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New children's home to be built

June 05, 2000|By MARLO BARNHART

BOONSBORO, Md. - Asked to pick a song that would suit the theme for a new children's home adjacent to the Tri-State Church of God, Eric Cooper wrote one instead.

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"I wrote 'What About The Children' because it just seemed to come into my heart," Cooper said at Monday's groundbreaking ceremony for Tri-State Home for Children Inc.

Accompanied by Tracy Cline, he sang the song as pastors, elected officials, youth advocates and volunteers gathered to take the first step toward making the $1 million home for up to 24 young people a reality.

The inspiration came from the congregation of Tri-State Church of God, 7605 Old National Pike.

The mission is to provide a shelter care and a group home for underprivileged, neglected, abused and problem children, according to Gary Reeder, executive director of the home.

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Boys and girls between the ages of 11 and 14 will be eligible for placement at Tri-State Home for Children. Children with substance abuse problems as well as emotional and behavioral needs will also find shelter there.

The goal is to return these children to family life in the community while giving them an understanding of their personal worth and dignity.

"This home will touch the lives of so many," said the Rev. Jerry Price, a member of the board of directors. "God is putting this together with community support."

Shelleen Reeder said she is working with her husband to do what she can to see that the mission becomes a reality.

The Boonsboro church has provided the land for the 12,000-square-foot building and secured the loan for the building project. The corporation will lease the home from the church, according to Shelleen Reeder.

"The home won't be church-run ... rather it will be faith-based," she said.

With construction beginning immediately, the group home is expected to be completed in the fall.

Among those attending Monday's groundbreaking were U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-6th; representatives from the offices of U.S. Sens. Paul Sarbanes and Barbara Mikulski; Del. Chris Shank, R-Washington County; and Washington County Commissioner Paul Swartz.

Like other group homes in Maryland, the state will contract to place children at Tri-State Home for Children, according to Ken Davis, one of the supporters of the home.

Children will be referred by agencies, through court intervention and at times when a child must be removed from a home setting.

Shelleen Reeder said love will be uppermost at the home. "After all, you cannot change a heart without love," she said.

Eric Cooper's composition took that a step further as he sang of the home being a shelter from the storm.

For more information, call 301-416-2988.

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