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Check out the latest information on The Marsh Foundation

Marsh Foundation to Unveil New Foster Care and Adoption Center

new foster buildingwebVAN WERT, Ohio – The Marsh Foundation will hold an open house to unveil the new Foster Care and Adoption Center location on Thursday, April 7 from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. The building, located at 1151 Westwood Drive in Van Wert, has been renovated and updated by The Marsh maintenance staff. The public is invited and welcome to attend the open house and tour the facility.

The expansive facility is equipped to hold office and training space for The Marsh’s growing foster care and adoption division. “As our agency continues to grow and serve more children, we are fortunate to have sufficient space that is easily accessible to the community,” said Kim Mullins, executive director of Child and Family Services at The Marsh.

The Marsh has been focused on growth and recruiting more foster and adoptive families. The foster care and adoption division is serving a record number of youth. The additional space will make scheduling training events, treatment meetings and family visits easier and more convenient for all involved. “It is a great feeling to see our number of dedicated foster and adoptive families growing,” said Melissa Snyder, foster care and adoption supervisor. “We are excited to move into this new office space. It will allow us to continue to grow and give us a convenient, accessible location to meet with prospective and current parents.”

The Marsh Foundation is a not-for-profit children services agency that provides services for youth and families in a variety of settings. Services include residential care, family foster care (ages 0-17), adoption and independent living services. Located in Van Wert, Ohio, the organization is licensed to provide on-campus services for up to 30 children, offers an on-campus school for grades 2 – 12, and provides a variety of clinical services to campus residents, foster care children and community members.

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Photo caption: The Marsh Foundation’s new Foster Care and Adoption Center is located on Westwood Drive in Van Wert. A public open house will be held on April 7 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Marsh Foundation Receives New Facility Accreditation

VAN WERT, Ohio – For years, The Marsh Foundation’s clinical and counseling department has been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). They have now received their first accreditation for their residential services division.

According to the executive director of Child and Family Services at The Marsh, Kim Mullins, this is a great accomplishment. “Through accreditation, The Marsh demonstrates value and quality of our services as well as meeting internationally recognized organizational and program standards,” she said. “The surveyors look at all of our services and methods for demonstrating positive outcomes and our business practices.”

This accreditation is critical to The Marsh Foundation’s transition to a Qualified Residential Treatment Program (QRTP). CARF accreditation is one of the State of Ohio’s requirement for QRTPs. The agency also officially received their QRTP certification last week. According to Mullins, this was a large undertaking and a long process for the organization that involved many staff members. “I particularly would like to thank LeAnn Patterson, compliance specialist, for her dedicated work which led the way for this to happen for our agency” she said.

The Marsh Foundation is a not-for-profit children services agency that provides services for youth and families in a variety of settings. Services include residential care, family foster care (ages 0-17), adoption and independent living services. Located in Van Wert, Ohio, the organization is licensed to provide on-campus services for up to 30 children, offers an on-campus school for grades 2 – 12, and provides a variety of clinical services to campus residents, foster care children and community members.

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Marsh Foundation to Hold Open House

IMG 266web7VAN WERT, Ohio – The Marsh Foundation is excited to reveal the new dining and fitness facilities that have been added to campus. On Saturday October 16, an open house will be held that will highlight several important areas of The Marsh campus and history. It will be held from 1 until 6 p.m. and will include tours of the Administration Building, the new gymnasium, Clymer Hall, and a memorial tribute in honor of Ron Bagley at 3 p.m.

According to Jeff Grothouse, executive secretary and treasurer, this is an exciting opportunity to showcase the new areas and facilities at The Marsh Foundation. “We are thrilled to invite the public to tour our new fitness area, dining facilities and gymnasium,” he said. “Because of the mutual love and respect between Ron Bagley and The Marsh, this also seems like an ideal time to honor his memory.” At 3 p.m., a tribute service for Bagley will be held in the Bagley Auditorium. The day’s event will conclude with fellowship and refreshments in the cafeteria.

Campus tours will include the 15,000 square foot addition to the Administration Building which includes a gymnasium, locker rooms, kitchen, dining area and more. Clymer Hall will also be open for tours. As The Marsh transitions to a QRTP facility, Clymer now houses boys, the same as Vance and Marsh Halls. “We are very proud of these facilities and the additional opportunities that they represent for our youth,” said Grothouse. “We think the community will be equally as proud.”

Bagley dedicated much of his life to The Marsh Foundation. His passing in December, left a large void for those at The Marsh. From 1962 to 1991 he worked at The Marsh as a teacher, principal and director. Most recently, he served as the organization’s official historian. The Bagley family will be on hand October 16 to honor their husband, father and grandfather at 3 p.m. “Ron touched numerous lives and was loved by many” Grothouse said. “We are excited for this opportunity to honor him, his life, and legacy.”

