Bethany College Football Players Help Move Young Abuse Victims to New Home

BETHANY, W.Va. — Five Bethany football players recently joined the College’s efforts to support the work of Wheeling’s St. John’s Home for Children — a group that provides care for boys age eight to 14 who have suffered abuse or struggle with behavioral problems. Students Matt Grimard, Ryan Busch, CJ Thomas, Robert Baker and Tyler Babinchok spent Saturday morning moving furniture and appliances to a newly constructed home that will expand the organization’s ability to serve area youth.

3839IMG1150.JPGTerry McCormick, executive director of the children’s home, stated, “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 continued, “We simply would not have been able to complete2681IMG1154.JPG this move without the help of these Bethany students. This is just another great example of how our partnership in education with Bethany comes to life and is representative of these students embodying the mission of Bethany College.”

The Department of Social Work at Bethany recently donated $1,000 to help fund the St. John’s capital campaign plan, which includes the new home. According to McCormick, the group’s campaign has raised more than $875,000 toward a $1.5 million goal. 

The new 7,000-square-foot building 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, a family therapy room, an educational lab, and staff areas with the technology necessary to meet strict supervision requirements.

“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. 

A blessing and dedication ceremony is scheduled for February 9 at 1 p.m., with an open house to follow until 5:30 p.m. A tentative move-in date is set for February 11. 

Contributions may be mailed to the St. John’s Home for Children Capital Campaign, 141 Key Avenue, Wheeling, WV 26003. Donations can also be made online through PayPal at www.stjohnshomeforchildren.org.

The St. John’s Home for Children is licensed by the West Virginia Department of Health & Human Resources, and funded in part under an agreement with West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Bureau for Children and families. 

Bethany College is a small college of national distinction located on a picturesque and historic 1,300-acre campus in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia. Founded in 1840, Bethany is the state’s oldest private college.