Oklahoma United Methodist Circle of Care has been named Organization of the Year by the United Methodist Association of Health and Welfare Ministries (UMA).
Barrel racing is a highlight at the Boys Ranch Rodeo on Oct. 16.
"We are tremendously honored to be recognized nationally by UMA for the work we do here in Oklahoma," said Circle of Care Board Chairman Lissa Wright in late November.
The Organization of the Year Award is part of the UMA Celebration of Excellence program. Honorees will be recognized in March at the UMA Annual Convention in San Antonio, Texas.
Circle of Care was recognized for providing programs and services to at-risk children, youths, and families in Oklahoma. The agency’s programs include the United Methodist Children’s Home in Tahlequah; the United Methodist Boys Ranch in Gore; Holsinger Home for Children in Enid; Pearl’s Hope, a transitional program for homeless women and their children in Tulsa; and the statewide Child SHARE foster care program.
At a time of increased demand for services amid a faltering economy, Circle of Care has managed to both tighten its belt and help even more people in need.
The Independent Living Program, an extension of the residential programs at the Boys Ranch and Children’s Home, has grown from serving five youths in 2006 to more than 80 in the first half of 2010. These teens and young adults now have the opportunity to make the transition into full adulthood with the structure, support, and Christian values of the Circle of Care.
Child SHARE has more than doubled the number of foster children served since 2006 and, over the 11 years of the program’s existence, 175 children have been adopted by their Child SHARE foster parents. The program is spreading on a regional basis throughout Oklahoma, through partnerships with UM churches.
In 2008, Pearl’s Hope for homeless women and their children was established—and filled to capacity in its first week. This program has remained full.
A dedicated staff and board of directors ensure that all the agency’s programs are delivered to the highest standards; Circle of Care was re-accredited in 2009 by EAGLE and COA (Council on Accreditation).
For Circle of Care, this is the third time in five years to be honored by UMA. Previous recognition came in the Local Congregation Partner category (with Asbury United Methodist Church in Tulsa), and the Hall of Fame in Philanthropy (Circle of Care Vice Chairman David Beal)