The thrill of a lifetime, for the athlete and staff

BCC participant swims his way to gold at Maryland Special Olympics

SwimmingPoolThe athlete’s pledge for the Special Olympics is: “Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Ryan Russell, a BCC childcare worker on the Denton, MD campus, learned the famous pledge while chaperoning Eli B. to this year’s games held at Maryland’s Towson University.

What he did not know was how profound an effect of witnessing the swimming competition would have on him as Eli brought home three medals.

“I have never met a group of people more willing to be themselves,” Russell said. “Underneath the high fives and the awards, there was a feeling that you were unequivocally and unapologetically proud to be your true self. The beautiful thing was this phenomenon was totally unspoken.”

During the swimming competition, the last place swimmer was cheered as if he or she were leading the pack. Sometimes a swimmer dove at the wrong time, into the wrong lane, or forget the last lap of the race. But instead of tears and jeers for mistakes athletes were encouraged, high-fived and praised. Bravery was all that was required.

“This just speaks to the true connections that both Eli and the BCC staff make through experiences like this,” said Karen McGee, Program Director for the Denton campus.

Russell formed strong bonds with his teammates and the families after he began taking Eli to the Easton YMCA in 2015.

“I can’t even fathom the kind of courage it takes to wake up every day with a disability, but these kids do it with grace, kindness and no fear,” said Russell, who just passed his first year anniversary with BCC. “I wish I had half the bravery these athletes have.”

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Fun In The Sun!

Car washes, book sales, picnics and all things summer at BCC!

CarWash1With the temperature rising and school out, BCC’s residents have been busy with summer programming.

Many of BCC’s residential population attends summer school, and for those who do not, the various summer programs that keep the youth active, engaged, and productive.

The community service program on the Baltimore Campus is run by BCC’s Spiritual Life Department, consists of five girls and seven boys, and meets to work on projects that benefit the community. One of the most recent projects was to bake and deliver homemade cookies to the local police precinct.

This project was important to BCC’s staff because of recent events throughout the country.  Some youth at BCC have not had positive interactions with law enforcement and the simple act of baking and delivering cookies provided an opportunity to start a dialogue and build new relationships.   PoliceJP

Work program coordinator, Clifford Guest, invited BCC employees to get their cars washed by the residents.  It taught the youth teamwork and other soft skills needed for success in the workplace.  Proceeds from the car wash will help offset the cost of the trip to Six Flags scheduled for later this summer.  Youth in the work program also partner with the maintenance team.  Most begin in housekeeping and some move up to shadowing maintenance technicians.

“Our kids enjoy working hands on while gaining a valuable work experience they can transfer to a full-time job or the ability to care for their own automobile,” Guest said. “Being able to treat someone or someone else’s property like you would treat your own are skills future employers want to see. The kids bond with one another and they learn the value in an honest day’s work.”

Other work program activities included creating a volleyball court on BCC’s Baltimore campus, relocating furniture and books from the now-closed North Carroll High school to Strawbridge School, and preparing the new girls semi-independent house in Reisterstown, MD for its opening this month.

The recreation program challenged the youth with nature hikes, the ropes course, swimming and competitive sports games.

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Moore-Koikoi confirmed as Bishop by UMC

BCC Board Member receives honor at Jurisdictional Conference July 15

Moore-Koikoi Elected BishopRev. Cynthia Moore-Koikoi, a member of the Board of Directors of the Board of Child Care since 2013, was elected to Bishop in the United Methodist Church July 13.

Her appointment became official during a Consecration ceremony July 15, where she received her assignment to the Pittsburg Area (Western PA Conference).  She will begin September 1, 2016.

“Just like we would for our staff and our participants, we celebrate the amazing achievement by Rev. Cynthia Moore-Koikoi ,” said Laurie Anne Spagnola, BCC’s President and CEO. “We wish her well as she begins her new assignment.  We were very lucky to have her on our Board.”

Before earning status as bishop-elect, Moore-Koikoi was superintendent of the Baltimore-Metropolitan District.  She played a pivotal spiritual role within the city following the unrest surrounding the death of Freddie Gray in police custody in 2015.

The current Bishop of the Baltimore-Washington conference, Bishop Marcus Matthews, retires August 31, 2016, after 42 years in ministry. BCC wishes Bishop Matthews well in his retirement and extends our congratulations to the newly elected Bishop LaTrelle Miller Easterling, who was appointed Bishop Matthew’s replacement.  Bishop Easterling is from the New England Conference and BCC looks forward to welcoming her this fall!  Like her predecessors, Bishop Easterling will be invited to join BCC’s board of directors or make a suggestion for a UMC representative to take her place.

BCC is delighted that Bishop Peggy Johnson of the Philadelphia Area will remain assigned to the Peninsula-Delaware and Eastern Pennsylvania Conferences and, therefore, remain on BCC’s Board.  Congratulations Bishop Johnson!

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Tim H.: A 2016 graduation success story

How ‘Haystacks’ has overcome loss to achieve his goals

Tim pic with borderIn the giving mood? Great, because while summer school is open, the traditional school year is just weeks away.

This past June, Tim H., a Strawbridge graduate, authored and delivered an amazing graduation speech. You can read about that here and check out the Back to School Appeal at!  To our donors and volunteers, thanks for everything you do!

It is our honor to share with you an abbreviated version of his speech.   His transformation into adulthood includes overcoming a significant loss in his life.

“On April 9, 2014, I got off the school bus on the Baltimore campus, and it was just like any other day.  As I walked in and approached my cottage, there was staff everywhere.  One of the staff members took me aside and she said, “Tim, I am so sorry…your mother is at the Penn State Hospital. She’s suffering liver failure.” 

A few hours after we arrived at the hospital the nurse let everyone know: my Mom was going off life support.   

When I returned to the Baltimore campus, I felt a sense of comfort from not only the staff members, but the residents as well, which made this event easier to bear.

A few months later I moved to BCC’s semi-independent living program in Hagerstown, MD.  Throughout my time at BCC, I have grown to know the staff like they are family, and have felt a great deal of support and love. 

I have also accomplished many feats, including gaining vital work experience, life skills, financial literacy, social skills, and am now a high school graduate!  The truth is that if you stick with the program, and put faith in staff, nothing but success is in your future.”

Your support of the Back to School campaign helps students graduate and set them up for future success.

Tim was awarded several scholarships to continue his education at Hagerstown Community College.  He hopes to work as a team member in the National Parks Service.

We hope Tim’s story inspires you the way your kindness and generosity has touched so many of our youth.

P.S.  Our class of 2017 seniors are ready to put in the work this year.  Will you help us get them across the stage in June?  Donate easily and securely online at

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Second annual staff appreciation picnic fun for all!

The second annual staff appreciation picnic blurb took place July 20, and was an unqualified success!

There was BBQ, the band Tropical Soul, an amazing race obstacle course, but most of all the day represented a chance to relax and mingle with staff members across BCC locations.

Movies played in the Conference Center for those who wanted to beat the heat, including the Lego movie and Despicable Me 2.

Other activities included a large water slide, water balloon toss, a photo booth, face-painting, beach volleyball, Double-Dutch jump rope, a Hula Hoop contest, Corn Hole, and other outdoor games.

OMHCPicnic Picnic1 Amazing Race - Yuriy vs KristineGIMP
BobbyPCornMan OMHCPicnic2 Lunch1
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