Greeneville, TN

Raising Youth with New Goals for the Family Sets Greeneville's Holston Home Apart

John M. Dabbs

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Holston United Methodist Home for Children - Greeneville, TennesseeHolston Home for Children/Facebook

Home for children

Children and families in East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia are served by many non-profit organizations aiming to help children and families. The Holston Home for Children in Greeneville serves families and children in Southwest Virginia, Northeast Tennessee, and beyond.

They provide foster care services and primarily serve teens and sibling groups. President & CEO Bradley Williams says they are always searching for more families to join the foster care ministry as foster parents.

They also provide adoption services, home studies programs, and post-placement reports for all types of adoption. The Home has an international adoption program with the Republic of the Philippines.

The facility is unable to house children over 18 in the dorms, as they are legally an adult. Kent Bewley tells us the Holston Home maintains 12 condos off-site for those over 18. The "legal adults" pay $100 per week for their room and board, which covers all utilities. When they complete schooling and graduate, they get all of the funds they've paid for their room and board back - as a reward for their diligence and hard work.

Board member interview

In an unscheduled meeting with Kent Bewley at Greeneville’s City Garage Car Museum, I learned he sits on the board of directors of the Holston Home for Children in Greeneville. Bewley tells me that someone in his family has been on the Home's board of directors since 1956.

Bewley says their last commencement graduated 22 children. He says many of these were the first to graduate high school in their family. He compares the dorm rooms and facilities for the children as being high-end - almost like the kids are on vacation.

Bewley says the children are put in a better place than where they came from, so they'll be comfortable and well cared for while their family has an opportunity to get back on track. Bewley says the parents shape up, or the kids don't go back home. Bewley says even though the kids are in nice living conditions, they'd rather be at home if their parents are in shape to look after them and care for them properly.

Bewley says while they're at the Holston United Methodist Home for Children, they are well cared for, and the Home teaches them its core values. As the group is affiliated with the Methodist Church, he says the ACLU is suing them for imparting their beliefs to the children.

Bradley Williams is the new director of the Holston Home. Bewley says he is a brilliant guy, and he believes he is very capable of running the facility.

History

Holston United Methodist Home for Children was founded in 1895. That is when the widow E.E. Wiley took in her first homeless child. The Home has helped more than 8,000 children since its founding.

Holston Home is affiliated with the Holston Conference of the United Methodist Church. More than 873 United Methodist Churches in Northern Georgia, Western North Carolina, and Eastern Tennessee make up the Holston Conference.

Holston Home sits on 155 acres in Greeneville, Tennessee. Its service locations use 170 employees in Greeneville, Johnson City, Knoxville, Chattanooga, and Bristol, Virginia, for its ministry of helping children. The organization aims to help children and families overcome hardship. If the children can't live at home, Holston Home provides one.

The goal is to do what's best for children. This may be reuniting a child with family, adoption, or helping them transition to being an adult. The Home's professional staff works to strengthen families and help the children overcome hardships and emotional trauma they might have experienced.

The Holston Home attributes its success to the support they receive from the churches of the Methodist Holston Conference, donors, and supporters, which help make its mission possible. They credit the wonderful stakeholders in the community for their continued success.

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An outdoor enthusiast with a passion for travel and adventure. John is a professional consultant and photojournalist.

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