Ceremonial dirt was turned recently at the Woodburn Christian Children’s Home for its 13,000-square-foot multipurpose counseling and learning center. Bulldozers and other heavy equipment were to begin preparing the property for construction of the building that Executive Director Joe Heins expects to be ready for occupancy next spring.

As Heins explained to the people in attendance at the groundbreaking, “This is Phase I of a three-phase program. Phase II, which will follow this building, will be construction of an additional residence home and Phase III will be a home for foster children.”

No one was more excited about the start of Phase I than Heins. “We’ve been pointing toward this goal for the last five years,” he said. “This groundbreaking signifies a step forward in the life of each child we are called to help and this building will enable our mission to expand how we care for children. It will enable us to expand our counseling, education and biblical studies programs. In addition, we will be able to expand our community involvement with parenting workshops and volunteer opportunities.”

The multipurpose building will have offices, a gym, a warming kitchen, a chapel, life skill rooms, a counseling room and multipurpose meeting rooms. In addition, it will have a fireplace and patios on the front and one side of the building. “This is more than a building,” Heins said. “It’s a rallying point where each child can reach their full potential.”

The privately funded organization has raised a total of $900,000 in five months, which represents 65 percent of the overall construction budget. Heins said WCCH has never accepted government funding in its 49-year history. He pointed out that Nucor Building Systems, Nucor Vulcraft, Nucor Fastener, Pranger Mechanical, Votaw Electric and John Klopfenstein Furniture and Flooring have all made significant donations of materials and services totaling more than $400,000.

WCCH is at 24902 Notestine Road, Woodburn. It is a not-for profit, faith-based, state licensed, residential children’s home. Children ages 6-21 live in family-style homes on a 33-acre campus. Its mission is “to empower children and families on physical, educational, emotional and spiritual levels.”

Read more and learn how to donate at wcchonline.org.

The annual auction and dinner to benefit WCCH will be Oct. 16, at Woodlan High School, 17215 Woodburn Road. The silent auction and dinner begin at 4 p.m. Admission is to the auction is free; no ticket is required.

The live auction begins at 5 p.m. Call 260-632-5551 for ticket information.

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