Support Archives - OhioGuidestone

“I’ve Seen Miracles” — Finding Hope in the Foster Care Forest

“When we met her, she was a lifeless infant. Now she is the best version of herself.”

That’s how OhioGuidestone foster parent Theresa Howard describes little Tia. Theresa and her husband Jerome met Tia when she was just six weeks old, with her birth mother nowhere to be found.

Tia was in bad shape and had a very grim prognosis due to her birth mother using drugs while pregnant. Doctors prepared Theresa and Jerome for a losing fight. Tia faced an uphill battle, including multiple surgeries, no control of her bowels and possible paralysis.

“We held her that night in the hospital and knew we had to do something for this little girl,” said Theresa. “We told the social worker to schedule our training because Tia was coming home with us.”

Theresa worked as a Child Support Investigator for Lorain County and saw firsthand the need for more foster families. Her sister and brother-in-law were foster parents with OhioGuidestone, so Theresa knew it was an agency that offered support and resources to its foster families.

Theresa began taking in children with medical needs. It’s a difficult, yet very important role in the foster care system, according to OhioGuidestone’s Foster Care trainer and recruiter, Holly Spencer-Trueman. And help is available.

“These kids often have medical issues serious enough to need a parent with extra training specific to their unique needs,” said Holly. “They might have a chronic childhood illness like diabetes or cystic fibrosis. One of the great assets of our unique program is that we have a nurse on staff fully dedicated to our foster families. If you have a child with medical needs in your home you can count on a close working relationship with them.”

Not all OhioGuidestone foster homes cater to children with medical needs. Some homes accept children with treatment level needs. They require high levels of supervision, very likely have their own mental health diagnosis and may need medication. For parents, it requires patience, structure and consistency in parenting style.

Nikki Schiro always knew she wanted to foster kids, but it took her many years to make the life-changing leap. In fact, a conversation over coffee with another OhioGuidestone foster parent helped her realize the time was right.

“She shared with me how OhioGuidestone provides extra resources that help both the kids and the parents,” said Schiro. “We have a weekly support group with fellow foster care parents who have experiences with the challenges I am facing in my home.”

Nikki fosters kids with treatment level needs, and says her greatest reward is seeing how children’s views on their future can change and brighten. “A boy once said to me, ‘I can’t wait until 10th grade, so I can quit school”, recalled Schiro. “Two months later, he said he wanted to get a doctorate degree, study computer science and drive a Tesla.”

Theresa agrees, saying the thing that brings the biggest smile and warms her heart is seeing kids overcome obstacles and begin to thrive. “With medically fragile kids, we so often hear they will never walk, never eat orally, but I have seen some miracles,” recounted Theresa. “And if they are able to get back to their homes, seeing them shine is amazing.”

Tia’s story is following a similar path. She is now five years old and has been adopted by Theresa and Jerome. She has endured seven surgeries and had her foot amputated. She faces more medical procedures ahead, yet she isn’t slowing down.

“She is smart as a whip and has been wheeling herself around in her wheelchair since she was the age of two,” exclaimed Theresa. “She has beat every odd she faced and is a tiny, but mighty force.”

Evolution Gala Set to Return on September 25, 2021


Evolution Gala Set to Return on September 25, 2021

OhioGuidestone Announces Emcee, Honorees and Theme

BEREA, OHIO, July 6, 2021– OhioGuidestone, one of the largest behavioral health agencies in the state, today announced the date of its biennial Evolution Gala, presented by Fifth Third Bank and emceed by Betsy Kling, WKYC Channel 3 news anchor and chief meteorologist. The sold out, black-tie optional event will take place on Saturday, September 25 at 6:30 p.m. at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Evolution Gala, the nonprofit’s premier fundraiser, brings together leaders from the region’s corporate and philanthropic communities in celebration and support of OhioGuidestone’s mission to provide individuals of all ages with pathways to growth, achievement and lifelong success.

This year’s event aims to highlight the agency’s Workforce 360° program and will recognize the following corporations and individuals for their commitment to workforce development in the community:

  • Corporate Honoree – Fifth Third Bank, accepted by Northern Ohio Regional President Joseph DiRocco
  • Community Honoree – Brandon Chrostowski, Founder, President and CEO of EDWINS Leadership & Restaurant Institute
  • Sports Honoree – Cleveland Browns Tight End Austin Hooper
  • Workforce 360° Honoree – Comprehensive Case Management and Employment Program (CCMEP) Graduate Breawnna Snowberger

“OhioGuidestone’s Workforce 360° program does so much to provide youth with the skills and support needed to remove barriers to employment, and I am honored to receive this award,” said Hooper. “Resources like this are so important, especially to children who age out of the foster care system. This is near and dear to my heart, as the Austin Hooper Foundation’s mission is to help these kids find their passion and a career to be self-sustaining, productive members of society.”

