Welcome to the Curtis Center

 It was only 6:51 a.m. but already a small hand was rattling the door. When Julie Glasgow opened it, there stood Malachi.

It was the first day at the Barbara H. Curtis Center and he couldn’t wait another minute. He was ready.

Sunrise that morning was at 6:49. 

Malachi is 3 and he was the first student to be enrolled at the Curtis Center. He now also holds the distinction of the first to arrive. Every. Day. Last. Week. 

We naturally love his enthusiasm – it embodies everything we hoped the Curtis Center would be. So we wanted to share a snapshot from our opening day.

In addition to Malachi, the Curtis Center welcomed more than 40 other enthusiastic students. Parents dropped off, then teachers met and welcomed the children who immediately began the very serious work of playing together and learning. 

All of this is possible thanks to you – dear friends, donors, and our partner DHIC, Inc. Thank you for sharing the vision and making it happen, redefining childcare and preschool opportunities in Raleigh’s Washington Terrace community.


The child I can’t forget: Sarah

Sarah is one of our family preservation specialists

“The connections we make are so powerful and positive. I remember this little boy I worked with last year.

“He was a first grader and he was classified as nonverbal. But even though he couldn’t have a conversation with us he was so intelligent. He had some delays, both physically and cognitively, but if you gave him a phone or a tablet, he could type out what he wanted to say and he could express his emotions so well.

His family was in the reunification process, so he was living with a relative. And when I would take him to visit his mom, it was so neat – he would get so excited. You know, his mom was always the best part of his day. The family is back together now. I ran into his mom last week and she gave me a big hug and said, ‘Oh! We have to get you back together with the little boy. He can’t wait to see you and we’re all so happy now.’ “

See posts like this on Instagram @MHC_family



Foster & Adopt

Wake, Pitt, and Wilson counties | Are you interested in fostering or adopting?

We have information sessions to answer your questions about fostering and adopting through Methodist Home for Children.

RSVP is required: Call 888.305.4321, ext.6, or email FosterandAdopt@mhfc.org.

On the agenda:
•  What it means to be a foster parent.
•  What the training & licensing process is all about.
•  What types of children are referred to our foster care / adoption program.
•  Dates for our next MAPP training class.

October
•  Oct. 3, Greenville; 6:30 to 8 p.m.
•  Oct. 17, Raleigh; 6:30 to 8 p.m.

November
•  Nov. 14, Raleigh; 6:30 to 8 p.m.

December
•  Dec. 12, Raleigh; 6:30 to 8 p.m.
•  Dec. 16, Greenville; 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Remember to RSVP!


John

When John came to us, he was 14 years old and hadn’t been in a classroom for years. In fact, we searched and never found middle school records for him. Testing revealed he was working barely above an elementary grade level.

John was angry and discouraged when we met, and it made sense. His mother had died when he was 4 and his father, remarried, was in and out of his life, serving time in prison or traveling to construction jobs. John was living unparented in a home without regular meals or clothes for school. He needed a lot of help academically – but before that could happen, John needed to know somebody believed in him.

That’s where Ms. Mary begins her work. She’s the full-time teacher in his group home, and she understands how kids like John are resigned to failure, afraid to try. “We all told him you can do this,” Mary says. “You can do this. Every day we said, we are going to make sure that you have food to eat, you have clothes to wear, you have a shower, you are going to school – and you are going to do what you need to do.”

Mary started by giving John work she knew he could handle. “When he realized he could do it, he got that success experience. He lost a little bit of that fear and he tried something else. And we started moving up, gradually building that success and giving him that belief in himself.”

John is in high school now, with plans to go to culinary school – and we are delighted to see him working toward a dream.


The child I can’t forget: Keesha

Keesha is one of our family success coaches

“I worked with him for 6 months and I really saw a completely different kid by the end of it. He was originally referred to us last year – he was suspended over 10 times in a school period for different things: fighting on the bus, talking back to teachers, things like that. He grew up with his dad. His mom is on drugs and not in the picture and he doesn’t have a great relationship with his stepmom – he would be disrespectful to her, curse her out, and things like that. And so he really needed a positive female role model, and to learn how to appreciate, and speak to, and interact with women in a more positive way.

“The first card says, ‘Tell me about your favorite snack’ and then the questions get progressively more intense. Soon you’re asking, ‘Tell me the time you got mad at dad and how did that make you feel.’

“When we first started playing the ‘ungame,’ he wasn’t interested. He would just say, ‘I don’t know,’ to everything. Whereas the last time I saw him, his dad played along and they were asking for more cards. And he really liked it because it opened up communication with him and his dad.

“But he’s made a huge change since last year. He did teen court and really liked being a juror and is now interested in maybe going to school for law. He’s been connected with a few different mentor programs, similar to a Big Brother, Big Sister. His grades are up; he was failing everything and now he has a B average and he just has a completely different attitude than when I first met him.

“I love this job but it has its challenges, definitely. Sometimes, the families can be a bit challenging, just with seeing mom or dad’s lack of participation or unwillingness to look at their own issues. They usually just want to focus on the child’s issues and not see that the family dynamic as a whole is what creates the issues for the kiddo.”

