The Center for Children

Building Young Lives: The Center for Children at The Village at Washington Terrace

When developers asked Washington Terrace stakeholders what they wanted to see in the re-envisioning and reconstruction of their historic Raleigh community, quality childcare topped the list. For a year planners listened to the community’s hopes and dreams, and when they wrote the masterplan, it included a childcare center along with affordable family and senior apartments.

Methodist Home for Children has been chosen to open and operate The Center for Children.

Early childhood care has been a strategic priority for us since we opened the five-star Jordan Child & Family Enrichment Center in 2001. With inclusive classrooms that blend children with diverse abilities, ethnicities, and family incomes, the Jordan Center is known for building emotional and social skills in preschoolers and readying them for kindergarten. The center’s acclaim has drawn educators from around the world to observe our classrooms in action.

We don’t bring bricks. We don’t bring mortar. We don’t have two-by-fours. But we are builders nonetheless. We are about the business of building young lives.

– MHC President / CEO Bruce Stanley (center right) at groundbreaking

When we open The Center for Children in 2019, we will replicate our early childhood program with slots for up to 75 children, ages 6 weeks to 5 years. At least 51% of enrollees will be referred from NC Pre-K or receive a subsidy, and parent education and support also will be available.

Our investment in the project requires $1 million in private gifts to upfit the center and fund programs for the first three years of operation. At that point, the center is expected to be cost-neutral, with expenses offset by the families paying tuition and the subsidies invested through existing partnerships.

Washington Terrace was built in 1950 as the city’s first rental community for African American middle-class families and professionals. It was once home to many local public figures and civic leaders, and it retains a strong sense of community, history, and pride for former and current residents. Nonprofit developer DHIC purchased the property in 2014 to preserve housing affordability for families and seniors with limited incomes. The Village at Washington Terrace will include new construction of a community center, community garden, 162 apartments, and The Center for Children. Booker Park North at Washington Terrace will include 72 senior apartments with a business center, library, and covered outdoor space.

Sponsors & patrons

Thanks to all who supported Methodist Home for Children through A Winter’s Tale 2018.


Edenton Street UMC Missions
Golden Corral Corporation
House of Raeford Farms, Inc.


Brown Advisory
Barbara and Don Curtis
Hayes Barton UMC Missions
James & Mildred Wilkinson Trust
Jordan Lumber Company
Principal Financial Group


Apex UMC Family
Sen. Tamara Barringer and Brent Barringer
Lee and Jim Black
Rachel and Albert Blackmon
Business Protection Specialists, Inc.
Capitol Broadcasting Company, Inc.
Molly and John Chiles
Marnie and Jerod Cohen
Susan and Gary Dorton
Kathy and Ron Falk
First United Methodist Church – Cary
Lynn and Art Guy
HCW Employee Benefit Services
Hamilton Point Investment Advisors, LLC
Hayes Barton United Methodist Women
Joseph C. Woodard Printing Company
KDI Capital Partners
Britt and Phil Macnabb
Debbie and Larry Mann
Becky and Toby McNeill
Richard K. Miller Jr.
Mary Cynthia and Jerry Monday
Mutual of America
Progress Printing
The Qualls Family
Jenny and Erik Ross
Saint Andrews United Methodist
Kids On A Mission
Susan and Gray Southern
Ellen and Bill Stewart
Amy and Kevin Strom
Martha K. Walston
Wells Fargo
White Plains Children’s Center
White Plains UMC
Williams Overman Pierce, LLP
Young Moore and Henderson, PA


Dwight Alford, CEI BB&T
Barbara and Lanier Cansler
Carolina Complete Health
Sara and Rick Dail
Enterprise Fleet Management
Beth and Marc Fath
Clarissa and Marcus Green
Guardian Capital Advisors, mike Hensley
Ann and Joe Mann
Debbie and Larry Mann
Liz and Chris McClure
Laurie and Gene Merlo
Julie Murphy
Newcomb and Company
North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church
Martha Peele Family
Piedmont Service Group
Kimrey and Greg Rhinehardt
Nelle and Stuart Schantz
Freddie and Ron Schrimper
Spangler Restoration
State Farm, Carmen Ritz
Maria Hammond Tuttle and Brian Tuttle
Jessica Vickers
Cynthia and Bart White
Sally and Jim Williford

