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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. 

The Marsh Foundation Announces Programming Changes

VAN WERT, Ohio – The Marsh Foundation has been committed to serving children and families for 100 years. Throughout the past century, the State of Ohio has often determined that facilities need to meet certain requirements and provide certain services in line with their licensing. This is once again the case, and The Marsh will transition from a group home facility to a Qualified Residential Treatment Program (QRTP).

According to Kim Mullins, executive director of Child & Family Services, this is simply a continuation of the quality treatment programs The Marsh offers children and families. “This transition will enhance the services we offer,” Mullins said. In preparation, the facility has already implemented additional treatment modalities such as a comprehensive day treatment program. Another full-time therapist has also been hired. In addition, The Marsh will transition to an all-male residential campus as of July 1, 2021.

“Our programming will not only feature an updated clinical approach, but we will also provide access to a 24-hour, on call medical professional,” Mullins said. “We are excited for this opportunity to strengthen our treatment programs. This more comprehensive approach will have a strong focus on familial engagement and reunification.”

The Marsh Foundation is proud of its history of success. Strong outcomes and positive influences on children and families have allowed the organization to establish solid relationships with a variety of agencies and referral sources from around the state. This affirmative reputation is encouraging as the agency transitions into this restructured programming. “We are proud of the services we offer and the ability we have to help children and families. And we are looking forward to continuing these impactful services for years to come,” Mullins 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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Marsh Foundation Foster Care and 4-H Exchange Club Partner

VAN WERT, Ohio – 2020 has not been an ordinary year. This meant that businesses and non-profit organizations alike have had to get creative in how they provide services and products. This is true for The Marsh Foundation Foster Care and Adoption Center in Van Wert. “We have really had to rethink how we reach out to our agency’s foster families and the kids in their care. Our goal has always been to provide a lot of support in the home, but with the pandemic, we weren’t able to be in the homes,” said Melissa Snyder, foster care director. “We have had to provide support through virtual services and use this as a way to continue to stay involved.”

The foster care program has always had an annual Christmas party for foster families and all the children in their home, whether foster or biological. “In the past, we have always had a big Christmas party with food, games and gifts for the kids. These parties had a lot of face-to-face interaction and we realized early on, this was not going to work this year,” Snyder said. “The foster care staff came together to figure out a way to still celebrate while keeping everyone healthy and support local holiday activities,” she said. “We came up with this idea to come together with the 4-H Exchange Club Holiday light Show to provide a holiday experience for our foster families.” The 4-H Exchange Club has been providing a holiday light show at the Van Wert Fairgrounds for the past 13 years.

“In 2007, we started with 13 displays and 500 vehicles driving through,” said Jay Gamble, Exchange Club advisor. “This year’s show has 110 plus displays and we are expecting over 3500 vehicles to come enjoy the lights,” he said. According to Gamble, all the exhibits have holiday themes and are supplied by local businesses, individuals, churches and clubs. The 4-H Exchange group is made up of youth, ages 13-18 from all areas of the county. “The light show is a way for the group to raise funds to support the cost to host other youth or travel to other states during the summer months. This allows the youth to build friendships and experience other areas,” Gamble added. The club and The Marsh were excited to come together to provide this holiday experience, which is socially distant, safe and family friendly.

“We felt it was very important to align with local businesses and partner with an organization that shares our vision to support youth,” said Beth Dye, Marsh foster care clinician. “It always impacts me to see that most of our kids in foster care have no support system in the community and counties where they come from. I was born and raised in Van Wert County, so there was no shortage of caring adults involved in my life; like coaches, teachers, extended family, neighbors, church leaders and even 4-H advisors. Most of our foster kids have no one that is taking an interest in them or checking in on them. This is mostly because they move around a lot, aren’t regularly in school, or aren’t involved in the community,” she said. Caring adults are important because they can fill in the gaps and come alongside children when they are having problems at home. The Marsh believes that all children have the right to love, protection and to be cared for by a committed family. This is something that some biological families are just not able to provide.

The Marsh Foundation recruits and trains foster parents to provide homes to youth from counties all over Ohio. The foster care staff then work hard to ensure that the foster parents have the support needed to make these placements successful for the youth.

