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A Publication for Friends of Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services

Fall 2012

IN THIS ISSUE

3 A Single Mother’s Reflection Caring for three on $900 a month

4 A New Home in Itasca Expanding the love

PCHAS to Establish a Single Parent Family Program in Houston Helping single parents and their children achieve independence

7 A Day in the Life Serving families in crisis

Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services will soon be establishing a Single Parent Family program in Houston. This residential program will provide a safety net for struggling single mothers and their children. In partnership with, and on the property of, St. John’s Presbyterian Church of Houston, PCHAS will build four duplex homes which will house seven women, their children, and a full-time Single Parent Family specialist. HomeAid Houston, one of the largest builders of housing for struggling people in Houston, is partnering with PCHAS and the Greater Houston Builders Association on the Single Parent Family project. HomeAid Houston has recruited a well-known Greater Houston Builders Association residential builder, Ryland Homes, to act as the Builder Captain for the project. As Builder Captain, Ryland Homes will work with their trades to obtain donations of labor and materials, and it is anticipated that approximately 40% of the cost of the project will be donated through this partnership. Continued on page 2 ➤


MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT Reflecting Christ’s love to children and families in need building a new residence for children, establishing an entire new campus for single mothers and their children, structuring the summer activities of youngsters in our care, or providing families with food and other necessities, we are reflecting Christ’s love to children and families in need. Look closely at each of the articles and you will see what I mean. As you read the articles in this issue of From the Heart, you may observe that there is no common theme that unites the stories, but there is a common thread that anchors the many different programs and activities that make up Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services today. Whether we are

Life is chaotic, unfair and downright frightening for a lot of people in our care. Our services are designed and implemented by professionals who understand that. We understand that those who are experiencing a life with great uncertainty need acceptance as much as they need guidance. They

need structure so they can feel secure; and they need to feel safe before they can begin to recover. I am extremely proud of our tremendous staff; they make such a difference in the lives of those we serve. I am especially thankful for all who support us as we meet children and families in their moment of desperation and walk with them to a place filled with hope and inspiration. For Children and Families,

Ed Knight, President

Continued from cover

Over the past two years, of the women who have left our care

There is a serious need for programs such as this in the Houston area. Statistics show that almost 25% (300,000) of the children in Harris County live in households below the poverty level. Of these, 38% live in single female-headed households, and 44% of these children are under the age of five years old. Seven single mothers and their children will live in the Houston Single Parent Family residences for six to 15 months, or longer if necessary, during which time PCHAS will work closely with them to strengthen their ability to live independently. In addition to housing, the program offers financial, emotional, and spiritual support, including family therapy. The Single Parent Family staff will support the single mothers in their job search and academic endeavors, teach parenting and life skills, including budgeting and financial management, time management, wellness, and nutrition.

91% moved into their own apartments 91% left with full time employment 82% left with a savings account and 82% left in their own cars Waxahachie, Texas. Over the past two years, of the women who have left our care, 91% moved into their own apartments; 91% left with full time employment; 82% left with a savings account; and 82% left in their own cars. ✦

Central Office Staff

For more information, please visit www.pchas.org. There you can find answers to Frequently Asked Questions about the Houston Single Parent Family Program.

Steve Anderson Director of Development

PCHAS currently has two highly successful Single Parent Family residences in Weatherford and

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From the Heart Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services

Ed Knight, President The Rev. Peter D. Crouch CFRE, Vice President for Development The Rev. Dr. Chuck Mendenhall Senior Gift Officer

Margaret Barry Manager of Communications Design: Rona Ebert Writers: Margaret Barry, Magan Mangold Photography: Chad Patterson and Ashley Westphal


A Single Mother’s Reflection Below are reflections from a single mother who lived in a Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services Single Parent Family program residence in North Texas.

