On May 7, Show-Me Christian Youth Home (SMCYH) ceremonially started the construction of its new Reed Home at Drysdale Farm in Barnett with approximately 60 in attendance to make the occasion.
The addition of this new home will mark the first major step in expanding the current Drysdale Farm facility into becoming a campus community for the non-profit organization as modeled at the main campus in La Monte, Mo.
SMCYH is a faith-based organization aimed at helping young lives by providing a safe, stable, loving home to young people struggling because of circumstances in their current home environment, according to their mission statement.
“We face a challenge to rescue and restore even more young lives,” explained Director Chad Puckett. “The need exceeds our capacity. The Reed Home is the next opportunity to meet this challenge.”
The Reed Home will serve as a residential home for a new Show-Me family of up to eight children. Located just north of the current house at 19314 Jones Creek Road in Barnett, this second home will be approximately 3,500 square feet and will have six bedrooms.
The main construction will begin this summer and is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2018. Like most of the homes at SMCYH, volunteers will assist in much of the labor.
“Show-Me’s story is our story: one person will tell me about how their church helped to put up the roof, another how they built the porch,” Puckett said. “The Drysdales or Reeds may have set aside the funding and dream, but it takes the whole community before a child can find safety under its roof. ”
The new home is named in honor of Ned and Louise Reed, who donated their property in Camdenton, to start the Camdenton Unit in 1988. Due to the close vicinity of the new highway directly next to the unit, it was closed in 2008. Funds were set aside to establish this new home at Drysdale.
This past Saturday, September 10th, was our Annual Open House. If you didn’t make it, you missed out on a great day! The day was spent catching up with old and new friends, great music, food, family and fun. It was also impressive learning about our kids, and what they are up too in our Leadership U program. But one of the highlights of the day was our chance to honor some very special people.
First, we celebrated this year’s recipients of the Champion for Children award, Pat and Paul Rhoades.
2016 Champion for Children Award
Paul and Pat first heard about Show-Me while attending Southside Christian Church in the 1970’s. When they moved to Westridge Christian Church in Raytown in 1977, their involvement ramped up significantly.
Their Sunday School Class, the Keystone class, attended Annual Meetings at Show-Me every July (in those days, it was outside under a tent in JULY). That class also rallied behind other programs to support Show-Me, and did so faithfully for decades. They started sponsoring children for Christmas, taking special offerings amongst themselves for various needs, and regularly contributed financially, adding much stability to the Show-Me budget.
Chad Puckett, Show Me Christian Youth Home Director, shared this memory. “My first interaction with Paul and Pat, was in response to an SOS we sent out about 15 years ago. Show-Me was running low on meat to feed the families here, so Karen asked me to contact Paul, and his Sunday School classmate, Charlie Wadleigh, to see about getting some ground beef. A quick phone call was all it took, and a few days later they delivered hundreds of pounds of fresh ground beef.”
Paul and Pat organize their church’s participation in the Change for Children Program, coming down to get change cans, distributing them to members of the congregation, gathering them back up and returning them to Show-Me. Since 2009, we can figure that nearly $20,000 has been contributed as a result of Paul and Pat’s diligence and support of this program.
Many years ago, likely over 25, Pat took over the Christmas gifts program at Westridge, organizing her congregation’s response to the needs at Show-Me, making sure each child at Show-Me was sponsored by someone in her congregation to receive Christmas gifts. Many churches do this, but Westridge was one of the first. Pat organizes this each year with passion and efficiency.
Someone had the nerve to mention to Pat one year that the Show-Me kids dress better than some of the children in their church, so why should she give gifts to them. Pat quickly scolded her that the church kids have parents who should take care of their needs; Show-Me kids don’t have parents that can.
Sponsoring children at Christmas is a big deal at Westridge. Early in the Fall, Pat begins preparations. She has several friends contact her directly, making sure she sets aside certain cards for them before they all get snatched up.
It’s always a blessing when we see Paul and Pat drive up to the office. They usually don’t stay longer then their business requires, but they’re sure full of hugs and encouragement in that time span.
Even if you press them to take some credit for all they do for these children, they respond “we really don’t do that much; we just do a little.” Paul said, “We enjoy it! It’s always a joy, never a chore.”
Show-Me is so blessed to have such dedicated supporters as Paul & Pat. We wish we had someone like Paul and Pat Rhoades in every congregation!
2016 Overcomer Award
We also had the chance to honor this year’s Overcomer Award recipients, Kayla and Casey Jones.
In 2001, Casey arrived at Show-Me with is little brother, Christian. His mother loved her boys dearly, but realized, with the help of her family and friends, that her mental illness prevented her from raising her boys. At 13 years of age, Casey was an excellent student and had some untapped athletic talents that were uncovered continuously as he grew up. Once they joined the Weber family, they had a family for life.
