THEM FROM AN UNCERTAIN AND UNPROMISING FUTURE. }
there was no food in the house. In the
small shabby living room, I noticed a
small tin heater, but no wood to start
a fire. The father? Perhaps he would
show up later. Perhaps not.”
Peacock was determined to do
He presented the idea of a home to
help children in similar circumstances
to his civic club. The story greatly
touched the hearts of the members.
A collection taken that night raised
$176, the seed money that grew into
the $40,000 that was used to purchase
the land and construct the home.
It’s since grown to a 140-acre cam-pus
that includes housing for boys and
girls, including two residences for teen
mothers, a working farm, a chapel,
and Thomas Academy, a public charter
school for grades 6-12.
Thomas Academy, in its fifth year,
is open to both residents and the com-munity.
The curriculum is specialized
to meet the needs of students who
have not found success in a traditional
public school setting. The main goal is
for each child to find and develop con-nection,
compassion, and character.
The school has a 100 percent gradu-ation
rate, including the 18 students
in the class of 2018.
“A few years ago, graduating from
high school was not in their future,”
Simmons went on to get a bache-lor’s,
master’s, and doctorate after leav-ing
Lake Waccamaw, and worked in
the public school system as a teacher,
principal and superintendent. He
came out of retirement to become the
vice president of education for Boys
and Girls Homes of North Carolina.
“Gary called me in one day and
said, “I’d like you to be the vice
president of education” and I thought
‘Wow, here’s a chance to come home.’
It just fell in my lap,” Simmons says.
“I signed a three-year contract five
years ago. I don’t know where that
contract is now. It is being home and
that’s why it’s so special because I
know what it did for me, I know what
we’re doing for kids that come here.”
Top: Boys & Girls Home alumna Jasmine Patrick
is in charge of foster care services. Above: Ian
Callahan was a resident from age 11 to 18. He
came back to become director of transitional
LAKESIDE SANCTUARY WAS THEIR HOME, AND THEY RETURNED