The 4-H Exchange Club and The Marsh Foster Care Program selected December 11 as the date for the foster families to visit the light show. The show is open every Thursday – Sunday, 6 – 9:30 p.m. and the entire week of Christmas. The cost is $5 per carload. The Marsh Foundation and 4-H both care and support kids and families and want to serve as a model to everyone that they can help youth by guiding lights of love and support. Snyder said, “It’s all about unity, not just between the 4-H Exchange Club and The Marsh Foundation, but between all agencies. The more we come together, the more children we can reach and serve.”

The Marsh Foundation is a not-for-profit children’s services agency that provides services in a variety of settings. Services include group homes, family foster care (ages 0-17), an intensive treatment program, adoption and independent living services. Located in Van Wert, Ohio, the organization’s group homes are licensed for up to 30 children ages 7 – 17, offers an on-campus school for grades 2 – 12 and provides a variety of clinical services to group home residents, foster care children and community members.

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The Marsh Foundation Appreciates Essential Workers, A.K.A. Heroes

hero staff webVAN WERT, Ohio – In order for everything to run smoothly at The Marsh Foundation, there must be staff on hand around the clock. The children placed in The Marsh’s care rely on the family teachers and other residential staff to be there all day, every day. It can be a daunting task to ensure all shifts are covered during the holiday season of a normal year. During a global pandemic, this becomes even more challenging, and even more critical.

“Much like healthcare workers, our staff have stepped up to the challenge and been here every day to care for the children that need them,” said Elizabeth Truxell, residential consultant. “Not only is this recognized by those in administration, but also our referral sources and families,” she said. “Thank you doesn’t seem like enough. We are blessed to have our own heroes right here on campus.”

Not only are staff present, and shifts are covered, but they have also done much more. “During the pandemic, the staff have gone above and beyond to keep our youth safe,” Truxell continued. “They use all safety precautions during family visits, work extra hours as needed and are cognizant of their actions and where they go outside of work.” This dedication has not gone unnoticed and is appreciated immensely.

The Marsh Foundation is a not-for-profit children’s services agency that provides services in a variety of settings. Services include group homes, family foster care (ages 0-17), an intensive treatment program, adoption and independent living services. Located in Van Wert, Ohio, the organization’s group homes are licensed for up to 30 children ages 7 – 17, offers an on-campus school for grades 2 – 12 and provides a variety of clinical services to group home residents, foster care children and community members.

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Photo caption: The Marsh Foundation has its own group of essential worker heroes.

Marsh Foundation Undertaking Major Pond Enhancement Project

VAN WERT, Ohio – The Marsh Foundation property includes a pond which has been a long-time favorite spot for the youth on campus. They have spent a lot of time there grilling out and fishing. However, activities coordinator Sherry Grone saw much more potential with the space. In 2019, The Marsh Trustees approved a comprehensive enhancement project which is nearing completion.

Several improvements can be seen from the road. New fencing has replaced the old and there have been two docks installed that will provide a better fishing experience, as well as a place to launch canoes. One may also serve as a potential swimming or cool off area. The youth on campus have already enjoyed the new sand volleyball court. The improvements are meant to beautify campus, but also offer functional benefit to the youth and staff. According to Grone, the project will directly benefit the youth in several ways. “It will promote hope, pride, and motivation in our youth.  It will be a space where they can feel proud of and excited to use,” she said.

Other improvements include updated restroom facilities and a sandy beach area. One enhancement that is not easily seen is water treatment to improve the water quality for fishing and swimming. Further plans this fall include the planting of more trees and the installation of a fire ring. The goal is for the improved space to be an outdoor setting that promotes health, well-being, fun, relationship building and responsibility. It will also be used by staff and provide a great environment for teambuilding exercises.

There is a lot of evidence-based research that supports this enhancement project. Grone pointed to evidence that playing outdoors and spending time in nature reduces attention problems. “Spending time in nature regularly can reduce the severity and frequency of symptoms in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder,” she said. In addition, she pointed to things like increased creativity and lessened stress and anxiety. “A beautiful, functional pond area really has a lot of potential ways to benefit our youth,” she said. Jeff Grothouse, executive secretary and treasurer, and The Marsh maintenance staff oversaw the completion of the project.

The Marsh Foundation is a not-for-profit children’s services agency that provides services in a variety of settings. Services include group homes, family foster care (ages 0-17), an intensive treatment program, adoption and independent living services. Located in Van Wert, Ohio, the organization’s group homes are licensed for up to 30 children ages 7 – 17, offers an on-campus school for grades 2 – 12 and provides a variety of clinical services to group home residents, foster care children and community members.

