It began more than 50 years ago as a home for young men struggling with family issues. Now it is a place where abused or neglected boys and girls can get the care and education they need to succeed. Because of what it has accomplished over the years, the Boys and Girls Homes of North Carolina is one of this year's UNCW Razor Walker Award winners. Nestled beneath the pecan trees, a stone's throw from the waters of Lake Waccamaw, is the Boys and Girls Homes of North Carolina. For more than 50 years the group home has been a haven for abused and neglected children. “They don't believe in themselves much at all,” said Boys and Girls Homes CEO Gary Faircloth. “Our greatest charge, challenge, is to take a child who has been that for so long, and in short time with us, make them feel good about themselves.” Business and civic leaders opened the home for boys in 1954. In 1979 it became a Boys and Girls home and in 1998, the home started a foster care program. So far, 3,500 children have come through its doors, including Gary Faircloth. “There were many firsts for me; sheets on my bed, a bed of my own, inside running water, regular meals, regular baths, trips to a dentist,” Faircloth said. But children are provided with more than just physical items. Teaching parents live in the cottages with the children; nurturing them to their fullest potential. “They know there's someone there to help them, someone to encourage them, someone to see them along the way and someone to help them develop a long term plan to get back in their own family, own community, successful individuals,” added Faircloth. The Boys and Girls Homes also has an on campus school for children in fifth through 12th grade. Faircloth also stresses the importance of the chapel, to help in their spiritual education. “We believe the beauty of the campus, beauty of facilities reflects the greatness in all of our children,” he said. “They need this type of environment to help develop that greatness and believe in themselves.” The help does not end once a child leaves the facility. The Boys and Girls Homes will financially help a child continue his or her education. “If we can see a child come back and say, ‘look at what I'm doing, I’m proud of what I achieved, Boys and Girls Homes played a role in that but more importantly, I made this happen, I am somebody,’ that's our greatest reward,” Faircloth said. We will introduce you to all the Razor Walker Award winners this week. They will be honored at a banquet at UNCW next week.
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