News

  • By Elaine Brelsford
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  • Events, News

Riding Ring Dedication and Blessing


“All creatures of our God and king, lift up your voice and let us sing, O praise Him, Alleluia,” rang out from a crowd assembled for the dedication of the new riding ring at Boys Home on June 13. Visitors, staff, and students sat on new bleachers constructed by a mission group from Trinity Episcopal Church in Portsmouth, Virginia. Students leading and riding horses stood inside the riding ring, while Chaplain Anne Grizzle, wearing a cowboy hat and boots, led a service of thanks and blessing.

Executive Director Donnie Wheatley thanked the many contributors who have donated funds for the ring, and Bonnie Wheatley spoke of Sturdy Stirrups, the equine program that has worked with over 20 students this spring. Diego Jones and Audrey Mosby alternately read Psalm 32 from horseback. Audrey, who is an accomplished rider, is the daughter of the new Development Director Justin Mosby. Pastor Anne reflected on the role of the ring as a place of relationship building, leadership, learning, and joy. When Pastor Anne asked the students what they learned this past semester, many examples included, “to stay calm, respect all living things, and trust your horse.” Linda Angle, house parent and assistant riding instructor, led everyone in the Cowboy Prayer of “God bless our horse and keep us safe. I ask this in the name of He who was born in a stable. Amen.”

Bundles of grasses with wildflowers were distributed to individuals wishing to bless the ring. Dipping the bundles in buckets of blessed water, they sprinkled them throughout the ring.

The service was concluded with a rendition of “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” including verses relating to horses and riders.

A celebratory dinner followed and included a memorized rendition of a horse poem called “Sissy Britches,” given by guest Susan Richardson.

The riding ring was installed to ensure the safety of all who participate in the equine program, allowing the program to expand to any student who is interested. While some of the fund’s needs have been donated, additional contributions are needed to fully fund the project. Boys Home has created a thermometer in the dining hall as a fun way to track our goal in raising money for the riding ring. Consider joining in the learning and fun by donating!

  • By Elaine Brelsford
  • Posted:
  • Events, News

Ingevity of Covington Renovates Boys Home Gym Lobby into Ingevity Student Center


Ingevity has provided funds to renovate the gym lobby on the Boys Home campus. Ingevity is based out of North Charleston, South Carolina, but the Covington, Virginia, location spearheaded this project. The ceiling was replaced, followed by updated electrical service. Fresh paint was then applied, new furniture and an area rug were added, along with a pool table, ping pong table, bookshelf, television, and speakers. Door mats, a fire pit, an outdoor table, chairs, and umbrella were also placed outside the Ingevity Student Center.

Ingevity employees, students, and Boys Home staff gathered in May for a dedication which included a ribbon cutting. Three students spoke about why they love their new “hang out.” An elementary student presented and said “I like the ping pong table and TV. I got to watch a movie in here one night with other students and staff. It is a good place to have fun and not worry. Thanks, Ingevity, for making this a special place for us.”

Boys Home is very grateful to the individuals from Ingevity for making this idea a reality for our students! On June 22, Boys Home held a blessing of the Ingevity Student Center by The Rev. Anne Grizzle, chaplain of Boys Home.

  • By Elaine Brelsford
  • Posted:
  • News

Louis Sarratt Joins Boys Home


Louis Sarratt has joined the staff of Boys Home. Originally from Deep Creek, Virginia, he served in the Air Force and was enrolled in the Navy Reserve for 20 years. Louis and his wife, Sandra, have recently relocated to Covington where he will be assigned special projects on campus. Sensing that God has drawn them here for a purpose, Louis states, “In coming here, we are fulfilling what we know we had to do for God. God had something here to give back to these boys through us.” Students and staff at Boys Home welcome Louis and his wife to the community and wish him well as he settles into his new duties.

  • By Elaine Brelsford
  • Posted:
  • News

Kendall Kessinger is Hired as a Houseparent at Boys Home

Kendall Kessinger has joined the staff of Boys Home as a houseparent. A 2014 Alleghany High School graduate, Kendall received an associate’s degree in instrumentation last May. Kendall became uniquely acquainted with Boys Home when a Boys Home resident entered his English class in 7th grade. Kendall and this new student, Milliyon Fesseha, became fast friends and remain best friends to this day. Milliyon also works at Boys Home as a houseparent, so the two young men now find themselves coworkers. Kendall has five years’ experience working at the Virginia Elks Lodge Youth Camp, which is where he learned that he enjoyed working with youth. Of his role at Boys Home, Kendall states, “I want to be a role model and build a bond with the kids here.” Kendall speaks admirably of his relationships with his three brothers. At Boys Home, he hopes to “set examples based on what I’ve learned while living with my brothers.” Kendall has aspirations of someday coaching football, baseball, and basketball. Students and staff at Boys Home welcome Kendall to the community and wish him all the best as he assumes his new duties on campus.