Patrick Blanchard, Angie Thomas, and Dean Dick - President, The Rotary Club of Ruston.
Patrick Blanchard, Angie Thomas, and Dean Dick – President, The Rotary Club of Ruston.

The Rotary Club of Ruston holds meetings each Tuesday at the Old Fire Station in downtown Ruston. The members, who are pledged to “Service Above Self,” recently welcomed Louisiana Methodist Children’s Home Director of Development and Public Relations, Patrick Blanchard, and Director of Life Skills and Independent Living, Angie Thomas, as their guest speakers.

Louisiana Methodist Children’s Home has been in existence for more than 100 years. Mr. Blanchard shared some of the Home’s history as an orphanage, and explained the transition into the type of care the Home provides today. Mr. Blanchard also shared the little-known fact that the Home employs more than 300 people in North Louisiana and more than 500 people state-wide, significantly impacting Ruston’s economy by providing these jobs. He also shared passionately about the services provided by the Home for Louisiana’s most hurt, abused and neglected children and youth.

Mr. Blanchard described the Home’s numerous community services in place across the state, including the Family Counseling Center which serves the Ruston and Lincoln Parish communities, as well as the Outdoor Wilderness Learning Center (OWL) in Dubach. He explained that diligent, passionate pursuit of the Home’s mission to guide children and families home to experience God’s love by following the teachings of Christ has led to a reputation of “every time a state door closes, a Methodist door opens.” Examples  of this are the addition of Methodist Foster Care in December of 2015, and the continued expansion of Family Plus counseling services in communities across the state.

Angie Thomas spoke to Rotarians in attendance about the Life Skills Training Center and its programs, which most recently have provided Independent Living Skills to foster children in the Monroe, Covington and Lake Charles regions since July 1 of this year. She shared knowledge of recently executed contracts for these three regions, ensuring that Life Skills staff will continue to provide services to foster children over the next 3 years.

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