Rev. Julie Hager Love
Nicholasville, Ky (March 18, 2021) – For 150 years, the Kentucky United Methodist Children’s Homes (KyUMH) has been a home for thousands of Kentucky children who have experienced abuse, neglect, and trauma. The ministry started as a single building in downtown Louisville housing a few dozen children. Today, it serves 800-1,000 youth and families annually via campuses in Lexington, Nicholasville and Owensboro. KyUMH celebrates the anniversary of its founding on March 18.
“Reaching 150 years is an incredible milestone,” said Rev. Julie Hager Love, President and CEO of KyUMH. “It is the legacy of our supporters who have sustained our mission to serve Christ by providing for the physical, emotional, educational and spiritual needs of children and families.”
Since the beginning, KyUMH has been a home for youth with nowhere else to turn. It originally was home to orphans from the Civil War. Now, the youth that KyUMH serves are referred through the state foster care system. They have had deeply traumatic childhoods, having experienced abuse or neglect from their families of origin, or even adoptive or foster families. Through KyUMH's holistic programs, they can heal from their trauma and regain their self-esteem.
One such youth is Brandon. As the second oldest of nine children, with both his parents working outside the home, Brandon felt his emotional needs were not met as a child. From a young age, he was solely responsible for managing household chores under the strict. He was in and out of foster homes, and arrived at KyUMH at age sixteen to heal from the pain of being separated from his family over and over again. Initially withdrawn and hesitant to trust others, Brandon soon found a loving, safe community at KyUMH. "The staff genuinely cared for me and wanted to help me as much as possible," he said of his experience. Through compassionate counseling and other creative treatment outlets like gardening and cooking, Brandon advanced through the program and graduated with a strong sense of purpose. He now is focused on his future goals of entrepreneurship and owning his own home. "Having patience and being able to work as a team with others are some of the biggest skills I learned. I am equipped for life much better than I was before I came to KyUMH," Brandon said. He is just one example of thousands of young people whose lives have been changed for the better.
There is an ever-growing need for KyUMH's services. Kentucky has the highest rate of child abuse nationwide, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Child Maltreatment Report. Twenty out of every 1,000 children were victims of abuse and neglect in 2019.
“It’s a terrible statistic, but our history and experience have prepared us for the challenge,” said Rev. Love. “We have not only survived, but thrived through the Great Depression, two world wars, the Spanish Flu pandemic, and the COVID-19 pandemic. We will continue to care for these children who need a place to heal from their trauma.”
KyUMH will be celebrating their 150th year of hope all year long. Supporters can find ways to celebrate at a distance at kyumh.org/150.
About the Kentucky United Methodist Children’s Homes
When the Methodist Church founded KyUMH in 1871, they began by caring for widows and orphans left behind after the Civil War. Over the next 100 years, the Kentucky United Methodist Children’s Homes (KyUMH) shifted from an orphanage to a treatment home for youth in the foster care system who had experienced abuse or neglect and needed a place to heal. Today, KyUMH offers a variety of programs to 800-1,000 youth each year, including a residential treatment program for youth ages 12-17, an independent living program for young adults ages 18-21 and community-based services that offer counseling, case management and home monitoring for youth and their families. In addition, KyUMH offers an adoption program for families adopting internationally or domestically. For more information, visit kyumh.org