There’s something about the Crossnore School & Children’s Home campus. It feels serene. Even idyllic. But the hard work taking place behind the scenes belies the feeling of tranquility one feels when visiting this historic campus and urban farm.
In the summer of 2016, a major change began taking shape, first with the affiliation of Winston-Salem’s The Children’s Home with Crossnore’s The Crossnore School. This affiliation led to a full merger in 2017, creating Crossnore School & Children’s Home. In less than two years, the organization has expanded, leading to greater resources and services available to the children of our community. Crossnore School & Children’s Home CEO, Brett Loftis, shared how these changes are making a positive impact in western North Carolina.
The Sanctuary Model®
Beyond the logistics of merging two existing programs, one of the first changes implemented in 2016 was The Sanctuary Model®, which is an internationally recognized organizational model for helping children who have survived various traumas, including neglect and abuse.
“The children we serve,” said Brett, “have seen and experienced things that many of us cannot fathom. With The Sanctuary Model®, we’ve been able to use a proven tool to help heal emotional wounds that run deep. We’re able to help the children we serve recover from painful memories and experiences in a more purposeful and impactful way.”
Crossnore School & Children’s Home was re-certified as a Sanctuary organization in April of this year, one of only six organizations in the world to achieve re-certification.
Rebuilding the Campus
The first priority for Crossnore was to rebuild a strong residential program for children in foster care. To date, seven buildings have been renovated and 54 beds licensed and readied for children in need. The campus cottages enable sibling groups to remain together while they are in care, strengthening their family bonds and aiding in their healing.
“With over 12,000 North Carolina children in foster care,” explained Brett, “every bed counts. We have an extreme shortage in this state, and some cases have been so severe, children were moved into hotel rooms with social workers. The efforts to revitalize the residential aspect of the campus is filling a tremendous need.”
A Public/Private Partnership
In addition to the growth of Crossnore’s residential, foster-care and adoption, and clinical services programs, Kingswood School, which meets on Crossnore’s campus, has been expanded to serve children from Kindergarten to 12th grade (where previously it only served 6th to 12th graders).
“The Kingswood School is a cooperative effort between Crossnore School & Children’s Home and the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School system,” said Brett. “It’s designed to meet the needs of any child with severe behavioral and emotional needs. With class sizes averaging between 6–8 students, children get the one-on-one attention they need from their teachers.
“Each class includes a mental health professional, and each child is assigned a therapist,” Brett continued. “We are currently serving 135 students through this program.”
Youth in Transition
Not every foster child is reunited with their family. And sometimes, they age out of the program without any of the fallbacks that so many of us take for granted. To that end, the Youth in Transition program was a welcome addition to Crossnore School & Children’s Home.
“The program is six years old, and Goodwill Industries did a great job of supporting the program during that time,” said Brett. “However, it was a perfect fit for our organization. The program is designed to assist young adults with life skills they will need when they age out of foster care.”
Youth in Transition starts with teenagers as young as 14, and works with young adults through the age of 26, equipping them with skills such as cooking, budgeting, social skills, decision-making, education, and developing healthy relationships.
High Ropes Course
“A new addition to the Crossnore School & Children’s Home landscape is a 24′ High Ropes Course,” shared Brett. “This is a therapeutic tool designed to help break through barriers. It’s a great way to establish trust, develop teamwork, and help facilitate emotional breakthroughs.” When the course is completed, it will be a great resource for the children at Crossnore, as well as being utilized for staff training opportunities.
“We are very excited about a new program we are launching this fall. The Foundry is a partnership with Wake Forest Divinity School and the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church.”
Brett continued, “This is an intentional Christian community of young professionals who are making a two-year commitment to live and volunteer on the Crossnore School & Children’s Home campus.”
Those who participate will offer spiritual support and guidance. “This is an opportunity,” said Brett, “to exemplify the love of Jesus Christ through prayer, fellowship, relationships, justice, reconciliation, compassion, and shared service projects.”
