The Spiritual Life team at work – February program recap

valentines-day-2016-headerBCC’s Spiritual Life Team is an integral part of residential programing.  In addition to offering more traditional (and optional) religious education and services, they are also in charge of community service, mentoring, and special holiday celebrations for the residents and BCC’s staff.

Promoting positivity through the Holy season of Lent

What choice did you make at the start of today?

What mindset did you have getting out of bed?

Your mind is a powerful force.  When you fill it with positive thoughts, positive actions will follow.

The power of positivity: 40 days of positive living and thinking – a campaign launched by the Spiritual Life team this month – is an opportunity for youth, staff and volunteers of the Board of Child Care to practice BCC’s core values of safety, integrity, empathy and impact with intentionality.

“The forty-day period corresponds to the Christian season of Lent,” says Rev. Dr. Stacey Nickerson, Director of Church & Community Engagement.  “It is a time of preparing for the celebration of Easter by self-examination and growing in one’s relationship with God and neighbor. While many people of the Christian faith give up something negative, it is also an opportunity to commit to adding something positive throughout the period of Lent.”

Participants were given a one page chart to help document their daily actions, or even to simply check off that they had completed the exercise for that day.

Baltimore celebrates Black History Month

Shawn Elbert, Spiritual Life Coordinator on the Baltimore campus, has been holding a very special Monday evening event.  Affectionately dubbed “Monday Man Cave” by the campus, each evening has a theme.  For the month of February, participants watched Selma, the chronicle of Dr. Martin Luther King’s campaign to secure equal voting rights during a 1965 march to Selma, AL and Many Rivers to Cross, an African-American-based documentary from Professor Henry Lewis Gates. Reflection and discussion on the historical relevance on today’s social environment followed each viewing.

“Black History Month is American history. It’s a part of every person and therefore, it becomes our shared history,” Elbert says. “The kids asked great questions and engaged each other in discussion in a very respectful way. They really modeled the behavior and attitude they’ll need outside of BCC.”

Residents offer sweet treats to staff


service-project-chocolate-02In February, the Spiritual Life team coordinated construction of Valentine’s Day gift boxes by a dozen residential program participants for staff who serve them in the lower campus cottages and upper campus houses.

Boxes filled with chocolate-covered strawberries and pretzels were delivered to childcare workers, social workers, case managers and unit supervisors, and to the food service team from Sodexo. Another box went to the Health Suite.



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BCC receives CARF accredidation!

BCC-is-carf-accreditedSpagnola commends the outstanding score of 98.4% received by BCC. 

The end of the traditional holiday season bridging Thanksgiving and Christmas also marked the end of a yearlong project for BCC – completion of an in-person Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitative Facilities (CARF) audit.

The singular reward for the efforts of many came Feb. 17, when the formal CARF certificate arrived in the mail.

Dec. 14 through 16 of 2015, reviewers from CARF put BCC facilities and staff through inspection and audit of campuses, off-site homes and outpatient programs. The audit visit was the culmination of just over a year of planning, work and review from every BCC department and team in every facility and location.

President & CEO, Laurie Anne Spagnola, addressed the Baltimore campus directly on Dec. 16 while other BCC off-site staff joined in via a conference call.  Spagnola said of 1,838 standards the review team from CARF examined, Board of Child Care was recommended to improve on just 30 – a 98.4 percent success mark – something Spagnola described as “stupendous” given this was BCC’s first time being accredited by CARF.

She also lauded the Quality Improvement team, which comprises Vice President of Administration, Cindy Brink, Quality Improvement Coordinator, Kristine Goolsby, and Quality Improvement Assistant, Teresa Ward for shepherding the entire process.

Finally, Spagnola shared some positive takeaways from the exit interview in the form of some notable stories from reviewers, who shared a parent’s comment about sending her son to the Board of Child Care was, “One of the best decisions I’ve ever made.” Another CARF reviewer recounted a program participant saying, “This is the first place I’ve gone to that’s made a difference in my life.”

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BCC Spotlight: BRADLEY SPOON, Child and Family Therapist


Spoon, 26, works at BCC’s Outpatient Mental Health Clinic in Pasadena, MD. He came to the Board of Child Care with a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University in Mental Health Counseling in 2014 and an undergraduate degree in Psychology from Stevenson University in 2011.

Q: Where does your passion for this career path come from?

A: “There were moments in my life when I felt I didn’t have a voice, and I know how incredibly difficult it is to have to deal with things on your own and not have someone to talk to about it. I’ve always wanted to be that person for someone when they need it most.”

Q: When did you feel voiceless? Was there a moment in particular that served as motivation for your current career?

A: “I identify as a gay male, and coming out was one of those moments. I was also a caretaker for my father at 14 years old. When I see youth who are dealing with similar problems, I try to be genuine with them.”

Q: How did you find out about BCC and what appealed to you about working here?

A: “I found BCC through Johns Hopkins’ internship program. I interviewed with Andrea Carroll (Ed. Note: Director of BCC’s Outpatient Mental Health Clinic) but at the time I was looking for a more general area of counseling. I realized later that the role Andrea had me in mind for was actually in my wheelhouse after all.”

Q: Andrea Carroll calls you an “enthusiastic team player” at OMHC. What does being a team player mean to you?

A: “Having a difficult caseload without professional support is a big fear to me. It is a huge advantage to be able to call on someone else’s professional perspective. I want to try to be that resource for other therapists, too.”

Q: How has your professional work changed you?

A: “Working at the Board of Child Care has allowed me to become more confident in the work I do. Working with the OMHC team has allowed me to shed some hesitancy, open my wings, and be more confident as a therapist.”

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Balto Co. Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Donates Books to BCC


Portion of books collected during massive drive added to campus lending library.

The Baltimore County Alumnae chapter of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority stopped by BCC in February with two enormous crates filled with books. The results of a recent book drive, the books will be added to the lending library on the Baltimore campus.

The Baltimore Alumnae Chapter Delta Sigma Theta Sorority is a not-for-profit organization whose purpose is to provide assistance and support through established programs in the local Baltimore community.

Many thanks to the chapter for selecting Board of Child Care as a recipient of its book drive!

Members of Balto Co. Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority with BCC staff members.

From left to right: Tracy Watkins, Rev. Stacey Nickerson (BCC’s Director of Church & Community Engagement), Angela Mason-Elbert, Laurie Anne Spagnola (BCC’s President & CEO), Keitha Robinson.

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