By Stephen Judd & Margo Burton
During the past few years, all seven of our resident homes at the Mansion have been renovated. Several of them have undergone extreme makeovers, including reconfiguration of floor plans. The most recent improvement project was the completion of our redesign and remodeling of Townhouse, one of our three boys’ resident homes.
I am inserting some recent photos that portray this beautiful home. The upstairs includes the bedrooms and baths for the boys, and also a new houseparent apartment with exterior entrance.
A few days ago, Ken and Margo Burton spent a weekend with the Townhouse boys as relief houseparents. I asked Margo to write a report concerning their houseparenting experience.
By Margo Burton
A house full of boys always proves to be a house full of fun and energy. When you pass by the boy’s homes at the back of the campus of the Tupelo Children’s Mansion, you are likely to see a game of basketball, skateboards in use, or younger boys trading their latest, shiny cars. Recently, we were privileged to be responsible for the wonderful boys for the weekend who live in Townhouse. We were relieving the houseparent’s so that they could take a family vacation. We were sure that we would need two things for the weekend; plenty of planned activities and plenty of food for these growing boys.
Doing relief houseparenting is not a position that should be taken lightly. We are assuming the role of a parent, and we like to treat these children like we would our own. They need love, attention and instruction. This weekend proved to be an opportunity to teach boys how to run a riding lawn mower, put together a wagon, and proper etiquette needed to eat in a nice restaurant. We look at being with the children as a chance to help them with their laundry, or play a game of basketball. (My husband realized that he could not keep up with the boys like he used to, so he only played basketball with the boys one night).
When our shift was over that Sunday evening, we were physically exhausted, but our hearts were full. We were reminded again why we have worked at the Mansion for 20 years now. Even though we may not be able to do some things physically, we still have room in our hearts for children who need someone to say “good job”or“I love you.” We were also thankful that we were able to spend the weekend with Lee Jordan, a young man who had lived at the Mansion for 6 years. He was having the opportunity to be adopted into a beautiful family of his own.
A week later, I received a big hug at church during the prayer time around the altar from one of the youngest boys in Townhouse. As he squeezed me tight, I knew that this was his way of saying that he appreciated the little that we were able to do for the weekend. I knew at the moment that he felt content in his little heart. I am thankful for the staff at TCM who devote their lives daily to the care of these children, and we are thankful that we can do our part.