Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Boys' Home: An environment for success since 1906

Boys' Home is a residential education facility located in Covington. It has been an integral part of the Alleghany Highlands since 1906. It serves young men ages 6 to 18 who have great promise, but limited opportunities. "We see people in real crisis situations," said Development Director Janet Lemmer. Their mission is to help each resident strive toward becoming a productive member of society, by developing his potential, spiritually, mentally, physically and socially.

In 1906, the Rev. George Rogers, rector of Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Covington, fulfilled the need for access to education and religion in the mountainous area, and founded Grace Mission. After conducting services on a roadside under some trees and then moving to a room in a vacant house, Rogers started a school and Sunday school in an old log cabin. By 1911, when Rogers left the parish, a schoolhouse and chapel had been built. The Mission was renamed The Industrial School and Farm for Mountain Children and Home for Homeless Boys. Rogers' dream became a reality. This was to become Boys' Home.

Today, Boys' Home 1400-acre campus offers recreational facilities, a chapel, and an on-campus school that allows boys to catch up academically before entering the public school system. Vocational-technical opportunities are also offered - including the Boys' Home Christmas Tree Farm. The spiritual life program is vibrant, under the auspices of The Rev. Connie Wolfe Gilman, Boys' Home Chaplain.

How you can help

How can you support Boys' Home and their mission? "An important way people can support Boys' Home is by referring families that are in need of out of home care," said Lemmer. Boys' Home exists to serve young men and their families.

You can also help the staff and residents in more immediate ways:
  • Wish List - The Boys' Home website includes a wish list of needed items, ranging from socks to sports equipment. "Our youngest resident is 6 years old," said Lemmer, "so we always need games, books and things for those little guys." Go to www.boyshomeinc.org.
  • Sponsorships - Consider sponsoring a Boys' Home resident for Christmas or birthday. A gift of just $100 helps Boy's Home provide a happy Christmas or birthday celebration for a young man living away from his home.
  • Just for fun - Come visit with the young men at Boys' Home or invite them for a weekend excursion. "It can be as simple as a trip to the beach, movie night or fishing trip," said Lemmer.
  • Mission Works! - This is an opportunity for youth groups, churches and other organizations to work side-by-side with residents and staff in week-long on-campus projects. Some groups return year after year to share in work and fellowship, helping with a "mission" close to home. Boys' Home, hosted a returning mission group of youth and adults from St. John's, Chester, this summer. They worked on projects that ranged from landscaping to assembling beds.
To learn more about Boys' Home and how you can get involved in their ministry, contact Development Director Janet Lemmer, 540-965-7715 or jdlemmer@boyshomeinc.org. Visit their website, www.boyshomeinc.org. Be sure to visit their Facebook page  for updates and lots of great photos.