Epworth is committed to meeting each child’s emotional, spiritual, physical and educational needs while he or she is in our care. Each fall Epworth enrolls nearly 100 children in schools from pre-K to college. The children need to have their schedules set. They need to meet their teachers. They also need school materials to start the year off with a solid foundation. Academic support extends beyond getting children back and forth to school. It means providing a comprehensive support system for educational success.
Most of Epworth’s children are placed in the Richland One School District in Brennen Elementary, Hand Middle, and Dreher High schools. Epworth has a strong partnership with the schools that assist in creating a path for success. Within the first few days of class this year, a teacher saw Ms. Christy Mooneyhan, Vice President for Academics, in the hallway of the school. She talked to Ms. Mooneyhan about Michelle,* a child from Epworth, who was struggling to pay attention in class. Ms. Mooneyhan arranged for Michelle’s Epworth case manager and the teacher to develop a plan to help manage Michelle’s behavior and encourage better study habits in school and in the cottage. Michelle’s behavior and schoolwork are already showing signs of improvement.
In addition to helping establish classroom success, the Barnes Learning Center on the Epworth campus benefits each child. The “BLC” has a fully stocked library, computer lab, auditorium and individual classrooms where certified teachers provide tutoring sessions after school. Through the tutoring program children receive help with study skills, and have access to a study hall to assist with homework and other assignments. Normally, the children are at least two grade levels behind their peers when they are placed at Epworth. Through tutoring at the BLC and in the cottages, living in a stable environment and receiving high expectations messages, over 50% of residents make the honor roll each year.
Having a support system that encourages children to succeed in school is an essential part of Epworth’s program, but each new school year begins with a new challenge: to collect and distribute enough school supplies for each child at Epworth. Due to the generous support of donors, each child was given a new backpack to start this school year, along with all of the school supplies needed—from pencils and paper to calculators and water bottles. All the backpacks were taken to the altar of Epworth Memorial United Methodist Church on the Sunday before school began, and the campus pastor, the Rev. Meg Cook, blessed them.
Epworth values education and challenges the children to “Aim Higher” to achieve their goals. As they pursue excellence in the classroom, the children know that the community schools, the Epworth staff and especially the donors and churches that make it all possible, are standing with them.