“We are like one, big family here,” the director of the Connie Maxwell Children’s Home (Adams Campus) said. “These kids, like all teenagers, have their “teen moments” but they are a unique group. We all get along well and the girls know where their inner strength comes from, which is God,” said Swinton.
The South Carolina Baptist Convention, other local churches and organizations, as well as private donations support CMCH. Founded as an orphanage in 1892, it has grown to what it is today and holds only a small percentage of the “true orphanage” children. According to its history, to date, 16,000 children have been served through Connie Maxwell residential programs since it has received its first child into its care.
In addition, at least 350 children and families are assisted annually with residential, nonresidential and other referral services. School-age children and youth enter the Home through various avenues such as the church, family, referral services and the Department of Social Services referrals.
“Pre-school children are referred for family foster care and those who qualify are sent to college through a college-funded program. We currently have 13 recent graduates of the program who now are attending various colleges in South Carolina,” said Ben Davis, president of Connie Maxwell Children’s Home.
“Some children may have been abandoned, abused or neglected. However, in spite of what each child may have been through, they receive love and care in a Christian environment here,” stressed Swinton. “We teach our girls about Christian values, which is centered around worship, learning and mission opportunities provided through various local churches,” Swinton said. She added that there are five other CMCH satellite locations widespread throughout the state. They are all single gender facilities. Each provides a cottage parent on the site and is supervised and protected 24/7.
Carolyn McMillon, who holds a degree in nutrition and childcare and Cynthia Atkinson, who has a Masters of Social Work Degree, are additional staff members at the Adams Campus in Chesterfield.
The South Carolina Baptist Convention financially supports the ministry, which includes programs in Chesterfield, Florence, Mauldin, Orangeburg, Summerville and Greenwood.
“The purpose of the Home is to enable children and families to improve their broken or difficult relationships and to meet their physical, social and emotional needs in ways that are in keeping with the teaching of Jesus Christ,” Swinton said. “We have two devotionals daily, either with a video and also prayer time.”
Aside from the normal activities in the Home, the group also attends the Cheraw Fitness Center at least three times a week. They are also active in the Chesterfield County for Jesus Team.
“Not only do we teach them about Christ but also encourage them to keep healthy by working out regularly. They stay busy with other learning activities such as taking piano lessons and playing golf,” Swintonsaid.
Swinton is in the process of coordinating several upcoming events for the girls, which she said they are looking forward to.
Swinton, McMillon and Atkinson said they all feel blessed to be in a job where they are able to help these children and will continue to be there for them.
“This is home to me as well because I love what I do. I love these kids. When they move on one day, I won’t ever forget them and any new children coming into the Home, I’m sure will also be a huge part of me,” said Swinton.
For more information or to learn about the CMCH volunteer program, call Vernelle Swinton at the Adams Campus at 843-623-5177 or fax to 843-623-5179.