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Social work department helps children’s home

March 4, 2011
The Herald-Star

BETHANY - The Bethany College Department of Social Work has donated $1,000 to help an area children's home to open a new facility, while student-athletes from the school helped with the move.

The St. John's Home for Children in Wheeling has established a new $1.5 million 7,000 square foot residential facility that brings all of the organization's services under one roof.

The home provides care for boys age eight to 14 who have suffered abuse or struggle with behavioral problems.

Leaders of the department said Bethany College has had a long and successful partnership with the St. John's Home for Children, and many of the college's students have completed internships there.

Katherine Shelek-Furbee, chairman of the social work department and a member of the home's board of directors, said, "St. John's provides quality childcare services and is very deserving of this donation."

Terry McCormick, the home's executive director, said, "We are honored to be considered for this donation. Such projects are expensive, but you can't put a price tag on providing a safe, comfortable and home-like environment for our at-risk kids. This donation will help us to meet that goal."

The money was raised by the social work department through an annual two-day symposium that provided continuing education credits for nurses, social workers and counselors.

Five Bethany football players also joined the college's efforts to support the children's home.

Matt Grimard, Ryan Busch, CJ Thomas, Robert Baker and Tyler Babinchok spent a Saturday morning moving furniture and appliances to the newly constructed home.

McCormick said, "We are so grateful to Bethany College and student-athletes from its football team who assisted us by helping us move all the items that needed to be installed into the new 22-room facility. This was no small task, especially with all of the heavier furniture and recreation room pieces that were part of the moving process."

McCormick said the new facility will house all residential services in one location and increases the number of bedrooms from eight to 12.

Other upgrades include a larger kitchen and dining area, a recreation area, family therapy room and educational lab. "The building isn't just a building," McCormick said. "It is the conduit in which the kids are taught the skills they need to learn or, sadly, to relearn after experiencing abuse at the hands of the adults in their lives. It also becomes an environment where they learn to trust adults, an important developmental task for many of the youth."

McCormick added that each area of the new facility is designed to create structure in the child's life as well as ceremony and ritual, activities essential to the age group. Structured activities such as sitting down together for meals, having designated homework and bedtime hours, interacting together with relaxed playtime, and working together on daily chores enable the boys to begin their journey of healing and become productive members within their communities, he said.

The group is continuing to raise funds for the new facility. For information about St. John's Home for Children, call (304) 242-5633 or visit its website at

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