When my son was about five years old, my mother died. Then my boyfriend, my son’s father, was driving while intoxicated and got into a fatal accident. My dad lived a couple of hours away. I felt completely alone and vulnerable. I couldn’t understand why God would allow this to happen to me.

I’m 27 years old and I have two children. I’ve never been married. I am here in large part because of poor decisions I made. I was a good student and a good athlete. I was looking forward to college. Then I fell in love. Looking back, I should have seen the danger signs. Even then, my boyfriend took lots of risks, drank to excess, and partied a lot. Before I knew it, I was a senior in high school and pregnant. My boyfriend assured me that we would be a family, but we didn’t get married.

grandma died suddenly. Her property was sold to my aunt and uncle. I did not have much time to find a place for us to live. At the time, I was working in a childcare center so that I didn’t have to pay for childcare. I only earned about $8 an hour and they did not always need me to work 40 hours a week. I usually managed to bring home about $900 a month. Can you imagine paying rent, groceries, utilities, gas, and insurance on $900 a month? I had no savings whatsoever.

When my son was about five years old, my mother died. Then my boyfriend, my son’s father, was driving while intoxicated and got into a fatal accident. My dad lived a couple of hours away. I felt completely alone and vulnerable. I couldn’t understand why God would allow this to happen to me. I worked wherever I could find work. I had a one-night stand with a man from work and ended up pregnant again. Now I had two children and no husband. I moved in with my grandmother. She loved children and was very supportive of me. My daughter was not even two years old when

If it weren’t for Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services’ Single Parent Family program, my children and I would probably be living in my car right now. If Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services hadn’t rescued me, I probably would’ve lost my job and perhaps my children too. The Single Parent Family program provided my family with a safe place to live, and they treated me with dignity. I went into the program with a few more skills than most of the women. Because of my work in the childcare center, I’d had a great deal of childcare

training. Many of the moms are working with the Program Director to improve their parenting skills. Many of the moms were also struggling to find work. It’s especially difficult for those who don’t have cars like I do. Those of us with cars really have an advantage; we can accept jobs the others are not able to take. In the Single Parent Family program, I set my own goals, which, for me was to keep my job, save at least $2,000, and move my family into my own apartment. I still have a dream of going to college, but I will probably have to wait until my daughter, now almost three years old, starts school full-time. It wasn’t easy to live with other families in the Single Parent Family residence. We didn’t always get along, but we were all suffering for one reason or another. That created a bond between us. I’m still friends with some of the women in the program, and with some, like me, who’ve left. We’re living in our own apartment–I once again have hope! ✦

Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services From the Heart

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PCHAS Breaks Ground for New Group Home in Itasca My passion for Presbyterian “Children’s Homes and Services springs from my childhood. I was well cared for in the Group Home. I appreciate the religious training I received and the practical, everyday life skills I was taught. For example, as a home owner, I have never hired a plumber– thank you Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services! – Bill Cammack

The family of James Cammack donated funds for the new Group Home in Itasca. Pictured here are some of the donors from James’s family. From left to right: Joan Hedrick (niece), Gonzales, TX; Mildred Cammack (daughter), Lake Jackson, TX; Bill Cammack (brother), Beltsville, MD.; Isabell Cammack (wife), Brazoria, TX; Emily Bierschwale (sister), Junction, TX. Ms. Bierschwale is a former PCHAS Board Member.

Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services held a groundbreaking ceremony and church service in June for a new Group Home in Itasca. There are four Group Homes on the campus; each serves six to eight children in a family-style setting. This new home will replace one of the current Group Homes, which will now be used for former clients and guests. The new home will include several pieces of wood signed by the ceremony’s attendees, including the children living on the Itasca campus. The boards will be permanent fixtures within the home. Construction is scheduled to begin in September and finish in early 2013. The new home will free up space for visitors to the campus. This especially pleases Art Strickland, who, at 90 years old, is one of the oldest living “graduates” of the Itasca Group Homes. Art spent most of his holidays and school vacations in Itasca— often hitchhiking to the campus from wherever he was living at the time. He’s happy to see that other “graduates” and their families will now have a place to stay. ✦ 4

From the Heart Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services

Above: Children living in Itasca Group Homes sign their names on boards that will become a permanent part of the new Group Home. Left: Gayle Jordan and Ed Knight dig in.


