Linda Gordon has joined the staff of Boys Home of Virginia. A native of the Callaghan area, Ms. Gordon will serve as a houseparent. With a professional background in nursing and personal experience as a mother and grandmother, Ms. Gordon offers a compassionate and competent array of expertise. The Boys Home community welcomes Ms. Gordon to the staff.
Cindy Andrews recently received recognition for fifteen years of service at Boys Home of Virginia. Although she worked for four years from 1982 to 1987, the 15-year recognition reflects consecutive years that she has been an employee. In her time at Boys Home, she has worked in the Development department and with Program initiatives. She is currently the receptionist.
When queried about why she likes working at Boys Home, Cindy replies, “I like people and I enjoy the students. I like being on the campus and working with the other employees.”
Cindy’s friendly voice is the first thing people hear when they call Boys Home and she is the first person they see as they enter the administration building. First impressions mean a lot and the staff and Boys Home community are happy to have Cindy as part of the team.
Congratulations to Case Manager Dennis Calhoun of Boys Home of Virginia. Dennis was recently awarded a certificate for 15 years of service to Boys Home.
Originally from Duncannon, Pennsylvania, Dennis graduated from Appalachian Bible College in Beckley, West Virginia. Dennis also holds a M. A. in Religion from Liberty University.
As a father of a son who is 14 and a daughter who is 13, Mr. Calhoun is literally surrounded by teens most of the time. He enjoys fishing and going on trips with Boys Home students. Currently, he teaches a Bible survey class on campus. He says the class gives him “an opportunity to teach something I enjoy to kids whose volume of knowledge is very limited in that subject. A lot of what they are getting is very fresh to them.” This gives him the opportunity to introduce new ideas and concepts to the students, which he finds very gratifying.
Mr. Calhoun especially enjoys working with youth ages 14-16. One of the challenges of working with that age group is their tendency to look for short-term rewards rather than embracing longer-term goals. Those who comply with Boys Home expectations gain opportunities to go on special trips and participate in more activities. Mr. Calhoun recalls trips to the Pentagon and to Florida as experiences he has shared with residents that were especially enjoyable. As a case manager, he also notices if there are residents who seem less involved and makes an effort to spend time with them through recreational activities or working alongside them in community service projects.
Thanks to Mr. Calhoun for his dedication to the students at Boys Home of Virginia.
In the Boys Home of Virginia dining hall, Executive Director Donnie Wheatley presented Carl Blacke with a certificate honoring him for fifteen years of employment at Boys Home. Mr. Wheatley praised him for having a willingness to do whatever he has been asked to do and the dining hall rang with applause for this soft-spoken man.
Originally from Glasgow, Virginia, Mr. Blacke holds a B.A. in Health and Physical Education with minors in Business and Education. While he was employed at the Natural Bridge Juvenile Detention Center, Mr. Blacke and a cousin would always spend one week of their vacation time leading a basketball camp at West Virginia University. While driving home to Virginia at the end of this particular week, Mr. Blacke decided to drive up the Boys Home lane and learn more about Boys Home. After 19 years at the correctional center, Mr. Blacke accepted an offer to be a houseparent in the Wheatley Center. He was most impressed that the residents chose to live at Boys Home and felt it was that one difference that made the work much easier here than in his previous job. Within a short time, he became the campus manager, a role he filled for years. At this time, he is again a houseparent at the Wheatley Center, the cottage where new residents become familiar with Boys Home expectations and routines. New residents also learn tennis from Mr. Blacke. He is happy to teach them the fundamentals of the game and he continues to play one to two times a week when he is off duty.
When asked about his greatest challenge as a staff member, Mr. Blacke explains that it is probably when he sees bullying taking place. However, his biggest reward is “when they’re 25 and you felt like you didn’t scratch the surface with them when they were here—and they come back to campus and tell you what you meant to them.”
Reflecting on 15 years of service at Boys Home, Mr. Blacke comments, “You’ve got to enjoy what you do. Lots of times, this job doesn’t seem like work to me. It is very rewarding.”
Thank you, Mr. Blacke, for your dedication to Boys Home and the difference you have made in the lives of so many young men.