Kayla came from a long history of depression, dependencies, and suicide; her family came together to salvage Kayla from a life of self-destruction and helped her get to Show-Me in 2004 at the age of 13. Kayla joined the Pucketts and eventually adjusted to the responsibilities and advantages of having a stable family. She overcame her academic struggles and found athletic strengths as well.
Casey and Kayla became “High School Sweethearts” and anticipated a future together. Casey graduated from the Show-Me Christian School in 2006 and Kayla in 2008. They joined their lives in marriage shortly after Kayla’s graduation.
Kayla always dreamed of becoming a nurse. With a new marriage and a baby on the way, Kayla launched into nursing school at Lincoln. Casey worked multiple jobs to provide for the family.
Casey and Kayla agree that the biggest advantage of Show-Me to them was the fresh starts they were able to embrace. It’s difficult for a young person to begin the change process when they are trapped in the same environment, influences, and peers. The new families, friends, and structure enabled them to start fresh and build toward a better future.
Both Casey and Kayla were standout-leaders on the athletic teams. Sports helped them overcome the distractions of things going on in their personal lives. They remained focused on being kids, not having to worry about things a teenager shouldn’t have to worry about.
Telling others that they grew up in a youth home left the impression of an institution. But Casey and Kayla always felt like “one of the family” in their Show-Me homes. Kayla said, “Special people invited me in to be part of their family. We still feel the comforts of “home” when we visit our Show-Me families. It’s still home to us.”
The Jones family now consists of Xavier, Jayda, and Elijah. Kayla is a registered nurse, Casey works with Culligan. They are active in their community and their church. Most importantly, they have broken the cycles from which they each came and lead lives that contribute greatly to our world.
Both of these honorees are very deserving. We are thankful to have the Rhoades and Jones families as a part of our Show-Me family!
Rescue and Restore
Rags to riches
Trash to treasure
Before & After
1 Samuel 16:7 – For the Lord sees not as Man sees, man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.
2Corinthians 5:17 – therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here!
It has been my pleasure to work with the kids in the past—months on some projects. We often receive donations of furniture. Some of the furniture is in good condition and other pieces have been discarded because they are flawed or their owner didn’t recognize the value or potential of the item. These have become some of my favorite pieces. With some sanding, stain, paint, knobs, patterns, and embellishments of all sorts we can make these pieces look like new.
We can parallel our lives with these unwanted pieces. Frequently we, and the kids we love here at Show-Me, feel inadequate, flawed beyond repair, unwanted, and hopeless. We fail to meet the expectations of others or the expectations of ourselves. We see ourselves as the world sees us, never measuring up.
At the beginning of the projects, the students look at their pieces, thinking, how is this ever going to look like anything that someone would actually want? Sometimes there is a stripping process that the furniture must go through before anything else can be done. This is often the case with people as well. When what we believe about ourselves is firmly attached to our identity, those beliefs must be stripped away before we can believe the truth about who we are, our value and our potential.
As the students set to work sanding and painting and adding personal touches, they begin to see it for more. They recognize the beauty beneath the rough exterior. Smiles take over their faces as they see hope for their rescued piece. They look at their creation with pleasure as they compare the drastic difference between before and after.
I am thankful that our Creator looks at us and sees more than we see. I am glad the things others have said about me and believe about me pale in comparison to what the God of the universe says and believes about me. He created us, who we are, for His exact purpose, and we no longer live in the confines of what used to be. We are a new creation. The old has gone and the new is here!
Broken pieces…changing our brokenness into a masterpiece.
Belinda Smith, houseparent.
Every year we plant a garden and my 5 year old girls love to help! This year the little girls and I planted by ourselves, chatting about how wonderful the veggies will be, and praying for God to send plenty of water for it to grow. I showed them how to step around the rows, not to smash the seeds and new plants. One of them, not wanting to disappointed me, followed along right behind me while I made a row and she picked up rocks. “Look mommy! I’m following in your footprints!” She had no idea how profound that statement was for me.
I shed a small tear and bent to kiss the top of her head. “Yes sweetie, you are.”
This little girl has had more heartache in 5 years than I’ve had my entire life. Witnessed more than she should, and dealt with the passing of her mother. I’ve had her for 3 years and she knows me as mommy. I took a step back that day to evaluate myself. If she’s following in my footprints, am I following in Jesus’ footprints? Am I walking the walk? Am I talking the talk? I want them to see a difference in us from the life they’ve left behind.
I sing a song for my dad on fathers day written by Mark Lowery
Thank you dad for showing me the father
I see his love in everything you do.
Like a clear reflection in the water
I’ve always seen the father in you.
My parents were an excellent example of Christs love and compassion. I want to strive to be worthy every day of my kids following in my footprints.
