Adriel, the organization that provides services to children and families, has purchased the former Candy Cane Christmas Shoppe building in Burlington/Elmira.
Todd Hanes, Adriel chief executive officer, said by March 1, staff that currently works out of the organization’s offices on Co. Rd. F will move into the former school and Christmas shop building.
The selling price for the building, plus an additional parking lot, was $200,000, which was financed with donations.
Hanes said he could not reveal the identity of the donors, but said, “Our donors have always been very generous with us.
“If we didn’t have donors step forward for us, I don’t know if we could have done this.”
Adriel offers three types of services in 44 of Ohio’s 88 counties.
The first is foster care and adoption.
“We work with counties we have contracts with to provide temporary or permanent placements for children in need of a family setting,” Hanes said.
The second is family preservation, which Hanes described as helping families learn needed skills before Child Protective Services returns children to their families.
Adriel also provides visitation for families whose children have been removed, prior to reunification.
Visitation allows parents to practice the skills needed prior to reunification with their children.
The third is counseling services for children in foster care who have been traumatically separated from their families, and for parents of those children prior to reunification.
The former Christmas shop will not only allow Adriel staff to offer the services currently offered at the Co. Rd. F building, but expand them.
“With this space, we can offer training similar to what we offer in West Liberty,” he said.
That includes training for families seeking state licensure for foster care, as well as for adoptive parents.
Adriel also can offer programs for the community at large, such as training on opioid and heroin addiction.
“Elmira has a gym. That’s a lot of space we can use,” he said.
There are large rooms in the building that were formerly classrooms.
“They’re larger than we need, so we’ll hire some local contractors to divide the classrooms to make into office spaces,” Hanes said.
“We’ll have some local contractors looking at the HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) system, and we’ll have a local contractor come in and put a new roof on.
“It needs a few things, but it’s such a great space. It’s handicapped-accessible. Everything is on one level.
“We hope the building of the walls (to create office spaces) can begin as early as possible, as early as next week.”
Construction should be completed in January. The remaining time would be used to move equipment and office furniture.
Right now, at the Co. Rd. F office, “we’re doing what we can to prepare for the move.”
He praised the solid block construction, and said the former owners, Marvin and Sharon Lantz, had done a good job maintaining and updating the building.
For example, he said the Christmas shop featured a small café, which included the kitchen.
That space can be used to provide families with training in preparing meals in a family setting.
Adriel Foster Care has leased the office building at 22450 Co. Rd. F, owned by Steven and Julia Nafziger, trustees, rural Wauseon, since 1992.
Prior to that, the building was used as a computer center.
“We were very pleased with the property on Rd. F. We’ve had a great relationship with the landlords,” Hanes said.
Hanes said Adriel officials have been talking about moving into the former Elmira school since about September 2017.
“We had to do our discernment. That takes a while,” he said.
The organization that is today technically known as Adriel School, Inc., can trace its roots to 1896, when a couple began caring for abandoned children in a home in Orville.
It was then known as the Mennonite Orphan’s Home.
In 1900, the orphanage moved to West Liberty.
In 1954, the name was changed to Mennonite Children’s Home.
The name was changed to Adriel, which means “Flock of God” in Hebrew, in 1957.– David Pugh