Volume LIXAugust 2012Number 3

2012 Youth Appreciation Day

On May 25, the Masonic Children's Home celebrated its 89th Annual Youth Appreciation Day in the Brossman Ballroom. On this day, themed "Positive Attitude," the children's home recognized the children's achievements by presenting awards, scholarships and certificates.

To kick off the program, four young ladies performed piano solos while guests enjoyed refreshments. Boys from Longdon Cottage led the Pledge of Allegiance and "Star Spangled Banner" before awards were presented to 39 children. Rev. and Bro. A. Preston Van Deursen, alumni and Director of Pastoral Care at Masonic Village, gave each of the four graduates a Kindle and gift card to download the Bible.

Prior to Grand Master Jay Smith addressing the crowd of youth, families, employees, donors, Committee on Masonic Homes members and special guests from the Elizabethtown Area School District, the four seniors reflected on their time at the children's home and everyone enjoyed a picture video of the seniors growing up. "When I first came here, I was under the impression that it would be a visit and not a permanent stay. Once I realized that it wasn't a visit and this was my new home, I made the best of it. It wasn't easy adjusting to this program, but once I did, I believe this place changed me for the better. It has been a journey that I will never forget," Gabriel, one of the seniors, said.

After the awards ceremony, the program moved to the Masonic Children's Home where graduating seniors Charity, Gabriel, Gerald and Jorge; Virginia Migrala, Director of Children's Services; Grand Master Smith; and Bro. Thomas Toscani, member, Committee on Masonic Homes, planted a tree at the site of the new Centennial Garden to symbolize the seniors' lasting impact at the children's home.

The Centennial Garden will be an addition to the current garden which will recognize members of the Masonic Children's Home Centennial Society. Donors who contribute to the children's home in honor of its 100th anniversary in 2013 may join this society. The Donor Recognition Garden also was rededicated in honor of the new and faithful donors to the children's home.

All of the seniors are sponsored by Abraham C. Treichler Lodge No. 682, Elizabethtown, and will pursue higher education thanks to the fraternity's financial support. Charity moved to the Masonic Children's Home on April 8, 2005, from Elizabethtown. She participated in cheerleading, track, cross-country, yearbook club, varsity club, Key Club and science club in addition to working at MoviE-town Cinemas. Charity attends Lives Changed By Christ Church, where she participates in the youth group and has gone on missions trips to Belize and Haiti. She plans to attend Delaware Valley College next fall to become a veterinarian.

Gabriel will attend Harrisburg Area Community College (HACC) before transferring to another school to major in exercise science. His goal is to become a personal trainer. This young man moved to the Masonic Children's Home from Elizabethtown on Dec. 9, 1998. A gifted athlete, he works out every day, participated on the football team and served as captain of the track team. In his spare time, Gabriel participated in science club, worked at Kmart and served on the Mini-Thon committee, which helped to raise more than $18,000 for children with cancer.

Gerald moved to the Masonic Children's Home on Feb. 6, 2012, from Mount Joy. He maintained his academic coursework, participated in science club and volunteered at Rainbow's End Youth Center in Mount Joy. This young man also enjoys and has played sports such as baseball, boxing, football and wrestling. Gerald plans to attend HACC for two years and then transfer to a four-year college to become a social worker. "I believe I could be very good at this job because I have some experiences in life that could be similar to some people who are going through tough times," Gerald said. "I enjoy living here at the Masonic Children's Home. I believe this is the best thing to have ever happened in my life so far, and I will never forget all of what the children's home has done for me."

Jorge will take general courses at HACC and transfer to York College to study nursing. Ultimately, he hopes to work at a children's cancer hospital. On April 13, 2009, Jorge moved to the Masonic Children's Home from Lancaster. The move provided the opportunity for Jorge to prioritize his schoolwork. At school, he participated in track, cross-country, running club and concert choir. He got involved in the community with activities such as volunteering at Water Street Rescue Mission and snow-shoveling driveways of Masonic Village residents. He also worked in food services at Masonic Village. "I do not know where I would be today without the dedication of my house parents and tutors directing, encouraging and persuading me to work hard," Jorge said.

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