Guardian Angels 2018

These are the people and organizations that have made extraordinary gifts to support the work of Methodist Home for Children

Sherry and Jeff Forbes are the parents of four, and they live in Wake Forest. Both are deeply committed to their faith journey and they see their giving as a way of supporting God’s work in the world. In 2005 they made their first gift to Methodist Home for Children. A few years later, Jeff began mentoring a young man who was aging out of foster care. It was a natural connection for him, having grown up in small rural churches and hearing about the work of Methodist Home for Children. His father was a Methodist minister and passed on to his sons a heart for giving back. Jeff’s brother, Joe, founded The Forbes Foundation, which was inducted six years ago into the Guardian Angel Society.

House of Raeford Farms signed on as a sponsor for this event 12 years ago – and thus began a generous record of support for Methodist Home for Children. President / CEO Bob Johnson and his late father, Marvin Johnson, built the business into one of the nation’s 10 largest chicken producers. Along the way, they also built a strong tradition of giving back to the communities where they operate. The Johnsons are members of Rose Hill United Methodist Church and they run House of Raeford as a family enterprise, with four generations working in the business and contributing everywhere from the boardroom to the hatcheries.

White Plains United Methodist Church held its first service in the auditorium of Cary High School in August 1961. The church, like the town, has grown rapidly since then – and today welcomes more than 600 people at three Sunday services – including one in Spanish. Living into its mission as a disciple-making church for Christ, White Plains has supported Methodist Home for years with faithful donations. These have come from the Advent, Pathfinders, and Searchers Sunday school classes – the United Methodist Men and Women – and from congregational offerings. White Plains’ missional focus on children also extends to its five-star childcare center. It opened 35 years ago as one of the first preschools in the country to place children with typical and atypical needs together in the same classroom. The church is proud that Bishop Hope Morgan Ward was one of the leading organizers as a White Plains staff member at that time. Today, the children’s center continues to operate within the church and serves families with expertise and compassion.

Watch Over You

When you walk, they will guide you;
when you sleep, they will watch over you;
when you awake, they will speak to you. – Proverbs 6:22

If we apply this verse to parenting, Michelle and Mark would probably suggest adding “when you fall, they will catch you,” because “Trust Fall” is their youngest daughter’s favorite game.

“Out of nowhere, she’ll just dive out of your arms,” Mark says. “And when you catch her, even if it’s upside down inches from the floor, she giggles and says, ‘That was awesome!’ ”

Pretty remarkable considering Anna and her sister, Mary, have many reasons not to trust.

This family came together a year ago when the girls were ages 3 and 4. Living with their biological parents was no longer an option – that home had become violent – and the girls had been in foster care for over a year.

They needed a long-term plan and Michelle and Mark were ready to adopt. The four met, the girls moved in; no one looked back. Eleven months later, their adoption was finalized.

Anna and Mary have a home today – and you had a part in making that happen.

Because of your gifts, Michelle and Mark had already gone through our rigorous training, and they knew how to love children through grief and trust issues. Because of your gifts, we already knew they would be the awesome parents these two girls needed.

Every day, we care for over 400 children who have sweeping and complex needs. Some, like Anna and Mary, are foster children in search of a home. Some have mental health diagnoses and developmental disabilities and need specialized classrooms and care. Others come through the juvenile court system and need a place to change their behaviors, catch up in school, and set new goals for themselves.

We receive every one of these children with God’s grace and we use all of our resources to guide, watch, and catch them. When you make a gift to Methodist Home for Children, you give children a home, a reason to trust, and the healing power of love.

First Chance Auction

Get your friends together for a bidding strategy on these live auction items. They’ll go quickly May 31 at First Chance for White Pants!

Bob Garner Cooks for You

Author, TV personality, and pit-master Bob Garner donates his acclaimed cooking and storytelling skills. Bob will prepare and deliver a traditional barbecue meal for 30, and he’ll serve it with a side of stories from his culinary adventures around the state.

Donated by Bob Garner


Emerald Isle Beach Week

Choose your week (10.03.18 – 03.23.19) and your getaway:

  • Oceanfront Breezy, with 5 bedrooms and 5 1/2 baths – see details
  • Soundside Batten the Breeze, with 4 bedrooms and 3 baths – see details
Donated by Emerald Isle Realty + gift basket by Swansboro United Methodist Church


Harkers Island Bungalow

Three options: 3-night stay, 4-night stay, or get them both for a week-long stay.