A Satellite Office
In addition to the Winston-Salem campus and the Avery campus, Crossnore School & Children’s Home recently opened a satellite office in Henderson County.
Brett said, “This new administrative office gives another location and provides increased opportunities to support foster parents and adoptive parents. The office will be used to both recruit and train new foster families, while providing ongoing support for those families who are licensed.”
Ongoing Needs & Opportunities
In 2017, Crossnore School & Children’s Home served more than 1,000 children across all of its program areas. This level of service provides many opportunities for involvement, from applying for a career position, becoming a foster parent, or making a donation. “We currently have several openings for Cottage Parents,” said Brett. “As our residential program continues to expand, we are looking for singles or couples who are 21 years or older and have a heart for children. This is a seven-day on, seven-day off position, and Cottage Parents live in the cottages with the children. The job comes with full benefits, and we needfour parents per cottage.”
He continued, “We always welcome foster parents. The need for quality foster parents in this state is high. We need loving adults who are willing to share their home with children in need. We offer training, and invite anyone who is willing to offer regular foster care or therapeutic foster care to apply.”
Beyond those needs, Crossnore School & Children’s Home always accepts:
- Seasonal donations (bug spray; sunscreen; gift certificates to theatres, restaurants, water parks, etc.; sunglasses; floaties; beach towels; bathing suits; gardening tools);
- Bedding (twin sized bed-in-a-bag; pillows; bath towels; washcloths);
- Personal care and clothing (gift certificates to Walmart and Target; gift certificates for haircuts and grooming; spring and summer-weight pajamas; full-sized toiletries; shampoo; conditioner; soap; deodorant; toothpaste, and toothbrushes);
- Monetary donations.
Monetary donations support the kinds of programs and initiatives that have taken place over the last year at Crossnore School & Children’s Home. Donations help cover operating costs, repairs, and more. Cash, checks, and credit cards are all accepted. Online giving is also an option. However, service charges are deducted from credit card and online donations. The best way to donate 100% to Crossnore School & Children’s Home is via check. Consider a regular monthly donation, annual giving, a gift in memory of a loved one, or in honor of that person who is so hard to buy for.
Upcoming Events & Fundraisers
Crossnore School & Children’s Home is actively involved and engaged in the community, and their website is a great place to learn about upcoming events!
Miracle Grounds Farm Store is open Wednesday through Friday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday mornings from 9 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. The store features farm-grown strawberries (in season) and produce, along with other locally sourced food and craft items.
Weaving classes are available in June, September, and November.
“Chalice in Wonderland” is scheduled for October 20th and will be a family-friendly festival with craft brewers, live music, food trucks, and activities for the kids.
The Crossnore Children’s Golf Classic is scheduled for October 23rd at Old Town Golf Club. Sponsorship opportunities are currently available. Contact Kimberly King at 336.721.7600.
And “Whimsical Women” is scheduled for November 17th, and features the local artisans and crafters as well as food trucks and live music—a perfect way to kick off Christmas shopping while supporting a great cause!
The team at Crossnore School & Children’s Home has made excellent use of their time in the last year! Exciting things continue to happen, and while donations and support are needed to keep things going, compassion and the genuine love of children can be found at the heart of every employee at Crossnore School & Children’s Home. They are doing all they can to create a sense of normalcy and stability for every child they serve.
Crossnore School & Children’s Home is located at 1001 Reynolda Road in Winston-Salem. If you are interested in learning more about how you can support Crossnore School & Children’s Home, please visit online at Crossnore.org or call 336.721.7600. Please like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
To donate to Crossnore School & Children’s Home, contact Brandon Cathey at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 336.721.7600.
If you are interested in learning about foster care or to take a tour of the campus, contact the main office at 336.721.7600 or email email@example.com.
Check the website for career opportunities and an online application, including applications for cottage parents.