The public is invited to attend. For more information, please contact Jeff Grothouse at 419.238.1695 ext. 120.

The Marsh Foundation is a not-for-profit children services agency that provides services for youth and families in a variety of settings. Services include residential care, family foster care (ages 0-17), adoption and independent living services. Located in Van Wert, Ohio, the organization is licensed to provide on-campus services for up to 30 children, offers an on-campus school for grades 2 – 12, and provides a variety of clinical services to campus residents, foster care children and community members.

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Photo Caption: In May of 2019, ground was broken on the newest addition to The Marsh Foundation campus. The 15,000 square foot area holds a kitchen, dining area, gymnasium and more. It will be open to the public on October 16 beginning at 1 p.m. with a ribbon cutting ceremony. Several areas of campus will be open for tour as well as a Ron Bagley tribute at 3 p.m. All are invited.

Marsh Foundation Hires Bridges Liaison

Headshot Claire FleckVAN WERT, Ohio – The Marsh Foundation has hired Claire Fleck as the new Bridges Liaison for the Northwest Ohio Region. Bridges is a statewide program administered by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services through a grant agreement with The Child and Family Health Collaborative of Ohio.  As a member of this Collaborative, The Marsh Foundation provides services through the post-emancipation support program to eligible former foster youth.  

Fleck holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from The Ohio State University and has worked as a school family teacher and family teacher at The Marsh most recently. Before that, Fleck worked for ten years investigating child abuse, neglect and dependency cases for several Northwest Ohio counties.

Fleck said she enjoys work at The Marsh for several reasons. “I chose to work at The Marsh Foundation because of the variety of opportunities not only for staff but also for the youth we serve,” she said. “The greatest reward is seeing the youth I have worked with successfully discharged and doing well after they leave.”

She has several goals for her new position and is looking forward to helping youth transition into young adulthood. “I hope to continue to build a program that meets the needs of the young adults in Northwest Ohio. I hope to build stronger community relations to be able to assist these young adults to feel supported in the communities where they live,” Fleck said. She also hopes to work toward program expansion.

The Bridges program was established in December 2017 to extend housing and case management services to eligible young adults who leave foster care on or after their 18th birthday but have not yet turned 21.  Fleck will continue to work with young adults in this age range who have recently emancipated from foster care. She’ll supply them with resources and help them with tasks such as finding affordable housing, finding a job, creating a budget and transportation. Essentially, she’ll assist with anything that helps them transition to adult life.

Fleck is a mother to two teenage children and enjoys spending time with them, her boyfriend, family, friends and her dog. In her free time, she enjoys refinishing vintage or worn furniture, listening to all types of music and enjoying hot tea.  

The Marsh Foundation is a not-for-profit children services agency that provides services for youth and families in a variety of settings. Services include residential care, family foster care (ages 0-17), adoption and independent living services. Located in Van Wert, Ohio, the organization is licensed to provide on-campus services for up to 30 children, offers an on-campus school for grades 2 – 12, and provides a variety of clinical services to campus residents, foster care children and community members.

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Photo caption: Claire Fleck has been promoted to Bridges Liaison at The Marsh Foundation.  

Marsh Foundation Hires Physical Education Teacher

LongstrethSeptember 21, 2021

For Immediate Release

 VAN WERT, Ohio – The Marsh Foundation has hired Kevin Longstreth as a physical education teacher and intervention specialist. With the addition of the physical fitness area and gymnasium on campus, this is another opportunity to expand the opportunities for youth at The Marsh.

Longstreth holds a bachelor’s degree in education from Bowling Green State University, a teaching license for physical education grades K-12 and an intervention specialist degree from The Ohio State University. Longstreth’s experience involves casework at Westwood Behavioral Heath as well as crisis intervention and vocational rehabilitation. He has also worked for the City of Van Wert Parks and Recreation Department. This summer, he was hired as a fitness instructor at The Marsh. 

Longstreth said he is looking forward to the opportunity to make a positive impact on students each day. “Physical education is an important class for students because it teaches them how to work as a team, strengthens their social skills and teaches them the value of staying active,” he said. “I am excited to be able to teach and utilize the new facilities at The Marsh and with that comes the flexibility to hold classes in a variety of different spaces.”

As the first physical education teacher at The Marsh, Longstreth said he has several goals. “As I work directly with students, I hope to influence and connect with them in a meaningful way. In addition to sharing my love for physical fitness, I want to promote inclusiveness, responsibility, cooperation and diversity.”

Longstreth and his wife Danielle have three children; Grady 10, Nora 8 and Quinn 4. He enjoys watching and participating in all types of sports and physical fitness. He spends most of his free time with his family and watching them participate in many different activities.