See posts like this on Instagram @MHC_family


Starting Over

His family shut him out but he is forging ahead

When he was 15 Quinn was a smart, well-liked 10th grader – active in his school’s athletics and clubs. That changed in an instant when he did something irrational and impulsive. No amount of regret could undo it and Quinn ended up in court.

A week later, Quinn was sent to one of our crisis & assessment centers and 30 days after that, he was accepted into our transitional living program. And this is where Quinn’s story turns.

Cast off by his parents, Quinn took control of his life. He accepted responsibility for what he did, made amends as best he could, and decided to move forward.

Now, barely 17, Quinn has graduated from high school and started college. He works full time at a restaurant, but he’s struggling. When he realized how difficult it would be to work, make ends meet, and succeed in college, he enlisted in the Army. There he plans to continue his education and train for a career in cyber security.

Everyone has a back story, everyone makes mistakes. But Quinn has learned he can rise above his worst moment and create a life worth living – and worth sharing.

What is transitional living?

     A residential program that prepares court-involved teens for their transition into adulthood by teaching them to live independently


MHC Real World

Remember your first paycheck? How shocking it was to see the deductions? How little was left after paying rent?

Or what about the cost to insure that first car you bought?

Welcome to MHC Real World – a simulated life experience. Think of it as a crash course in adulting, a daylong adventure designed to give teens a taste of what it’s like to be all grown up. But not just any teens. These are kids who, for the most part, will be leaping into adulthood without the luxury of a family safety net. For them, the day is an eye-opening experience.

MHC Real World is September 28, 9am to 4pm, at St. Marks United Methodist Church in Raleigh.
  • If you want to help, we are collecting gift cards for Real World participants.
  • Enrollment for kids, ages 15-18, is open now through September 14.
Contact Shelita Lee for details or reservations: slee@mhfc.org

His Own Place

There was a promise Jarel’s mother always made to him, growing up. She’d say, “One day we’ll get our own place to live.”

But she was an alcoholic and never delivered on that promise, even when she had the money, so Jarel slept on the sofas and spare beds of other peoples’ homes. By age 15, he had nothing; he felt like a nothing. He was failing in school and he made a mistake – the biggest of his life. He stole a car.

That mistake brought him to us and it might well have saved his life because this is what we saw right away: Jarel has a debilitating learning disorder, and he can’t do basic math or read beyond an elementary-grade level. The inability to keep up in class and the chaos of his life had pointed him to the streets – a place that preyed on his vulnerabilities.

Jarel was trying to fit in somewhere as life was leaving him behind. “He’s the sweetest kid; there’s not a mean bone in his body,” says Tiffany Powell, program manager for our boys’ transitional living home. “But he’s gullible, and he’ll do what you tell him to do. If he gets around bad people, he’ll do what they say.”

When he came to us, Jarel had no understanding of nutrition or cooking – he thought he could live off the McDonald’s dollar menu. He had no familiarity with table manners. He didn’t know how to adjust his behavior when time and place called for it. He had to learn the mundane rules of life and skills for his own survival – how to apply for a job and be reliable; how to save money, budget, and write a check.

Today Jarel works in a fast food restaurant. He is struggling to pass the GED with his learning disability and years of education missing, but he’s trying, and if he succeeds he might go for a welding certification.

Later this year when Jarel turns 18, we’ll have to send him out – but we won’t let him go. We’ll help him get an apartment with furniture and a roommate, a place where he can catch the bus to work, and we’ll stay in touch to keep him accountable.

It won’t be a lot, but it’ll be a place of his own, and in Jarel’s experience that’s a huge step forward. Life has never been better.


Life 101

She shows kids a wider world in books and theater

Imagine for a moment that you are the teacher at one of our multipurpose homes. The kids who live here are between the ages of 10 and 17 and they all have multiple juvenile offenses. As the teacher, you know they need academic help – but they also need life help. Many of them are in trouble because they’ve never been shown a life worth living. So, what do you do?

If you’re Lovey Steinert, you show them compassion and you show them a life beyond their back door. You introduce them to books and theater – even when they grumble about it – because there’s something magical about seeing a story come to life on the stage, and it often takes them by surprise.

“Some of them get really, really into it,” Lovey says. “One boy in class was reading the part of Jonathan in Arsenic and Old Lace with this deep, intense voice. He was better than the actor we saw in the play.”

Lovey knew early in her teaching career that she wanted to work with these kids – the ones with the “problem” label. She could see the insecurity in their behaviors and she knew the ways childhood had hurt them. Something in them reminds her of herself as a kid growing up without her own mother, an only child slamming doors, blasting her radio, and escaping into books.

But she had an advantage – a father who gave her stability and love – and some of our kids don’t get that at home.

“We just read the quote from To Kill a Mockingbird, when Atticus says you don’t understand a person until you crawl into his skin. I guess that sums up why I do it,” Lovey says. “I put myself in the place of the kids and connect with them to be the support they need.”

WHAT IS A MULTIPURPOSE HOME? A group home for kids (ages 10-17) whose repeat offenses are leading them toward more serious involvement in the juvenile justice or adult corrections system