OhioGuidestone’s Workforce 360° program provides supportive services to help individuals secure and maintain meaningful employment through nationally recognized occupational trainings, academic assistance, leadership development, financial literacy, paid-work experience, case management, and placement and retention services.

“OhioGuidestone and Workforce 360° provided me with the resources, and I had to drive to put in the work and become a business owner,” said Snowberger.

Proceeds from the Evolution Gala will support OhioGuidestone’s Workforce 360° program. Attendees of the event will be treated to a gourmet meal, dinner, dancing, exclusive live and silent auctions, tours of Rock Hall exhibits, live music from Monica Robins & The Whiskey Kings, and more.

Evolution Gala is sponsored Fifth Third Bank (presenting sponsor), WKYC Channel 3 (media sponsor), Blue Technologies and Medical Mutual.



About OhioGuidestone

OhioGuidestone, a leader in the field of behavioral health, has been helping individuals throughout Ohio reset their paths, reclaim their autonomy and restore their purpose for more than 157 years. The nonprofit, Berea-based organization connects individuals with the resources needed to achieve lifelong success, providing community counseling, substance use disorder treatment, early childhood mental health services, workforce development training, foster care services and more. Connect with us on, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or by calling 440-260-8303.



She Won’t Be a Statistic: One Family’s Story of Perseverance in the Face of Tragedy

Statistics show kids whose parents commit suicide are almost twice as likely to kill themselves as those whose parents are still alive. For Maria Brenders, it was a sobering and terrifying realization. In 2017, her husband took his own life, leaving her a widow and their three children fatherless. It was a difficult and dark time, but she was determined to help change that course for her children.

“I would sit in my room and do research on the effects of suicide on children,” recalled Brenders. “My husband’s father committed suicide and he never got the needed help. I did not want my kids to become another statistic.”

Brenders’ oldest daughter, Adriana, was just 11 years old at the time and already struggling with her father’s suicide. She wanted to take action to make sure her daughter didn’t become another statistic. Brenders set Adriana up with OhioGuidestone therapists through the agency’s school based programming. She was able to meet with her therapist during the school day to receive much needed support and counseling. The arrangement made scheduling a lot easier and helped remove potential barriers to critical services.

“The help I received from OhioGuidestone has taught me that even though you may feel hopeless, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel,” said Adriana. “When I speak to people who struggle as I have, I tell them that there is so much more in life for you to see!” Brenders added, “In my opinion, being a parent is the hardest job in the entire world and the help I received from OhioGuidestone has taught me that I did not have to fight for my child’s life alone — OhioGuidestone will fight with you.”

Brenders isn’t just a proud mother; she is also a proud business owner. Her concept started with a bake sale to help her daughter raise money to visit an aunt in Texas. When Brenders got rave reviews on her sweet treats, she decided to pursue something bigger. Today, the award-winning Three Girls Cupcakes Shoppe is located in downtown Berea and her daughters spend time in the kitchen, helping grow the family business.

To commemorate OhioGuidestone’s 157th birthday this March, the Shoppe offered a special Mahogany Cupcake, with 50% of the proceeds going to support OhioGuidestone’s mission and programs. For Brenders, it was an easy decision to lend her support to the agency she says saved her family. It was her chance to give back.

“I would do anything for OhioGuidestone. I owe my daughter’s life to her therapist – without her support and guidance, I truly believe Adriana would have lost her battle to live,” said Brenders. Her family suffered an unimaginable tragedy but thanks to their resilience and resources from OhioGuidestone, they have been able to reclaim their joy and move forward as a family. Adriana, now 14, is doing well and planning to go into cosmetology. A future that seemed uncertain is now much clearer.

NewsyMom: OhioGuidestone Adds Two Services to Support Recovery

OhioGuidestone, one of the largest behavioral health agencies in the state, has added two new options to help people find their path to recovery in Tuscarawas and Carroll counties: a Hope Line; and a Peer Recovery Responder.

Both services are free and confidential to help people get answers to overcoming substance use disorders and addictions. They feature live interactions, providing support for those seeking help.

Newsy Mom recently shared details on each of the new services and how they are helping change lives.


Healthy Living News: With A Renewed Mind, recovery works

There are many agencies available to treat Northwest Ohioans who battle addiction and mental illness. Then there is A Renewed Mind.

You can read more about how A Renewed Mind is making a positive impact in Northwest Ohio.

Learn how you can help OhioGuidestone

Crisis line: 440.260.8595 Follow us: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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