The Marsh Foundation is a not-for-profit children services agency that provides services for youth and families in a variety of settings. Services include residential care, family foster care (ages 0-17), adoption and independent living services. Located in Van Wert, Ohio, the organization is licensed to provide on-campus services for up to 30 children, offers an on-campus school for grades 2 – 12, and provides a variety of clinical services to campus residents, foster care children and community members.

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Photo caption: Kevin Longstreth

Marsh Foundation Foster Care Division Holds Successful Summer Day Camp

VAN WERT, Ohio – This summer, The Marsh Foundation Foster Care Division held a successful day camp for youth in their clinical program. There were a total of 14 youth ranging in age from 5 to 15 who participated. The camp was held for one week from 9 a.m. until noon each day. The camp featured a theme each day, friendship, kindness, emotions, choices and leadership.camp2web

According to Melissa Snyder, foster care director, the purpose of the camp was to allow the youth to come together, participate in fun activities, while also learning positive character traits. “It was an amazing adventure and all of the kids were very well behaved,” she said. “It was great for our staff to get to know the kids on a more personal level and it was also cool to see them form friendships among themselves.” An additional perk to the camp, was the free time the foster parents got those mornings.

Each day, the activities coordinated with the theme and included activity pages, deep breathing, yoga, dance parties, games, reading, crafts and group parachute activities. Some crafts included friendship bracelets and heart sun catchers. Each day, lunch was provided by The Marsh kitchen staff. Friday included zip lining and rock wall climbing at Camp Clay for the older kids. This was part reward for helping throughout the week, but also emphasized leadership, teamwork and being a good role model.

Beth Dye, foster care clinician, along with the rest of the department staffed the camp. They considered it a huge success for their first camp. “Several of our parents commented that it was an incredible experience for their kids,” Dye said. One of the biggest benefits of the camp, according to Dye, was that kids got to meet other kids who are in similar situations to their own. “These are kids who understand better than anyone what they are all going through, as there are different sets of concerns and anxieties that kids who are unable to live with their biological parents experience.”

Dye took the lead when it came to planning the camp and according to Snyder did an excellent job. “I also think it’s important to make note of all of the extra work she put in to make this possible. She went above and beyond to give our kids this amazing experience,” Snyder said.

The Marsh Foundation is a not-for-profit children services agency that provides services for youth and families in a variety of settings. Services include residential care, family foster care (ages 0-17), adoption and independent living services. Located in Van Wert, Ohio, the organization is licensed to provide on-campus services for up to 30 children, offers an on-campus school for grades 2 – 12, and provides a variety of clinical services to campus residents, foster care children and community members.

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Photo caption: Activities at The Marsh foster care day camp included rock climbing, dance parties, crafts and much more.

Project Believe Donates Backpacks to Marsh Foundation School Students

pb backpackswebVAN WERT, Ohio – Project Believe has once again stepped up to help the students at The Marsh Foundation start school on a positive note. Last week, they visited campus with a delivery of backpacks and school supplies for all students.

The organization, which originated in 2009, began by donating Christmas gifts to children in residential facilities. They now are also active on Easter, Valentine’s Day and the start of the school year. Tammie Rafferty, the group’s founder, was initially inspired to help others by her own daughter’s circumstances.

This year, Bob Lavoie, visited the campus to present the backpacks and supplies to Mr. Robbie Breese, Marsh Foundation School Principal and teachers.

“We feel very fortunate that Project Believe has chosen to continue to assist The Marsh Foundation in our mission of inspiring hope to our children,” said Breese. “Our students and teachers are very excited to accept the backpacks and supplies as we return to the classroom this school year.”

You can learn more about Project Believe by visiting their website at www.projectbelive.net. Or, you can contact Rafferty directly at

The Marsh Foundation is a not-for-profit children services agency that provides services for youth and families in a variety of settings. Services include residential care, family foster care (ages 0-17), adoption and independent living services. Located in Van Wert, Ohio, the organization is licensed to provide on-campus services for up to 30 children, offers an on-campus school for grades 2 – 12, and provides a variety of clinical services to campus residents, foster care children and community members.

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Photo caption: Left to right: Kevin Longstreth (teacher), Mandy Looser (teacher), Lavoie, Joy Caldwell (librarian), and Breese are pictured with this year’s donation.

Marsh Foundation Holds Graduation, Honors Retiring Teacher

Val retirewebVAN WERT, Ohio – The Marsh Foundation School held its annual spring celebration this May in the Bagley Auditorium. The day included an awards ceremony, graduation, and a celebration meal. Two students earned and received their diplomas. This year, due to Covid restrictions, only Marsh staff, students and families of the graduates were able to attend. However, the in-person event was much appreciated after holding it virtually last spring.

