When the Mary Kendall Home first opened its doors in 1904, the main purpose was to help children and families who had difficult lives receive help and hope. What started as the Women’s Christian Association, which was led by Mrs. Mary Kendall, led to opening the first rescue home in Owensboro.
Today, the Mary Kendall Campus programs provide treatment services for adolescent girls ages 11 to 17 years old. Some of these services include temporary emergency shelter and residential treatment. The youth are classified as non-violent juvenile offenders, who are often beyond control, truant or runaways.
The residential facility also aides children who have experienced numerous traumatic events and find it difficult to form relationships. A licensed clinical social worker and mental health treatment services are available on site. Individual treatment plans become a core component of a child’s healing process at the Mary Kendall Home.
In 1993, members of several churches throughout the community joined together to create Friends of the Children (FOC), a support group to the Mary Kendall Home, which helps provide the organization with funds to purchase necessities that their budget would not otherwise allow.
According to FOC member Krista Howe they have raised over $210,000 since they began to support the Mary Kendall Home.
“With that money we have built a picnic shelter on the campus, purchased computers for the kids of the home to use, bought new furniture, and each year we also provide funds for back to school supplies for the kids,” Howe said.
A few years ago, Mary Kendall established a Family Fun Day where families of the children of the home can come and spend the day with their kids. FOC gives funds to support this event. In addition to some of the bigger projects, FOC also provides funds for the Mary Kendall Home to purchase clothing for the kids, enjoy activities during the summer months so that the kids can go on day trips to places such as Holiday World or the zoo, and also ensure the children receive gifts at Christmas.
To help raise funds to support the home, FOC hosts one big fundraiser each year called An Evening of Blessings. At the event, a past resident of the home will share their story, as well as a family who has adopted through the adoption program. Many years ago, Howe attended the event for the first time and remembers what an impact it had.
“After attending An Evening of Blessings and learning about the home and what they do, I decided to join the group and get involved. I was blessed with a stable childhood, but that is not always the case for others,” Howe said.
Serving on Friends of the Children was a way for Howe to support the Mary Kendall home and help them to provide more for their residents. She has been a member of the group for 20 years and currently serves as the chairperson. Like many others, she sees the impact that this organization has on the community, which reaches far beyond the walls of the home.
“Sixteen years ago, my husband and I decided to adopt a baby from China,” Howe said “Mary Kendall completed our home study for us and helped us throughout the process. We traveled to China in September of 2004 and brought our daughter Lauren home.”
This year, An Evening of Blessings will be held on Monday, July 22, at Settle Memorial Recreation and Outreach Center. Doors open at 5 p.m. and dinner will be served at 6 p.m.. There will be a silent auction, live auction items, dinner with music entertainment during the meal, and a short program. At the end of the evening, guests will be given a chance to make a donation. For more information on the event, visit here.