Students Give Rachel Ann a Face Lift

Students Give Rachel Ann a Face Lift

Cunningham's Rachel Ann cottage is looking quite updated these days. With staff help, students in our Vocational Education program spent several weeks painting walls, purchasing and refinishing furniture, and decorating. They showed off their work yesterday during an open house.

Cunningham's Foster Care program, which continues to grow, will use the renovated space for family visits and therapy. The project gave students some important life skills as well as a sense of thankfulness. One student said, "I would like to state my appreciation to the Vocational Staff, Maintenance Staff and whoever paid for the project. I learned something new to use at home. But I also know that this project will allow people to visit as a family."

Our kids greeted visitors at the door for the Rachel Ann open house, and led tours showing off the refinished kitchen cabinets and custom artwork in one of the therapy rooms. 

The Rachel Ann project is a great example of the agency's ability to adapt to new needs and situations over time. That adaptability was celebrated during Cunningham's Board Appreciation Luncheon and Annual Meeting also held yesterday. The event celebrated our current and former Board members, friends, and volunteers who have all played a role in the advancement of Cunningham.

History was a central theme of the celebration as Board member Dick McGuire treated the crowd to a surprise visit from Judge Joseph Cunningham, who with his wife Mary, deeded their home to start Cunningham Children's Home 119 years ago. McGuire and another speaker, Board member Carolyn Yockey, shared excerpts from two of the Judge's recently discovered personal journals celebrating the people who have lovingly maintained the legacy of support for Cunningham over the years.

One of our girls provided a great reminder of the hope that begins at Cunningham. The 16 year old, who serves on our Praise Dance Team for chapel services, dressed in all white with a yellow scarf and performed a dance that she choreographed to a song called "I Can Only Imagine" by MercyMe, a popular Christian band. She delighted the crowd.

Dick McGuire spoke as Judge Joseph Cunningham to open the annual meeting and appreciation luncheon, a Cunningham youth performed inspirational praise dance, and Carolyn Yockey shared excerpts from the Judge's journals helping us all connect with and celebrate our rich heritage of serving children. 

Also during the Luncheon and Meeting, Cunningham's CEO and Board President recognized retiring and new Board and committee members as well as this year's recipients of the Friend of Children (FOC) award. The FOC award was given to Harriett Weatherford, Tom Schaefges and their canine friends on October 22 but they were honored during the event. For more than 10 years, they have helped our kids to heal, learn and grow through pet therapy.


Tom Shaefges and Harriett Weatherford along with two of their four canine friends visit Cunningham kids for Pet Therapy. Austin, Sidney, Russell, and Morgan wear their Friend of Children tags with pride following the October 22nd recognition.


The day was a great reminder that Cunningham has much to celebrate and appreciate - from the past and into the future.