WHY I GIVE Bill Cammack

I was a resident at the Home for ten years–ten of the most formative years of my young life. There were chores to do –lots of them. But there were also 500 acres in which to roam, hunt, and fish. I received a good education and had a pretty idyllic childhood. – Bill Cammack

Q: How long have you been serving Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services and in what capacity? A: For me, the question is different: How long has Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services been serving me? Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services entered my life in 1944. I was eight years old. My father died and my mom was seriously ill, so I moved to one of the PCHAS Group Homes in Itasca, TX with my older brother, James, and older sister, Emily. I was a resident at the Home for ten years – ten of the most formative years of my young life. There were chores to do – lots of them. But there were also 500 acres in which to roam, hunt, and fish. I received a good education and had a pretty idyllic childhood. Q: What makes you passionate about Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services? A: My passion for Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services springs from my childhood. I was well cared for in the Home. I appreciate the religious training I received and the practical, everyday life skills I was taught. For example, as a home owner, I have never hired a plumber – thank you Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services! Q: Did you receive a good education? A: Yes, indeed. The training did not stop with high school graduation. The Home provided post-secondary training through graduate school – training that served me well in my career in the U.S. Army, as a Peace Corps Volunteer, and as a Foreign Service Officer.

Q: Of other charities that you’re associated with, is there anything about Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services that sets it apart or holds a special place in your heart? A: I have a very personal connection with PCHAS. While important to me, other religious, civic, and charitable organizations do not have the same significance on a personal level. Aside from family, PCHAS is one of the most important relationships in my life. Both Verl Childers, former director of the Itasca campus, and Ed Knight, PCHAS’ president, drove great distances to attend my brother James’s funeral in 2006. This speaks volumes about PCHAS’ leadership and their commitment not only to children currently in their care, but also to the Group Home graduates, the “Exes.” I would like to add that Rev. Chuck Mendenhall has been most gracious and accommodating to work with. These are a few things that motivated me to convince the family and friends of James Cammack to donate to the new group home at Itasca. I am passionate about the care that PCHAS has provided families and children for 109 years. A dedicated staff has served the agency throughout its long history. I pray that PCHAS serves families and children for another two or three hundred years, and longer if needed. Q: What motivated you to donate specifically to the new group home? A: Without the support we received at the Home, my life and the lives of my siblings would have been dramatically different. My supposition is that we would not have had such successful careers, or been as active in the church. All three of us have served as Elders in our respective Presbyterian churches. My

sister Emily served on the PCHAS Board of Directors; my brother James was also a strong supporter of PCHAS. I regret that all families and children in need of care do not have the opportunities I received. The best place for a child is with loving parents in a functioning family. I greatly appreciate the work PCHAS does to create functioning families, including teaching parenting skills and providing short-term financial assistance. Q: You have made in-kind gifts to PCHAS as well. Can you tell us about these? A: On three occasions, I helped organize visits to Washington, D.C. for children in PCHAS’ care. It was a great learning experience for them. Q: Was the groundbreaking ceremony meaningful for you? A: I was honored to participate in the groundbreaking and also the Exes day celebration on the Itasca campus in June. When asked by a friend about the groundbreaking ceremony, my response was: “I felt like the prodigal son with a small token contribution.” Q: Any additional comments you’d like to share? A: When I lived in Itasca, there was a paper published at the Home by and about the children. First it was called The Orphan’s Herald (later known as The Children’s Herald). At the bottom of every page there was a notation: “Have you remembered the Home in your will?” I will take that advice and remember Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services in my will. ✦

Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services From the Heart

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Kids Head Back to School After Summer Camp and Service Learning Projects kids participated in service learning projects. Below is just a sampling of these projects: • A food drive supported by the food bank at the First Presbyterian Church in Itasca. With the help of the church staff, the children incorporated the food drive into the church’s Vacation Bible School curriculum.   • A group of children volunteered each week at an animal shelter. They cleaned cages, took the dogs for walks, and fed and bathed the other animals. • Armed with paint brushes, several enthusiastic children gave a church nursery a much needed makeover. 19 children from our Group Homes were sent to camp thanks to the fundraising efforts of Richard Hollingsworth (far right) and Camp Gilmont.

Generous gifts from donors made it possible for 19 children from our Group Homes to experience the joy of spending time at Camp Gilmont, Grace Presbytery’s spiritually enriching camp in the Piney Woods of Gilmer, Texas. ”We are very grateful to Camp Gilmont and to the Rev. Richard Hollingsworth, Camp Gilmont Trustee (and former Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services staff member) for reaching out to us with numerous camp scholarships. Their generous gifts, along with gifts from other donors, enabled us to fund a summer camp experience for many of the children in our care. These experiences help our children grow spiritually, emotionally, and academically during the summer and throughout the year,” said Rev. Peter Crouch, Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services’  Vice President for Development.

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The children at the Itasca Group Homes participated in a food drive that was sponsored by the First Presbyterian Church in Itasca.

The children who didn’t attend Camp Gilmont were also busy this summer. They attended athletic camps and Texas Ranger baseball games, and took vacation trips to Disney World, Sea World, and the beach. There was even a Fourth of July fireworks show on the Itasca campus. But it wasn’t just fun and games for the children. Those with part-time jobs stayed home to work, and many of the

From the Heart Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services

“Service learning connects lessons learned in school and at home with the needs of the community. These projects teach problem-solving skills and help the children develop a better understanding of themselves. When they succeed in making a difference in the community, it boosts their self-esteem too,” said Virginia Knight, Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services’ Director of Education. “As Mark 10:45 teaches, being a servant is greater than being served. The service learning projects bring Jesus’ message to life for our kids. By giving of themselves through these experiences, they grow in character and develop leadership skills,” said Chad Patterson, Program Director, Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services’ Itasca campus. ✦


A DAY IN THE LIFE Magan Mangold A Day in the Life of a PCHAS Child and Family Specialist Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services’ Child and Family program provides preventative, in-home services to families in crisis. The goal is to help families stay together and avoid an out-of-home placement of their children. Child and Family specialists, all of whom have master’s degrees in social work or counseling, provide individual and family therapy and teach parenting and life skills. They work with families to create mutually agreed-upon goals and make weekly in-home visits, offering emotional support and guidance. Our Child and Family specialists are quick to say that “no job is too big or too small.” Below is a day in the life of Magan Mangold, a Child and Family specialist in North Texas.

7:30 a.m. First phone call of the day. The B family is in desperate need of food; I agree to pick up a box of food from a food bank and bring it to the family later that day. 8:30 a.m. First appointment of the day with the T family. With the client, who is working on parenting skills, I created a chore chart and daily hygiene chart for each of their four children. Made a deal with each child: if they did their chores and personal hygiene routine each day I would get each one a prize. I left the house feeling encouraged that positive change would take place before I see them next week. 9:45 a.m. I schedule appointments to meet with a new mom who needs help learning basic skills to care for her newborn child. The child was born last week. 10 a.m. Met with the K family, which is made up of two intellectually disabled adults and their new baby. I meet with them once a week. Today I helped the parents put baby formula in formula dispensers which they will pour into bottles for the baby. I teach them how to measure;

