Community supporting Bashor Children's Home
ELKHART COUNTY, Ind. -- A local children's home that supports at-risk kids throughout the region is seeing an overwhelming amount of support from the community to keep their mission going.
Bashor Children's Home in Elkhart County has been a residential, educational and preventative service provider for at risk children throughout the state for the past 97 years.
So when the coronavirus pandemic came about, the state tasked them with creating an isolation zone where kids could live if they or their families contracted the illness, without spreading the illness to others on campus.
They say they were able to make the necessary changes within days all because the community immediately answered to help.
"We reached out to the community which has been so generous and gracious to us" says Director of Development, Steve Riikonen "People were making masks, donating face shields, making gowns for the staff to wear. We also reached out to Forrest River who loaned us a travel trailer cause the one thing our campus didn’t have was a shower for the kids.”
As this is considered an essential business--with 70 kids already living on campus plus many staff members a safe, clean quarantine space was an immediate need that Riikonen says was answered with no questions asked.
“We get into depressions and things get hard but we fight back and the one thing that always stands still it stands the test of time for Elkhart County is they respond to the need of the community"" says Riikonen "they are so very generous and so willing to help out where ever they can.”
And with 100 years of serving kids under their belt, daily intakes and services provided-- they cannot just shut down due to a pandemic.
“We have 70 kids to look after we can’t just say everyone is going home and working from home" says Riikonen "We still have to show up everyday.”
After working with the organization for 12 years, Riikonen says the Home's mission is simple and has kept him working hard day after day.
“The ability to be able to reach out and help kids who’ve been abused or neglected who are at risk in our community and give them hope” says Riikonen.
But to support their efforts it takes a village, especially if a child or family member were to contract the virus. So the isolation area comprised of the school not currently being used was essential backup.
“We sot up a whole area of our campus where we would be able to bring on of these children in and provide care for them even though they’ve been exposed to the virus without exposing the rest of our campus or kids and staff” says Riikonen.
But to continue, the group needed help and the community so generously responded.
Elkhart County and their small businesses have been providing PPE equipment for the residents and staff and Forest River even loaned them an RV so the kids potentially in isolation could have showering facilities!