donald and Betty Bachman

The Yeakel Family


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Larry and Linda Brand on their wedding anniversary

John and Barbara Kolchin

John and Joanna Goodison

James and Brenda Bomberger

Teddy Leyendecker

Shawn Terwilliger

Jeffrey Wonderling

Samuel Williamson

Financial information about Masonic Village can be obtained by contacting us at 1-800-599-6454. In addition, Masonic Charities is required to file financial information with several states. Colorado: Colorado residents may obtain copies of registration and financial documents from the office of the Secretary of State. (303) 894-2680, http://www.sos.state.co.us/. Florida: SC No. 00774, A COPY OF THE OFFICIAL REGISTRATION AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES BY CALLING TOLL-FREE, WITHIN THE STATE, 1-800-HELP-FLA. Georgia: full and fair description of the programs and activities of Masonic Charities and its financial statement are available upon request at the address indicated above. Illinois: Contracts and reports regarding Masonic Charities are on file with the Illinois Attorney General. Maryland: For the cost of postage and copying, documents and information filed under the Maryland charitable organizations laws can be obtained from the Secretary of State, Charitable Division, State House, Annapolis, MD 21401, (800) 825-4510. Michigan: MICS No. 11796 Mississippi: The official registration and financial information of Masonic Charities may be obtained from the Mississippi Secretary of State’s office by calling 1-888-236-6167. New Jersey: INFORMATION FILED WITH THE ATTORNEY GENERAL CONCERNING THIS CHARITABLE SOLICITATION AND THE PERCENTAGE OF CONTRIBUTIONS RECEIVED BY THE CHARITY DURING THE LAST REPORTING PERIOD THAT WERE DEDICATED TO THE CHARITABLE PURPOSE MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY CALLING (973) 504-6215 AND IS AVAILABLE ON THE INTERNET AT www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/ocp.htm#charity. REGISTRATION WITH THE ATTORNEY GENERAL DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT. New York: A copy of the latest annual report can be obtained from the organization or from the Office of the Attorney General by writing the Charities Bureau, 120 Broadway, New York, NY 10271. North Carolina: Financial information about this organization and a copy of its license are available from the State Solicitation Licensing Branch at 1-888-830-4989. Pennsylvania: The official registration and financial information of Masonic Charities may be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of State by calling toll-free, within Pennsylvania, 1-800-732-0999. Virginia: Financial statements are available from the State Office of Consumer Affairs, P.O. Box 1163, Richmond, VA, 23218. Washington: The notice of soliciation required by the Charitable Solicitation Act is on file with the Washington Secretary of State, and information relating to financial affairs of Masonic Charities is available from the Secretary of State, and the toll-free number for Washington residents: 1-800-332-4483. West Virginia: West Virginia residents may obtain a summary of the registration and financial documents from the Secretary of State, State Capitol, Charleston, WV 25305. REGISTRATION IN THE ABOVE STATES DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT, APPROVAL OR RECOMMENDATION OF MASONIC CHARITIES BY THE STATE.


Len Mayo

Chris Reynolds

Severin Abobi

Andrew and Doris Zelez

Timothy O. Meckley

Carol Meckley

Marjorie Amy Roberts Bennett Elizabeth City Chapter No. 44 Order of the Eastern Star

Albert C. Menger III

Pauline Menger

James and Sue Hampton

Florence Y. Methlie

Kelli Hanson

Charles William Browning

Frank and Nancy Beppler

Carol Miller

Herbert Marder

Forthright Wealth Planning

Linda L. Miller

Stuart and Barbara Brown

Francis and Venita Murphy

Arthur and Dorothy Wert

Marvin Carnish

Stuart and Barbara Brown

Carl B. Moore

Roman Lodge No. 418

David R. Clawson

Dora Henderson and Family

Robert S. Moyer

Roman Lodge No. 418

Darryl Silvis

Richard M. Musser

Stuart and Barbara Brown

Widows Sons Masonic Riders PA Mystic Riders

Jim Myhre

Chris Reynolds

Alex Nagy

Thomas Nagy

Bryan Dunaway

Donald and Tina Marie Simington

Janet Oberholtzer

William Oberholtzer

Ronald Oberholtzer

William Oberholtzer

Thomas Oberholtzer

William Oberholtzer

Steve Rembish

John and Barbara Kolchin

Carl H. Remley, Sr.

David Remley

Thomas J. Roach

Kent and Caryl Roach

Laura Roberts

Carol Roberts

William H. Roberts, Jr.

Carol Roberts

William H. Roberts, Sr.

Carol Roberts

Kenny Rogers

Stuart and Barbara Brown

Joseph W. Simon

Stuart and Barbara Brown

William R. Simons

Stuart and Barbara Brown

Jeffrey and Jeanne Moore

Anne Shemeta

Paul and Shirley Weaver

Tim W. Spahr

Mimi Eavenson

Matthew and Emily Sabey

Daniel and Jill Skyes

Wolfgang and Kerry Woods

Gordon M. Steer

Carole Lowe

Julian L. Sturgis

William Strimple

James E. Tarman

Hershey Chapter No. 509, O.E.S.

Lana Karl

Lou and Rose O'Brien

Dennis and Janice Schmuck

Mary Ellen Tarman

Emery G. Thurston

Jean Thurston Weiss

Rev. Sudheer J. Tiwari

Stuart and Barbara Brown

Edward I. Zall

Stephen and Greta Kenney

Harold "Harry" R. Edmondson Camilla Anderson

Freda Derr

Doris S. Elanjian

Paul Elanjian

Mary Elanjian

Paul Elanjian

Robert Arlyn Feight

Brent and Juan Feight Families

Ruth Getz

Thomas Getz

Loraine G. Glidden

Stuart and Barbara Brown

Robert W. Gliha

Barbara Gliha

Richard Gross

Herbert Marder

Russell G. Haldeman

Stuart and Barbara Brown

Edgar L. Herbine

Alice Herbine

Kirk S. Hinkley, Sr.

Kirk Hinkley

Anthony Hoffman

Andrew and Doris Zelez

James F. Horan

Stuart and Barbara Brown

Donald W. Howell

Roman Lodge No. 418

Clyde Hull

Tom and Kay Schroll

Dale R. Jones

Carol Jones

Barbara Jordan

James Jordan

Thomas F. Kenney

Stephen and Greta Kenney

Orlen "Sonny" King

Dale and Susanne Work

Eva Kolchin

John and Barbara Kolchin

Peter Kolchin

John and Barbara Kolchin

Emil E. Kovacs

Marian Kovacs

Alvin L. Leisey, Jr.

Stuart and Barbara Brown

John D. Lucas

Jane Lucas

Michael A. MaGilton

Columbia Education Association

Nancy Manweiler

Eleanor Wolf



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MASONIC CHILDREN'S HOME Masonic Charities Office of Gift Planning One Masonic Drive • Elizabethtown, PA 17022-2219

Your generosity gives our kids friends for life! Thank you for your support.

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Home's Grown Kids - Fall 2020  

Home's Grown Kids - Fall 2020  

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