April 13, 2017. Our program featured a presentation from the Children’s Home of Easton. Academic Coordinator Mike Banas explained how he started as a teacher before moving on to work with students to help them establish priorities and position themselves for further schooling or career opportunities. Act 91 was passed in 2012 which allowed the Home to offer services to residents up to 21 years of age instead of ending services at the age of 18.
This extra time has been a tremendous boost for students, many of whom do not have any support outside of the Children’s Home. Residents can take advantage of financial services classes provided by Merchants Bank. A savings program is available to ensure that participants save 90% of their earnings. The Home also provides financial assistance for further education at places including Adult CIT, Empire Beauty School, and NCC. Students have gone on to attend other schools including East Stroudsburg University and the Philadelphia Culinary Arts School.
Mike introduced two current high school seniors who spoke about their experiences at the Home. Ayanna has been there for one year. She considers it a second chance. Upon her arrival, she did not respect others or herself. She has now found a comfortable and safe place where she can be herself. A place filled with people that show compassion and have empathy; people who recognize that everyone’s path in life is different. She works at Safe Harbor where she interacts with people who are struggling. She is headed to NCC and hopes to be a veterinarian.
Shannon has been in foster care since age 12 and has had 21 different placements. She has been at the Children’s Home for three years. She has had the opportunity to explore painting, styling hair and makeup, and working with children. She enjoys singing in front of people and participates in choir and the band. She works at Safe Harbor where she has learned to not take things for granted. She would like to open her own salon. Kids that come to the Children’s Home are often dreadfully alone. Some never recover from the wounds of their prior lives. To those that do respond, the Children’s Home can become the family they never had. Many of these alumni come back to visit for years and years.