By: Julie Dermody | Category: Other | Issue: July 2007
Connie Kelley, Kay Skaggs and Micki DeYong from Bethel Baptist Church attend a previous OBHC Back-to-School Style Show.
Oklahoma’s land rush brought many settlers to Indian territory. The frontier was difficult, and only the strongest survived. Sometimes parents died, leaving behind small children. In 1903, the Reverend J.A. Scott recognized that some of these abandoned children were in need of basic necessities: shelter, food and love. Thus they began the early formations for what is now Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children. Since 1903, the organization, known as OBHC, has had more than 10,000 children pass through its doors. It continues to serve children without government funding.
“As we celebrate our state’s centennial, OBHC is proud to have been a part of Oklahoma history,” says Donna Brooks, regional development coordinator for OBHC. “Throughout an eventful century, we have grown, changed and evolved in order to meet the needs of those we serve.”
OBHC is celebrating the Oklahoma Centennial “in style” with its Back-to-School Style Show and Brunch on August 4. The event, held at 10:30 a.m. at the Renaissance Hotel in Tulsa, promises to highlight the best in school trends and fashions.
Attendees will be delighted with the event’s commentary by LeAnne Taylor of KOTV Channel 6 and guest speaker Kim Whiteley. Whiteley, the current principal of Union Public Schools’ McAuliffe Elementary, is a former resident of OBHC’s Owasso campus. Whiteley and her siblings all lived at OBHC from 1975 to 1980. At the event, Whiteley will speak about her past and tell stories of both struggles and triumphs as a child in the OBHC.
A child models at an OBHC Back-to-School Style Show.
“This year’s event will offer opportunities to reflect on our rich heritage, as well as celebrate a bright future for OBHC and our state,” Brooks says. The price for the event is only $15 and includes brunch. Advance purchase is required and can be made by calling (918) 272-2233.
According to Steve Singleterry, OBHC administrator, OBHC’s Owasso campus serves approximately 80 children each year. He says, “Sometimes the children will come with a paper sack holding all of their belongings. Before the day is over, we take them shopping for clothes. We feel that it is very important for the kids to feel like they belong somewhere. We don’t want them to feel singled out as ‘children’s home kids.’ “
Clothing 80 children each year can be expensive. Each child receives three sets of school clothes and one set of church clothes. “We spend $450 to $500 on each child,” Singleterry says. Fundraising for the organization begins each summer through fundraising letters and a paper doll program. Sunday school classes each adopt a paper doll to clothe. As money is collected, the dolls’ wardrobes grow larger. To fully clothe a paper doll takes about $200.
Children staying at Oklahoma Baptist Homes are there for many reasons. Some have been orphaned, abandoned or neglected. They may come from families that are dealing with divorce, alcohol or drug abuse, sickness, death, financial difficulties or parents in prison. No matter what their situations are, these children need to know they are worthwhile and loved. The Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children provide the love, guidance and encouragement these children need.
Register today for the Back-to-School Style Show and Brunch. Check out the latest trends in children’s fashions, enjoy a delicious brunch and help out children in need.