At the ceremony, many students received academic awards for their successes throughout the school year. This year’s event was extra special because Mrs. Val Dunn was recognized for her retirement. Mrs. Dunn taught for 35 years, with 22 of those years being at The Marsh Foundation School. She will be greatly missed.  On behalf of The Marsh, director of education and school principal, Robbie Breese presented Dunn with a plaque during the ceremony expressing gratitude for all she has given to the students she’s taught over the years. The students and staff wished her well in all of her future endeavors during the reception following the ceremony.

The Marsh Foundation is a not-for-profit children services agency that provides services for youth and families in a variety of settings. Services include residential care, family foster care (ages 0-17), adoption and independent living services. Located in Van Wert, Ohio, the organization is licensed to provide on-campus services for up to 30 children, offers an on-campus school for grades 2 – 12, and provides a variety of clinical services to campus residents, foster care children and community members.

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Photo caption: Mrs. Val Dunn receives a plaque in honor of her retirement from principal Robbie Breese.  

Marsh Foundation Hires Third Full Time Counselor

srollins webVAN WERT, Ohio – As The Marsh Foundation transitions to a Qualified Residential Treatment Program (QRTP), the need for counseling services has increased. To help meet that need, The Marsh has hired a third full-time counselor, Seth Rollins.  With a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling, both from Wright State University, Rollins is a licensed professional counselor, or LPC.

While attending graduate school, Rollins completed a one-year internship at Youth Positive Health, a day treatment program in Dayton run by South Community Behavioral Health. According to Rollins, this provided him experience working with youth in both an individual and group counseling setting. And, prior to his time at graduate school, he worked at The Marsh for a summer as the assistant activity coordinator. This position not only introduced him to the organization’s mission, but also to the many needs of the youth on campus.

According to Rollins, the sense of community is one of the biggest reasons he was drawn back to working at The Marsh. “Everyone at The Marsh does so well at working together to serve clients,” he said. “I think The Marsh Foundation does a tremendous job of helping children who come from very difficult situations, and I wanted to be a part of helping to serve these children,” Rollins added. He said he is excited about the resources available to help work with individual clients. These include things like the pond, weight room, new gymnasium and green house.

Rollins said he is looking forward working with other experienced counselors at The Marsh. “I specifically want to gain skills and knowledge for working with children who have experienced trauma and who have spent significant time in the foster care system,” he said. In his free time, Rollins enjoys spending time with his family and friends, reading, watching movies, running and playing the guitar. He said he really appreciates his family’s support as he worked to complete graduate school. “I specially want to thank my Grandma Barb who encouraged me to pursue this position and has taken a special interest in my new job,” Rollins concluded.

The Marsh Foundation is a not-for-profit children services agency that provides services for youth and families in a variety of settings. Services include residential care, family foster care (ages 0-17), adoption and independent living services. Located in Van Wert, Ohio, the organization is licensed to provide on-campus services for up to 30 children, offers an on-campus school for grades 2 – 12, and provides a variety of clinical services to campus residents, foster care children and community members.

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Photo caption: Seth Rollins is the newest counselor at The Marsh Foundation.  

Marsh Foundation Foster Care Division Opens New Office in Wapak

VAN WERT, Ohio – The Marsh Foundation Foster Care and Adoption division has officially opened a second office in Wapakoneta, Ohio. The small incubation officenew fc office is located within The Chamber of Commerce at 30 E. Auglaize Street. With the continuous expansion and recruitment of new foster families in the surrounding areas, the additional office will make it easier to connect with families south of Van Wert.

The Marsh Foster Care Director, Melissa Snyder, said that the new office is a great asset to The Marsh. “We work with a lot of families in Mercer and Auglaize Counties. This new office space will allow us to be closer and even more accessible to these families.” She also said it is an opportunity to educate more people about the need for foster families. “We have a great need for foster families and there are many children in need of care. This office will allow us to raise awareness and tell more people about the need and opportunity to help,” she said.

Children in foster care experience many changes. Placements close to home help minimize that change. “Our kids experience a lot of change which can cause anxiety,” Snyder said. “If we can keep kids in their own communities it generally makes for an easier transition and more effective placement,” she continued. There is a continued need for foster families in Wapakoneta and the surrounding communities.

Those interested in learning more about fostering, can contact our Foster Care Supervisor, Melissa Snyder (), or at 419.238.1695 ext. 307. Information is also available on our website at www.marshfoundation.org/services/foster-care.

The Marsh Foundation is a not-for-profit children services agency that provides services for youth and families in a variety of settings. Services include residential care, family foster care (ages 0-17), adoption and independent living services. Located in Van Wert, Ohio, the organization is licensed to provide on-campus services for up to 30 children, offers an on-campus school for grades 2 – 12, and provides a variety of clinical services to campus residents, foster care children and community members.

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Photo caption: The Marsh Foundation Foster Care and Adoption staff pose in front of the Wapakoneta Chamber of Commerce, the location of their newest office.