The North Carolina Mason

May/June 2021

North Carolina Mason

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May/June 2021 The North Carolina Mason Page 7 WICKER, from page 5 NAILS, from page 4 Seeing a change in how tradi- tional orphanage facilities were being viewed by the state, the board of directors of the MHCO applied for licensure and in 2002 received a license for institutional child care from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. Since then, the home has received national accreditation by the Council on Accreditation. e Home has since maintained its license and accreditation. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the "orphanage" care model began to fall out of favor. Trying to stay ahead of anticipated change in the desired care model, in 2003 construction was completed on seven new resi- dences, allowing the home to transi- tion into the family-based model of care that is used today. Under this model, children live in a home with a child-care-worker couple. Each child has his or her own individual room and meals are taken together as they would in a traditional family setting. Today, the Home offers residential care for minor children and an inde- pendent living program for children who have graduated high school, but are not yet ready to move out on their own. In addition, at its most recent board meeting in May, the board voted to create and staff a third care model: a transitional living program for children who are becoming the age of majority, but are not yet mature enough to move into inde- pendent living. is care model will allow them to continue to mature under the supervision of a child-care couple, while developing the skills to move into an independent living setting. Since its creation, the home has cared for more than 12,000 children. Today, we have no children orphaned by war. But 150 years after its creation, there are still children in need. Children who are homeless from causes other than war. Chil- dren who are in a dangerous and unstable living environment, facing physical and emotional trauma. During the majority of my Masonic career, Masonry was some- thing I did on the third Monday of every month. My wife knew a little about Masonry, but she considered it "my thing." Prior to the quarterly board meetings at the MHCO, the board will often have dinner together, sometimes in the cottages with the children. One such occasion was the first opportunity my wife had to directly interact with the children. As we were talking during dinner, a child suddenly stopped, looked at me and asked "Do you know who my daddy is?" I said no, I don't believe I do. He looked down and said, "Me either. I never met my dad." Overcome by emotion, my wife redirected her attention to another child at the table. She turned to him and said, "I heard you say you have 2 names. Is one your first name the other your middle name?" He said "No. e first name is my birth name and the second is my adopted name. But neither of my parents wanted me anymore. at's why I am here." At this point, she struggled to hold back her tears. e need for the MHCO is as great today as it has ever been. e Home exists to provide a stable, caring, loving home that some chil- dren have never experienced. Each child is provided the opportunity to complete their primary education. In recent years, the graduation rate has been 100 percent. After high school, transitioning into the Independent Living Program allows children to continue their education or learn a skill or trade by attending Vance Granville Community College. For those who want to continue their education, the Home helps them in obtaining an undergraduate degree, master's degree and in at least one case I know of, obtaining a Ph.D. Despite the Covid pandemic, in 2021, we have a young woman graduating from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and three young ladies graduating from high school. Today, the goal of the Masonic Home for Children remains the same as it was 150 years ago: To teach, guide and nurture children, helping each child to determine his or her own path for the future. is goal can be accomplished only with the help of every Mason in North Carolina. e challenges we face today are not new. In 1873, the Grand Lodge adopted a resolution that required each subordinate lodge to have a committee on the Masonic Home for Children and "that the support of the Orphan Asylum be a regular order of business in each subordi- nate Lodge at each communication." at practice continues today. I offer a two-part challenge to each Masonic Lodge and to every Mason in North Carolina. First, visit your Children's Home. Come to Oxford and see for yourself the work that is being done. After traveling across North Carolina, no one appreciates the size of this state more than the Grand Master. Visiting the home at least one time is not such a burden that cannot be endured. I encourage you to bring your wives and children to our Home. Let them experience first- hand the good you do. Second, support your Children's Home financially. e amount of support does not matter. As long as we all offer such support as our cable tows will allow. Our home is not blessed with a permanent endow- ment. But if we all do a little, a lot will be accomplished. Without the support of the Masons in North Carolina, we would not be able to continue caring for children as we have done for almost 150 years. As you continue on your Masonic journey through life, remember to reflect upon the question of "What came you here to do." e answer to that question can help determine the future of tomorrow's children. restrictions remain in place, and lodges are busy just trying to get back to regular business again. I'm not sure what the answer is to how lodges can find workable ways to support our Masonic charities as well as local groups in need, while dealing with all the other present- day issues facing the Craft. Nobody knows for sure. But I do know that good minds are working on it. So blessings be on the heads of the brothers who try, the brothers who don't mind looking a little silly if it saves a life or two, the brothers who are willing to give from their hearts … while painting their toes. The Grand Lodge Eagle Scout Task Force has developed a patch to recognize Eagle Scouts. The patches will be presented to Scouts who have recently earned the Eagle Scout rank, along with a certificate and letter from the Grand Master. The task force has decided that every patch will be personally presented by a Mason to ensure that the Eagle Scout has some understanding and impression of Masonry. A short ceremony has been created for use in presentations and can be provided for use. If your District or Lodge would like to host a recognition ceremony, or you would like to present patches to a specific Scout you know at a Court of Honor, please e-mail and we will work with you to get everything set up. To purchase a patch, visit Patches are $11 and proceeds above cost will go to the Masonic Home for Children at Oxford. Order online and an invoice will arrive in the mail.

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