Epworth Children's Home

Epworth Children’s Home
2900 Millwood Ave
Columbia SC 29205

Comeback Kid: Charlie Sprints Ahead in School

When 10-year-old Charlie arrived at Epworth in 2021, he was a second grader who had been identified as a student with a developmental disability. He struggled both academically and behaviorally in school and was having a particularly difficult time with basic skills in reading and math.


Like so many other children who arrive at Epworth to live, he needed assistance and personalized educational support outside of the classroom to help him catch up. National statistics show that children who have experienced abuse and neglect in their homes fall, on average, between one-and-a-half to two full grade levels behind in educational attainment.


This is where Epworth’s Barnes Learning Center makes a huge difference. For the past 20 years, the Center has focused on the educational attainment of Epworth’s children, providing a wide array of services. It offers everything from individualized academic tutoring in subjects across the curriculum, to SAT preparation courses for our high school age residents, to job market and life skills tutoring for our older youth. Services are tailored to each resident’s individual needs.


The Center augments what the residents learn at school and provides enrichment that helps them catch up in grade level attainment. It gives them the extra, personalized support they need to become successful and confident students for the first time in their lives.


Like all our residents, Charlie attended the public school zoned for Epworth’s location. Since the special education class placement Charlie needed was not offered at the elementary school to which he was zoned, staff in the Barnes Learning Center worked with a special education consultant to have Charlie placed in another elementary school in the district that offered the specific academic help he needed. Charlie also began tutoring at Epworth after school to receive additional support for basic reading and math skills that he needed to improve. The Barnes Learning Center continued to provide tutoring services to Charlie over the summer.


When Charlie’s birthday arrived, he was no longer eligible for developmental disability services, and he had to begin transitioning to an educational program that would gradually place him in regular classrooms in some subjects, while keeping him in some special education classes for part of the school day. His schoolteachers helped him academically and also helped him to manage negative behaviors and the frustrations he frequently felt as he was mainstreamed into regular classrooms.


With continued tutoring after school in the Barnes Learning Center on Epworth’s campus and counseling to address his behavioral problems, Charlie gained confidence and began to work hard to attain grade level status. Both his academic performance and his behavior improved significantly. When tests indicated that Charlie no longer needed any special education classes, he had to transfer schools again, back to the elementary school to which he was originally zoned. Teachers there worked to make Charlie feel at home, and he has continued to receive the extra support and help he needs at the Barnes Learning Center.


Christy Mooneyhan, director of Academic Achievement at Epworth, reports that Charlie’s grades are excellent.


“He continues to attend tutoring on campus every afternoon and has even asked to stay longer than his scheduled sessions to work on homework and improving his skills,” she said. “He’s thriving during his placement with us, and it is because of the amazing support that has been wrapped around him.”


Charlie’s cottage parents at Epworth describe his willingness to help with chores in the cottage and to be a helper and friend to other children who live there with him. They comment about Charlie’s positive attitude and his enthusiasm for life.

In short, Charlie’s progress since his arrival at Epworth has been amazing. He has made huge strides in his academic levels and in his behavior, but most importantly, he seems to understand that he has a support system here that has allowed him to transform into a happy, healthy child who is full of life and believes in himself.