I earned two college degrees…

JeffI entered Oxford Orphanage (now the Masonic Home for Children at Oxford) in 1960 at the age of 12 along with my three younger brothers. It was not easy living with more than three hundred other children. However, school on the campus and caring house parents opened my eyes to opportunity. I worked hard for six years as a ‘bakery boy’ and worked hard enough in school to graduate as the Class President and Valedictorian in 1967.

Thank you to all Masons and MHCO for giving me a wonderful life.  The discipline I learned during my tenure at our home continues to guide my life today.  I earned two college degrees, served in the military as a paratrooper and military police officer, had careers as a firefighter and police officer, and gave back by working in a children’s home and helping several children through the years. I married a beautiful woman who also knows how important the Home has been to my life. She serves with me on the OO/MHCO Alumni Association Board of Directors.

 

Living there was the best time of my life!

MichelleI moved to Oxford Orphanage (now MHCO) when I was ten years old and stayed there fourteen years. At first the transition was hard for me but, after the first year, I loved it! I began to call Oxford Orphanage my “home.” I lived in Dunn Cottage as helper to the house parent. That was when I learned I had a passion for working with children. The home gave me the opportunity for a college education and I earned a degree in Early Childhood Education.

The home taught me how important education, independence, discipline, and most of all, family values really are. Living there was the best time of my life! Today, I have a won-derful job, loving family and friends, and a place to always call my home.

My dream was to graduate from high school and go to college…

BennyPrior to arriving at MHCO, I had experienced many transitions and suffered from neglect and abuse. My dream was to graduate from high school and go to college so I could have a better life. I credit MHCO for supporting, mentoring and helping me actualize my dreams. When I realized that they wanted nothing but for me to succeed and were all committed to helping me, I knew my dreams of a better life were becoming reality and I had found my home. I will never forget my journey and am committed to supporting youths from similar backgrounds in their pursuit of better outcomes. Given the proper foundational supports, any child can excel in life despite where they come from.

We first became homeless when I was 12.

AngelaWhen I was 15, I ran away because of circumstances beyond my control. I moved from friend’s house to friend’s house, but stayed in school because I felt like it was my only way out. My grades were good and it seemed like one of the few things I was proud of. My uncle told me about the Masonic Home when I was 16 and I decided to go. I look back on that decision and realize what a miracle it was for me to be accepted into a place that truly stands in as the type of parents I had always needed, but never really had. Today, I am about to earn my Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling, have a wonderful family and a full-time job working with troubled youth.

I really don’t think I would be where I am today if I hadn’t been raised at the Home.

I was 6 years old when I was dropped off and remember thinking “I won’t be here long, I really don’t like it here!” Ten years passed quickly and “Here” had become “Home.” I had 100 brothers and sisters that I lived with, played with, and went to school with. I learned that no matter what my background was, I always had a family and a cottage parent that loved me and all the other children. I am 23 years old now, with a beautiful wife, a 2 year old son, and a career in the U.S. Coast Guard. I really don’t think I would be where I am today if I hadn’t been raised at the Home.
I look back on my childhood and think that it couldn’t have been better.

A single event changed my life forever.

DannyAt the age of 3, I was placed at the Home for Children with my three older brothers. I would remain there until graduation at age 17. Any attempt to accurately describe the consequences of this turn of fate or destiny would fail badly. I was taught the value of personal discipline and the need to respect others. It instilled in me a powerful work ethic and it provided me with the essentials to live a fulfilling and gratifying life. I am now Vice President for a transport company. My wife and I are the incredibly proud parents of two daughters, both college graduates. It is impossible to imagine how different my life would be today had I not been raised at MHCO.

I was fortunate that a room and an opportunity were available to me…

DanI was fortunate that a room and an opportunity were available to me, my brother, and two sisters here. I now support MHCO because I want to guarantee that same opportunity for children in need today. I know firsthand what this home – my home in Oxford – gives a child, because it was given to me. It was provided by those (child care workers) who helped raise me; by the teachers, coaches, and chaplains; by the staff of the Home who taught me with guidance, care, and stability, the basic values and morals of life. I was supported by every donor, friend and believer in this Home, many of whom never saw my face or heard my story, but who vowed to give me an opportunity to live, grow, and learn.

“I now have the courage to know that our dreams don’t have to be fantasies”

amberI lived at the Masonic Home for Children for almost 10 years. When I first arrived, like any child, I was scared and sad to be away from home. In no time, I made tons of friends, quickly became involved in all of the sports offered and also began to excel in my academics.

MHCO provided me with the social skills I use every day in my profession and personal life. I am an independent, successful woman and believe these traits were obtained by learning to accomplish simple duties, which were required during my stay at MHCO. I now have the courage to know that our dreams don’t have to be fantasies, but actual goals which can be achieved by anyone.