Choose your favorite time of year – and double your days for free if you book in the off-season (November – March):

 Donated by Brad and Suzanne Williams

Foster & Adopt

Wake and Pitt counties | Are you interested in fostering or adopting?

We have information sessions to answer your questions about fostering and adopting through Methodist Home for Children.

RSVP is required: Call 888.305.4321, ext.6, or email

On the agenda:
•  What it means to be a foster parent.
•  What the training & licensing process is all about.
•  What types of children are referred to our foster care / adoption program.
•  Dates for our next MAPP training class.

•  MHC Administrative Headquarters, 1041 Washington Street, Raleigh 27605
•  St. James UMC, 2000 E. 6th Street, Library (in building behind playground), Greenville 27858

•  May 16, Raleigh; 6:30 to 8 p.m.
•  May 22, Greenville; 6:30 to 8 p.m.

•  June 11, Greenville; 6:30 to 8 p.m.
•  June 20, Raleigh; 6:30 to 8 p.m.

•  July 9, Greenville; 6:30 to 8 p.m.
•  July 18, Raleigh; 6:30 to 8 p.m.

•  Aug. 2, Raleigh; 6:30 to 8 p.m.
•  Aug. 13, Greenville; 6:30 to 8 p.m.

•  Sept. 10, Greenville; 6:30 to 8 p.m.
•  Sept. 12, Raleigh; 6:30 to 8 p.m.

•  Oct. 1, Greenville; 6:30 to 8 p.m.
•  Oct. 17, Raleigh; 6:30 to 8 p.m.

•  Nov. 13, Raleigh; 6:30 to 8 p.m.

•  Dec. 4, Raleigh; 6:30 to 8 p.m.
•  Dec. 10, Greenville; 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Remember to RSVP!

Schmidt Family

Susan and Kevin are parents of Samuel, 14,  Jacob, 18, and Emily, 16 – and they’re just about to finalize the adoptions of their youngest two, ages 4 and 5, in June. They’’ll share their story of fostering, and how two preschoolers, a brother and a sister, forever changed their lives.

Join us May 31 in Greenville at First Chance for White Pants and hear what they have to say.

The Stephensons

When instinct might tell other people to lock their doors, James and Carolyn Stephenson open theirs.

They’re therapeutic foster parents with Methodist Home for Children, caring for runaways, gang-affiliated teens or whoever else comes to them through the juvenile justice system. They teach big life lessons like right vs. wrong, pick your friends wisely, value yourself — as well as basics like take a shower, ask permission, knock before entering, hold your fork properly.

They do it all with grace, humor and a toughness that’s served them in their own lifetimes, growing up in rural farming communities in the 1950s. Read their back story

Therapeutic Foster Care

Their first foster child was 15 years old, just one day into her stay with the Stephensons, when they caught her heading out the back door with two kitchen knives stashed in her pants. “She was in a terrible place when we got her,” Carolyn says, and she had a history of running away.

James made the girl a deal in that moment, speaking just above a whisper: “OK. Nobody is going to hurt you. Here’s what we’re going to do. You’re going to give me something, and I’m going to give you something. What I’m going to give you is your freedom. We’re not going to call the cops. And you’re going to give me those knives.”

The persuading took more than an hour, but the girl finally laid the knives on the counter, and James put them away. The police never came, and trust sprouted in the heart of a suspicious child.

A few months later, the same girl was grinning in the Stephenson’s Christmas portrait, all of them wearing matching red sweaters, and the following summer, she vacationed with them at Virginia Beach for the first time. She lived with them for two years, and she never ran away from their home or approached the knife drawer without permission.

Since then, James and Carolyn have gone on foster about 20 court-involved children, getting to know each person’s likes and dislikes, showing them a wider world. They go to church, to restaurants, to ECU football games or Carolina Panthers games, and Carolyn makes their favorite comfort foods.

Generally, it takes six months to a year to build a bond with a child in foster care, says Erica Burgess, director of foster care & adoption, but the Stephensons can do it in three months. They don’t take it personally when someone messes up, and they have a gift for connecting with teens and their families, even years after they’ve left. “I tell them, you’re not done with us when you go home,” James says. “We’re going to be there. If I have to drive there to see you, I’m going to be there.”