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Photo caption: The Marsh Foundation’s pond enhancement efforts are becoming evident with new docks and a sand volleyball court.

Former Marsh Foundation Youth Uses Skills to Succeed

103748064 1803517646456894 7103419680399409179 nVAN WERT, Ohio – Every child that is placed in a Marsh Foundation foster or group home has their own unique story. Each child uses their experience at The Marsh differently. Tori Petersen has used her year at The Marsh as a catalyst for advocacy and raising awareness for the restoration of family. Now a wife and mother, she has faced a challenging road to success.

When she first arrived at The Marsh Foundation, Petersen said she felt like she didn’t belong, which made her even more bitter and angry. However, after some counseling sessions she began to see how her upbringing was affecting her. “She [counselor] was so sweet to me but she was also very serious about showing me how my mental health and behaviors could be better. I realized I had a serious anxiety issue and had never addressed any of the trauma I had faced while living with my abusive biological mother,” she said.

At the age of four Petersen went into foster care because her mother was selling drugs with her boyfriend. Prior to coming to The Marsh, she was deemed ‘unplaceable’ by her caseworker. According to Petersen, one of her biggest lessons while in the group home was that she had leadership potential. “One of the most impactful ways The Marsh Foundation changed the way I viewed myself, is that it framed me as a leader. For the first time, I understood that I was a leader and I led the young women through my choices and actions. A person’s behaviors can change an entire culture,” she said.

“It was at The Marsh that I came to understand that hurt people hurt people, which made me grow in empathy,” she said. “But I witnessed healed people heal people; and as I stepped into the genesis of my healing journey, I wanted to do whatever work in myself necessary to contribute to the latter. I lived with nine other young women who had severe mental health issues or poor behaviors and I knew I could either be a part of the hurt or the healing.”

The lessons she took with her were many. This isn’t to say that all of Petersen’s difficulties were immediately and permanently resolved. She said she has realized that her reactions to situations are often severe. “Words of affirmation send me soaring while criticism pummels me to the ground. Neither reactions are healthy,” she said. Though this remains my greatest struggle to date, it was at The Marsh Foundation I became aware that my mom’s words in her times of mentally-ill-mania damaged me and I had, and still have, a lot to heal from.”

When asked for words of advice for today’s youth, she said that suffering can lead to positivity. “Adversity will sharpen you,” she said. “Use those sharp edges to sharpen yourself and others, rather than cut people the way people cut you. The things we do don't have to be big and grand. Most of our glory is not found on the stages or when everyone is watching. It is hidden in our rooms, during the times it is easiest for the trauma to show its face.”

Petersen and her husband Jacob have a toddler son and are expecting a baby girl. They mentor and foster a young man who was at risk of deportation. They are also currently working to launch a nonprofit with the hopes of helping young people develop leadership and life skills. She uses her voice as an influencer on Instagram @torihopepetersen and torihopepetersen.com where she raises awareness about the foster care system, adoption and family.

The Marsh Foundation is a not-for-profit children’s services agency that provides services in a variety of settings. Services include group homes, family foster care (ages 0-17), an intensive treatment program, adoption and independent living services. Located in Van Wert, Ohio, the organization’s group homes are licensed for up to 30 children ages 7 – 17, offers an on-campus school for grades 2 – 12 and provides a variety of clinical services to group home residents, foster care children and community members.

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Photo caption: Former group home resident, Tori Petersen, recently visited The Marsh Foundation campus.

Marsh Foundation School Hires Teacher

headshotlcVAN WERT, Ohio – Lauren Calvert is no stranger to The Marsh Foundation School. Hired by The Marsh residential division as a family teacher in 2016, she has worked in the school as a school family teacher since 2018. Now, she has been hired as a full-time math and language arts teacher. Calvert holds a bachelor’s degree in family studies, with a minor in psychology of human development as well as a master’s degree in social work. She recently completed testing and coursework to obtain her Alternative Resident Educator Licensure in order to teach.

Because of her work with the youth at The Marsh Foundation, Calvert is uniquely qualified for a teaching position within the school. She said she finds working with the youth rewarding and is looking forward to reaching them in a new way. “I have a passion working with the youth that we serve at The Marsh Foundation,” she said. “I have found how rewarding it is to see them progress in their treatment, grow in confidence and leadership within the group home, and also being able to see them feel proud when they earn good grades and understand what is being taught to them.”

