Children's Home slates 'A Day on Campus' Mar. 16




A reunion of Florida United Methodist Children's Home alumni.
There are repeated calls in the Bible for the faithful to care for orphans. The Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church and thousands of those passionate about the ministry answer the call by supporting the Florida United Methodist Children’s Home.

The Children’s Home ministers to orphans, children abused and neglected and some with troubled backgrounds. They are provided with shelter, love, education and a way forward in life. The goal is to reunite them with their families when possible.

On Saturday, March 16, the main campus of the Children’s Home in Enterprise will host A Day on Campus. It is a time for the Children’s Home and the Conference to thank those whose generous donations and volunteerism have made the ministry possible.

It is also an opportunity for donors to see how their generosity is being used for the children. The day will be filled with testimonials, music, a short student production, tram tours and a picnic lunch under tents on the grounds.

“Basically, it is our way of thanking churches and the community at large for what they’ve given the children,” Children’s Home spokesperson Mark Cobia said.

Funding for the operation, which cares for 80 at the main campus and another 24 or so at a second location in Madison, comes from a variety of sources.

“There are folks that give regularly; there are people that will leave the Children’s Home in their estate,” Cobia said.
 
Equine therapy was added to the Madison location in 2017.

“The churches will do something called a Fifth Sunday, started a year or two before the home was started in 1908. Every month with a fifth Sunday, they take up a special offering for the Children’s Home. That is four or five months a year.”

Churches like New Horizons in Broward County do a major fundraiser for the Children’s Home each year. Its pastor, Rafe Vigil, has been a member of the home’s Board of Trustees for the past three years.

“My church has a strong investment in the Children’s Home, and I have always been a supporter. I am big on the children’s ministry and children and young adults,” Virgil said. “My wife and I do a mission to an orphanage in the Dominican Republic every year, so this board was a perfect fit for me.

“It is not just about a process or state laws but the genuine mind, body, heart soul and developing healthy family systems. They do that in a myriad of ways,” Virgil said. “It’s really a wholistic approach.”

The primary objective is to reunite children with their families.

 “We have therapists that work with them. If we can’t work it out, we look at foster care or adoption,” Cobia said. “Other agencies will handle adoptions for us.”

Most children spend an average of about 18 months at the children’s home, where some attend public elementary school and others attend middle and high school on campus.

“The biggest chunk of funding comes from donations either from individuals or churches,” Cobia said. “We also get some funding from grants and foundations; and, for the state-placed children, we get funding from the state Department of Children and Families.”

A Day on Campus highlights everything the home provides for the children, Vigil said.

“It brings awareness about the home. It highlights the ministry. Even the Day on Campus has changed,” he said.

“They are doing workshops this year to help people understand what happens on campus. The heightened awareness is the big part of that.”

The public is invited to the March 16 event. Reservations are requested so lunch can be provided for everyone. To make a reservation for the tour, fill out a form online or contact Community Relations Manager Trista Calvin by phone at 386-668-5088 or by email at Trista.Calvin@fumch.org.

—Yvette C. Hammett is a freelance writer from Valrico.
 

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