For many of the 2,000 children who have called Show-Me “home,” the path that brought them here was treacherous—one filled with neglect, fear, and uncertainty. Some have been homeless, some have parents in prison, and some of the kids got in trouble with the law themselves where Show-Me was their only alternative to juvenile detention. For others, their guardians’ just felt like Show-Me could provide them with a better life than they could on their own.
Jerrica’s journey is a fairly typical case. She joined our Show-Me family when she was 14 years old. By the time she reached our doors, she had been placed in home after home staying with countless faces. Nothing seemed to work out. “My whole life was a mess. Nobody wanted me. Nobody trusted me. I had burnt all my bridges,” remembers Jerrica.
The thought of graduation and a positive future seemed an unachievable goal. “I never believed I would make much of my life,” said Jerrica. “The idea of graduating in 2012 seemed a million years away. I kept telling myself that I was never going to make it. I should just give up and drop out now.”
Life at Show-Me wasn’t easy at first. Her rebellious attitude and distrust of everybody and everything made “fitting in” difficult. In her eyes, no one seemed to want her. Searching for acceptance, she acted out to try to be “strong” and “hard.” But, her Show-Me houseparents, Jeff and Jessica Weber, would not give up on her. They accepted her for who she was, not how she acted. She became a part of their family providing her with a structure and stability she never had before. That love and guidance changed Jerrica. She began to trust others and with that trust, slowly, came change.
Jerrica has now blossomed. She is active in her youth group, loves to help with the other kids on campus, and always has a smile on her face. She finished her studies early and will not only graduate, but receive her diploma with honors after managing a 3.5 GPA.
Our new Path-to-Purpose program has helped unite her passion for kids with a solid plan and set of resources. She has earned a number of scholarships and is working this summer at a nearby Christian camp to help with school expenses. She will start college in August at Central Christian College of the Bible in Moberly, Missouri working toward her degree in Elementary Education. She hopes to teach Second Grade and make a difference in children’s lives.
“I don’t like thinking of where I would be if it weren’t for God. Before, I dreaded each day. I didn’t know what I would do, who I would meet or where my mom would take me. Now I feel safe and secure,” exclaimed Jerrica. “For the first time, I am excited about the next part of my life and ready to get there. I know it is going to be a bright future and I know I have a huge family who always has my back!”
Shambrishia Jones appreciates her family more than words can say. She knows what a blessing they are, because she knows what it is like to be separated from your family and not have a place to call home.
Born to parents who were too young to care for her, she spent the first few years of her life with her grandparents. After five years, they decided it was time for her parents to be responsible for her and her three siblings. Her mom and dad struggled to provide any stability. She remembers, “we moved around a lot, living at homes of my aunts and uncles and with people we did not know. We lived in cars at times and were always going to lots of parties.”
In 1990, nine-year-old Shambrisha, her sister and brothers were placed in foster care. While she admits foster care may have taken her out of a dangerous situation, it also struggled to provide stability. None of the homes could accommodate her whole family, so she kept being separated from her sister and brothers.
“All the foster homes that we stayed in were short term — some were for a year, for others it was only months until we had to move to a different (foster) home and begin again,” said Shambrishia.
Six years and six different foster homes later, her case worker came to her with the news she had been waiting so long to hear. She had finally found her a place where she and her sister, Yoshi, could be together until they were grown. That place was Show-Me Christian Youth Home.
“When I first came to Show-Me I was scared, but also happy. I didn’t know where I was going to be or who I was going to live with, but I knew at least I was going to live with my sister.”
Shambrishia joined the Chaney family in Camdenton. “I finally had a safe, secure and stable, long-term home,” she recounts. After a year that stable home grew into a life-long family when Shambrishia and Yoshi were adopted by the Chaney family.
“Not only did Show-Me allow me to be a part of the Show -Me family, they also gave me a loving, caring, patient, understanding family to call my own.”
After graduating from high school, Shambrishia attended Ozark Christian College, and then returned to Show-Me to provide daycare for the little ones and serve as a relief houseparent. Miss Brishia is still remembered for her big smile, contagious laughter, joyful spirit, and a hug for all the children that spent time in her home. “I wanted to show each of these kids the love of God just as I experienced it growing up here,” she said.
In 2008, God spread that love across the United States when she married Derrick Jones and moved to Maryland to start a family of her own. Their family grew and now includes a daughter, Alayna. Miss Brishia continues to help children at a local public school as an Additional Adult Assistant for children with autism.
“I learned from Show-Me how to be patient with people and make sure I show them that I care about them,” said Shambrishia. “What impacted me the most was the love that Show-Me has for each child no matter where you came from, what brought you to Show-Me, your race or disability. Show-Me accepted me and showed me love — God’s love. As a child that made me feel safe, secure and stable. It showed me that everything was going to be okay. That is what I needed.”