Calvert said that she hopes her background in social work and family systems, combined with her experience working in the group homes will give her an advantage in the classroom. “Because I am new to teaching, my main goals are to continue to learn and grow, try new and different things, and to do my best to ensure that the students are successful,” she added.

Principal and director of education Robbie Breese is happy to have her expertise and experience in the classroom. “Lauren’s experience, education, willingness to grow, and her desire to work with the youth we serve made her a great candidate for this position.  I am confident that she will continue to be a great asset to our school team and look forward to watching her grow in this position,” he said.

The Marsh Foundation is a not-for-profit children’s services agency that provides services in a variety of settings. Services include group homes, family foster care (ages 0-17), an intensive treatment program, adoption and independent living services. Located in Van Wert, Ohio, the organization’s group homes are licensed for up to 30 children ages 7 – 17, offers an on-campus school for grades 2 – 12 and provides a variety of clinical services to group home residents, foster care children and community members.

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Photo caption: The Marsh Foundation School has hired Lauren Calvert as a math and language arts teacher.

 

Community Members Donate 100 Masks to Marsh Foundation Youth and Staff

Masks heartVAN WERT, Ohio – Those living in communal situations are at a higher risk of contracting COVID 19 because of their close proximity to others. When The Marsh expressed a need for protective masks, community members were quick to respond.

Director of residential services, Megan Tuttle, was impressed with the immediate offers to help that she received. “I love how in a time of need you can reach out to individuals and they selflessly help both the youth we serve as well as the employees that work at The Marsh Foundation,” she said. “Thank you is not a big enough declaration to express our gratitude for their generosity! It is so comforting to know that people care so much for our essential workers.”

Deb Bergdorf and mother – daughter team, Becca and Bryar Suever sewed and donated more than 100 masks between them. The masks will be used by both youth and staff in situations where there might be risk for exposure. “We are limiting off campus activities and doing as much as we can to avoid exposure, but we must be prepared for what might come,” Tuttle said.  

Bergdorf said she is proud to be able to help The Marsh. “Everyone deserves to feel protected and safe during these uncertain times and to have access to protection,” she said.

Becca Suever echoed those sentiments. “As cliché as it sounds, I decided to make masks to donate to set an example for my kids that when you can give, you do,” she said. She is happy that it became a family activity with her daughter. “It makes my heart happy to know that in 20 years when everyone talks about this time in history, her story will be how we spent time together sewing masks and donating them to help keep people safe and healthy.”

The Marsh Foundation is a not-for-profit children’s services agency that provides services in a variety of settings. Services include group homes, family foster care (ages 0-17), an intensive treatment program, adoption and independent living services. Located in Van Wert, Ohio, the organization’s group homes are licensed for up to 30 children ages 7 – 17, offers an on-campus school for grades 2 – 12 and provides a variety of clinical services to group home residents, foster care children and community members.

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Photo caption: Pictured are some of the masks donated to The Marsh Foundation by community members.

 

Marsh Foundation Youth Color Hearts for Essential Caregivers

Hospital donationVAN WERT, Ohio – The boys residing at Marsh Hall on The Marsh Foundation campus are more than aware of the current global pandemic and its affects on the community around them. As a thank you, they decided to color hearts and send them, along with a thank you note, to the Van Wert County Hospital.

The note began by saying, “Thank you for all the work you do for our community. We are all glad to have you guys as our caregivers and we could not get through this pandemic without you.”

Megan Tuttle, residential director at The Marsh was impressed by the boys’ initiative. “Empathy is one of the skills that we work on here at The Marsh. It was exciting to see the boys put that into practice in a relevant and kind way,” she said.

Each youth at Marsh Hall cut out and colored unique hearts to be displayed all over the hospital with the goal of bringing hope to the essential staff of the hospital. The note finished with, “We have made you these hearts. We hand colored each one and they are all special. Once again, thank you for all you do for our community.”

The Marsh Foundation is a not-for-profit children’s services agency that provides services in a variety of settings. Services include group homes, family foster care (ages 0-17), an intensive treatment program, adoption and independent living services. Located in Van Wert, Ohio, the organization’s group homes are licensed for up to 30 children ages 7 – 17, offers an on-campus school for grades 2 – 12 and provides a variety of clinical services to group home residents, foster care children and community members.

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Photo caption: Pictured is Ellen Rager, Director of Patient and Community Relations at Van Wert Health, accepting the donation of hearts from The Marsh Foundation youth.