The Stephensons will always take that 2 a.m. phone call when a teen is in trouble and doesn’t know what to do. They’ll also know which kid likes Chinese food and make sure he gets it on his birthday.

And that girl with the kitchen knives? She’s married now and the mother of two children. They talk every few days, and last weekend, they joined her at a surprise party for her mother-in-law.

“We are so proud of that one,” James says. “I tell you that.”

Their Back Story

“I tell the kids, ‘You’re just as good as that person over there,’ ” Carolyn says. “ ‘We’re all created equal. You can get the same thing that someone else has got.’ ”

These words no doubt have been spoken before by other adults, but James and Carolyn speak from experience.

James was the oldest of seven, living in a place and time when water fountains were segregated, front doors were for white people only and job prospects were mostly about working tobacco. He was “different,” curious about the world and unwilling to settle, and he told his mother he had to get out of rural Pitt County. He joined every high school activity he could, including a singing group that took him on tour out of state. He entered the Army at age 18 and left North Carolina in 1969, working as a pharmacy technician and seeing the world (Korea, Thailand, Japan, Hawaii and 30 other U.S. states). He spent 12 years in the military and raised three children with his former wife before coming back to North Carolina after his mother’s death in 2000. His work with juvenile offenders began when he was certified in 2002 to work in a group home and mentor troubled teens.

When James met Carolyn in 2004, she also was working with kids in trouble — middle-schoolers serving in-school suspension in Pitt County. She was their daytime mother, therapist, seamstress or whatever else they needed, and she had a huge heart for them, knowing many went home to struggling families. It was a theme from Carolyn’s own childhood, growing up the youngest of five kids who lost their father not long after she was born. Her mother worked harvesting and processing tobacco, so her older siblings took care of her and did chores on their grandfather’s farm. When she was in first grade, her teacher approached her mother and asked to keep Carolyn over the summer break. Her mother must have been relieved, she says, because she said OK. Carolyn remembers riding a tricycle up and down the sidewalks of Greenville that happy summer with her teacher. “She carried me to church, fixed my hair, put ribbons in my hair.” Afterward, she returned to the farm and “country life” without seeing the inside of a supermarket until she was 13. As an adult, she found herself struggling as her own mother had — a single mother of four, living in subsidized housing, surrounded by people who didn’t work. She wanted to do better, so she asked social services to help her go back to school. She did, and she went on to earn honor roll grades and a degree in human services.

James and Carolyn both knew they’d found a kindred spirit 12 years ago when they were introduced through church, and they were married on Aug. 27, 2005. In 2010, they became licensed as therapeutic foster parents and opened their home to kids in the juvenile justice system.


Chad – above, with his library mentors Sarah Watson, Shirley Miller, Marrice Cain, Jeanette Richardson, Hattie Vines, and Beverly Underdue

– and, right, with vocational specialist LaVerne Vick

Who do you see?

library assistant, jewelry maker, future coach –

Chad is 16 years old. He loves sports, and he wants to work in a helping profession.

Coaching is his dream job. Library assisting is his first step.

Chad came to our vocational education program last summer to work with specialist LaVerne Vick on his decision-making skills. When it was time for him to practice what he’d learned, LaVerne made an unlikely match for him. She called on Jeanette Richardson and Beverly Underdue – founders of the local public library.

In a town of 956 people, Jeanette and Beverly operate the library entirely on volunteer power, and they agreed to interview Chad for a position. A couple of weeks later, with their blessing, he started as the library’s new assistant – and he found himself reporting to a volunteer team of grandmother figures. “They were wonderful,” he says. “They understand me. I felt at home.”

For them, Chad inventoried and shelved books. He built tables and chairs. He hooked up the VCR and diagrammed the connections.

He helped children find books and toys. He helped elderly visitors work the computers.

He even helped the 4 p.m. jewelry-making class thread glass beads – and discovered his own knack for creating bracelets. He made one for LaVerne and for each of the library ladies as Christmas gifts.

Chad earned references for his next job, and he achieved what we wish for all who come into our care. He found his strengths – the best in himself – and he began to build on them. We are excited to see what Chad does next as he pursues his dreams.

See Chad and his mentors – together here