EARLY 65 YEARS
after its founding,
now known as
the Boys and Girls Homes of North
Carolina is still saving the lives of vul-nerable
children by serving as a sanc-tuary,
a place of refuge and rescue.
“We do this for the love of kids,”
says Gary Faircloth, president and
CEO and a resident from 1964-66.
“We believe in the inherent good-ness
of every child. They can do great
These are kids from the worst imag-inable
circumstances. Most have been
through multiple foster homes.
“They are referred by DSS (the
Department of Social Services) because
of severe abuse and neglect,” Faircloth
says. “Typically our children have
been through 10-15, sometimes 20-25
placements, that revolving door, before
they come here. So there’s a lot of
abuse history there.”
A 10-question quiz called the
Adverse Childhood Experiences test
measures exposure to abuse, neglect,
and dysfunction in the home, includ-ing
substance abuse, mental illness,
and parental separation. A score of 4
means a child is more likely to engage
in dangerous behaviors, drop out of
school, and will be prone to future
behavioral and health risks as an adult.
The average score of residents at the
Boys and Girls Homes is 6.7.
“We’re trying to break cycles, break
generational cycles of abuse and
neglect,” Faircloth says.
It was the Christmas season in 1953
when Whiteville funeral home direc-tor
A.D. Peacock was notified that a
woman had died. He went to the run-down
house in the poor part of town
and was shocked by what he found.
“No one was at home except seven
cold, hungry children — all between 4
and 12 years old — and their mother
lying in a casket,” he later wrote. “In
order to keep warm, the seven chil-dren
had gone to bed, their only cover
being ragged quilts and burlap bags.
They had gone to bed hungry, for
Top: Tom Simmons, the seventh boy admitted
after the home opened in 1954, returned to
become vice president of education. Above:
Gary Faircloth, the president and CE0, was a
resident from 1964-66. Right: Thomas Academy,
a public charter school on the Boys & Girls Home
campus, is open to residents and the community.
MANY STAFF MEMBERS ARE ALUMNI. THE LAKESIDE TO GIVE BACK TO A PLACE THAT SAVED THEM }n