In 1871 in Louisville, we began as the Widows and Orphans Home of the Methodist Episcopal Church South. The mission began as a result of the large number of widows and orphans resulting from the Civil War. Through the years, as widows became more self-sufficient, we became an orphanage.
In 1931, we moved in response to the overcrowded conditions at our Louisville property, to a 251 acre farm in Versailles, Kentucky.Fifty-six children and a small staff relocated. Pictured at right is the main homestead named after the governor, the Crittenden building.
Then in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, as more foster homes became available for orphaned children, we changed our focus to be in service to young people with histories of abuse, neglect and/or family trauma.
Our goal is to help them emotionally and behaviorally. In 1984, we acquired the Mary Kendall Home in Owensboro and we renamed it the Mary Kendall Campus of The Kentucky United Methodist Homes for Children and Youth.
After the citywide revival, the ladies of Owensboro Bible Club formed the Women's Christian Association (WCA), which was led by Mrs. Mary Kendall. The Mary Kendall Home was opened by these ladies in 1904.
In a letter dated 1929, written by Mary Kendall, she said, "Through the activities of this body, with the Bible Club, a rescue home for unfortunates among women and children came into life; the women, to show their love and appreciation of my labors in their midst, called this home The Mary Kendall Home." She added, "It would have been more pleasing to me had others given these facts, for I feel unworthy of the honor bestowed.
The Mary Kendall Home was purchased in 1984 and became a part of The Kentucky United Methodist Homes for Children and Youth, under the direction of Dr. Donald Durham. The Mary Kendall Home came into existence because of an effort spearheaded by United Methodist Women, therefore, it is fitting that we would incorporate Mary Kendall.
The Mary Kendall Campus of The Kentucky United Methodist Children's Homes serves a similar purpose as it did when it was established: to help those children and families who have had difficult lives. We are serving more children and providing more services than ever before. All of this is possible because years ago, women who were compassionate Christians united to help desperate women and children.
After 85 years in Versailles, we recognized that the way we served children had changed dramatically. We began serving children not just through intensive residential care, but also through community-based substance disorder treatment and in-home crisis intervention. KyUMH enacted a plan to expand and develop these innovative programs on a new campus. In 2016, we broke ground on a new property in Nicholasville, Ky. The new campus was fully operational as of March of 2018.
For more information on the Nicholasville campus and the Build With Us capital campaign, click here.