By TRAVIS MORSE firstname.lastname@example.org
---- — MT. VERNON — The United Methodist Children's Home will honor its 100th anniversary Sept. 28 with a special centennial celebration.
All are invited to attend the festive event, which will feature campus tours, carnival games, live music, hayrides, food, an alumni reception, and much more.
“It's a way to celebrate with everyone we've come in contact with,” said Bobby Mooney, spiritual life and volunteer coordinator at UMCH. “Anybody that has an interest or investment in the children's home, we're hoping they can make time to be part of that day.”
The UMCH Friends and Family Centennial Celebration will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. Sept. 28 at the home's main campus, 2023 Richview Road in Mt. Vernon. Admission is free, but there will be vendors on hand selling food.
Mooney said the goal of the event is to provide a “fun, family atmosphere” for the public to learn more about UMCH.
The campus tours, in particular, should be of great interest to local residents who may not be familiar with all of the home's programs, Mooney said.
“I feel like it's somewhat of a rare opportunity,” Mooney said of the campus tours. “The main hope for us is they feel connected to the mission and the ministry here. … It's really just about connecting with people.”
Kay Zibby-Damron, vice president of operations for UMCH, said the celebration will be beneficial to alumni and the general public alike.
Those who lived at the home as a child will have the chance to come back and see how the facility has changed and how it's remained the same, Zibby-Damron said.
And newcomers to the home will get a glimpse of just how large the scope is of UMCH's work, she said.
“We want to share more about who we are,” Zibby-Damron said.
Most of the young people staying at the UMCH main campus are teenagers in the care of the Department of Children and Family Services. This includes teens in the home's residential treatment program and those in the transitional living program.
The residential treatment program is for children and young adults struggling with behavioral issues, traumatic childhood events, and other difficulties.
“We're taking care of their physical, spiritual, and emotional needs,” Mooney said.
In addition, UMCH has a number of off-campus programs, including outpatient counseling, day care, foster care, and a program that helps at-risk mothers.
The residential treatment and transitional living programs serve about 65 young people a year, but UMCH programs as a whole touch the lives of upwards of 1,000 people annually, Zibby-Damron said.
Several area churches and groups are helping UMCH with the activities and games at the centennial celebration. Music will be provided by the Rivers of Life Band.
For more information on the event, visit the UMCH website at www.umchome.org/events.