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School for girls may be built

March 10, 1999|By DAVE McMILLION, Charles Town

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - A school for young girls with behavioral problems due to abuse may be on its way to reality thanks to a donation from a Hagerstown firm.

Phoenix Color Corp. donated more than $44,000 to help Eagles' Wings buy teaching equipment, hire workers and pay for fees and licenses to start up its school, said Jeannie Hellem, coordinator of the project.

But Phoenix Color wanted other people in the community help in the fund raising, so the company made the grant contingent on others providing an equal amount of money to the school, said Hellem.

Hellem wants to build the school on a farm off Opequon Lane in Kearneysville. Original plans were to put the school in an old dairy barn on the farm, but it was later determined that would be impractical, said Hellem.

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Hellem now wants to build a new barn-like structure for the school, which will cost about $1 million.

Hellem got the idea for Eagles' Wings after working with children she encountered at Children's Home Society near Martinsburg. The home is were children are sent to escape abusive situations.

In the case of sexual or emotional abuse, girls often begin showing behavior problems in later years as a result, Hellem said. Although the behavior problems are usually diagnosed successfully, the underlying situations that caused the behavior are not usually addressed, she said.

That's where Eagles' Wings comes in.

The program, one or two years long depending on how far behind in school the girls are, will stress education and religion. Courses will range from life skills such as balancing a checkbook to creative courses such as photography or flower arranging.

"We were really sold by it and thought it was a good program," said Amy Smith, marketing and commucations manager for Phoenix Color Corp.

Those who which to make contributions to Eagles' Wings may send them to Route 2, Box 286, Kearneysville, WV 25430.

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