and I write down detailed instructions; but they struggle with measuring and counting. Each week we re-learn this skill, which has been frustrating. However, this week the father remembered that we use two scoops of formula–a small but encouraging step that they are slowly learning this new skill. I left their house satisfied that together we are making progress. 11:45 a.m. I make a quick stop at a drive-through to get some lunch. I eat a burger in the car on the way to my next appointment, which is at noon. 12:00 p.m. Met with the R family; today we are preparing for the mom’s upcoming court hearing. We hope to get her children, who were removed by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services a year ago, placed back in her care. We look through her service plan (she and I created this together) and make notes of everything she has achieved: she attended substance abuse counseling and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. She also took a parenting course and participated in counseling (both provided by me). We

confirmed the date and time of the court appearance. I will go with her to court and support her. I felt happy for her and her achievements this past year. 1:35 p.m. Listened to my voicemails, which included a request from a client whose baby had run out of diapers. The mom asked for my help because she was out of money and would not get paid until the following week. 1:45 p.m. Picked up the food from the food bank and dropped it off for the B family. We confirmed our next appointment. They were very appreciative and thanked me for my help. 3:00 p.m. Accompanied the R family on their Texas Department of Family and Protective Services-approved visit with their son. Each week, I help them with parenting skills. Today we discussed how to help their son develop intellectually and emotionally by encouraging him to try new things and allowing him to explore his surroundings. I noted that while it is important that their son have a bit of independence, he also needed to be carefully supervised, as

safety becomes an issue when children become more mobile. I encouraged the R family in their efforts, and their faces lit up. They tell me that it is rare for them to be told they are doing something well. 4:30 p.m. Quick stop at the office to do some paperwork. I use this time to decompress from the day, make notes regarding each family, and construct a game plan for the following day. 5:30 p.m. Head to Wal-mart to pick up diapers for the family that asked for my help earlier in the day. I will bring the diapers to them tomorrow. I was tired, but happy. I enjoy what I do; it’s very satisfying work. PCHAS receives no government funding for its Child and Family Program. The Program’s annual budget of $916,000 supports the work of 18 Child and Family Specialists (like Magan), three supervisors, and one vice president. It is funded entirely by designated gifts and a percentage of PCHAS’ unrestricted gifts and endowment income.

Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services From the Heart

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Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services is an independent ministry in covenant relationship with the Synod of the Sun, a governing body of the Presbyterian Church(USA). PCHAS is a 501(c)3 charitable organization. All gifts are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law. We do not render professional tax advice. Each person should consult a professional advisor.

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4407 Bee Cave Road, Suite 520 • Austin, TX 78746

SAN ANTONIO, TX PERMIT NO. 1001

New address? Receiving duplicate mailings or no longer wish to be included on our mailing list? Contact us: Call: 1-800-888-1904 • email: info@pchas.org Write to: Presbyterian Children’s Home and Services Development Office 4407 Bee Cave Road, Suite 520 Austin, TX 78746 Please be sure to include complete name and address.

PCHAS has earned a four-star rating from Charity Navigator, the highest ranking the non-profit organization bestows.

Scan to donate online now.

Run for PCHAS in the Houston Marathon Since 2005, teams of runners in Houston have been donating the money they raised through the Houston Chevron Marathon to PCHAS. So far, the marathon has helped PCHAS raise more than $141,000. It’s not too late to run in the 2013 Marathon on January 13.

Run for a Reason; run for 65,948 reasons, the number of confirmed cases of child abuse in Texas in 2011. We have slots available in both the full marathon and the half marathon. For more information, please contact: Jana Hobbs, jana.hobbs@pchas.org or Donna Lujan, donna.lujan@pchas.org, or 800.888.1904

You’re Invited! Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services cordially invites you to attend fundraising events this fall.

San Antonio Luncheon October 17 Dallas Breakfast November 1 For more information contact Donna Lujan, donna.luhan@pchas.org, 512.476.1234 or 800.888.1904

Connect with PCHAS

From The Heart News, Fall 2012  

8 page newsletter PCHAS, Presbyterian Children's Homes and Services

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