CCHO continues to be safe place for kids to heal

CCHO continues to be safe place for kids to heal

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For more than 50 years, Christian Children's Home of Ohio has been helping kids who have been abused, neglected and traumatized by the people they should be able to trust. Located on the north side of Wooster, the Children's Residential Center serves up to 46 children age 6-18 at one time, providing a safe place to heal and the chance for them to just be kids.

Over Thanksgiving and Christmas, the kids who call CCHO home will celebrate the holidays together. They fill out a wish list of presents, and gifts can be purchased by donors made up of families, churches and businesses.

In addition, the Christmas Cottage Wish List program provides gifts for the children living in the five cottages on campus. “These gifts are extra special because numerous children get to enjoy them,” said David Walker, CCHO's donor relations manager.

According to its website at, "(CCHO) provides a safe, structured environment to meet the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual needs of children from all across Ohio. (They) are provided with therapeutic, social, spiritual and educational opportunities designed to aid the child with the healing process, model for them how a healthy family functions, develop coping and life skills, and introduce them to Jesus Christ."

“The kids that come to CCHO have a lot of trauma to process,” Walker said. “Many have food insecurities because their parents have spent money on drugs instead of food. So we feed them with good, nutritious meals and snacks. They also participate in group therapy, music therapy and intensive trauma therapy so they can go back into family life.”

While at CCHO, the youth attend school on campus taught by teachers from Norwayne Local Schools. With much smaller class sizes and every child having several people supporting their academic and emotional needs, students have been able to get their grades back up.

“Most of our kids didn't have parents there to help them with school, to ensure bedtime and to get their homework done, so they are behind,” Walker said.

CCHO has a middle-school-sized gym, swimming pool, rock-climbing wall, zipline and stables. The equine therapy program began more than 20 years ago as another way to connect with youth from hard upbringings.

“A horse will not trust a person until they know a person trusts them. Bonding happens with the horse, and there are mental-health benefits. As the child begins to show it can be trusted, the horse will start to trust,” Walker said.

Two other ministry programs, Encourage Foster Care and Encompass Christian Counseling, help make up the overall family of ministries whose purpose is to help more people experience their worth. Encourage specializes in treatment foster care for older youth, sibling groups and children with medical needs while Encompass outpatient counseling has 14 offices located in Northeast Ohio and served over 2,000 individuals in the last year.

Romona Robinson, the eight-time Emmy Award-winning Cleveland-area journalist, philanthropist and entrepreneur, will be the guest speaker at the agency’s Heart for the Home annual fundraiser on Saturday, March 19. Included in the night at the Greystone Event Center in Wooster will be an awards ceremony to acknowledge key supporters. Tickets go on sale in January.

Anyone who would like to come out for a tour of the 165-acre campus is welcome to call CCHO at 330-345-7949 and set up a time with Walker.

“We want the kids to have a lot of really good experiences while they are with us receiving trauma services and to just let them be kids for a while,” Walker said.

For the Christmas Cottage Wish List, items such as baseball gloves, roller skates, video games, art supplies, bath towels, blankets and more can be bought from Amazon with an account that shows the actual items and how many are needed:

Items can be either directly from Amazon or similar items can be purchased from outlets of your choice. Gifts (unwrapped) can be coordinated for drop-off at CCHO, 2685 Armstrong Road, Wooster, by calling Lauren Steiner at 330-345-7949 ext. 2540, who also can answer questions about the program.