Tuesday, March 29, 2011

CORY Place

A story I worked on last year for close to six months.


A 13-year-old Bay County girl watches as her mother leaves her at CORY Place for the temporary shelter care program. The two week program allows a time out for children to help resolve any issues they have at home or school. During the duration children are expected to continue attending school and to complete chores around the facility.

CORY Place

Being abused, forgotten, left, and kicked-out are what many teens face everyday. For those teens that experience this in Bay County there is a place to gain a second chance.

CORY Place Inc., 581 N. Scheurmann Rd in Essexville Mich., provides a home and services to homeless and runaway youth. They help children with problems at home or school and gives them a chance to take a break and clear the air.

"Sometimes it is because of a new girlfriend or boyfriend that mom or dad has brought home and they basically say it is either me or the kid," said CORY Place Inc Youth Director Kylee Strieter.

CORY Place also offers consoling services at schools to help reach out to children. Strieter said that children often are afraid to tell their parents that they want counseling. CORY Place can not diagnose or provide prescriptions, but can provide someone to listen to and provide that attention that youth often feel they do not receive.

Strieter, along with other counselors, travel to Hampton Elementary, 1908 West Youngs Ditch Rd., Handy Middle School, 601 Blend St., and Bay City Central High School, 1624 Columbus Ave.

Bay City Central's Dean of Students and school counselor Anita Shillair has found CORY Place's presence extremely helpful in the past 10 years.

"They need a presence in the community that they (students) know is available, " said Shillair.

With school breaks, summer vacations and a high number of students Shillair admits that the extra counselors help reach more students.

CORY Place offers an open door counseling service to the schools. They come in and take care of the crisis and open a line of communication between the student and parents.

In the past 10 years that CORY Place has been offering their services to Bay City Central Shillair remembers two different occasions that students lives were changed.

On two different instances, two students were able to get out of bad situations and stay at CORY Place. The two graduated from Bay City Central High School and went to college on scholarships.

CORY Place does receive donations to help cloth the children that stay for the transitional living program. A basement full of clothes offers a ray of selection incase the child that is staying have none other than what they are wearing. " I know they are not the coolest clothes but we are starting to get some brand names in and the kids seem to be a little excited by that," said Strieter.

Along with personal donations such as clothes and canned food CORY Place receives donations and their funding from the United Way of Bay City, HUD, Michigan Department of Human Services, the Federal Government.

CORY Place also reaches out to the streets to help children that may not know about their services.

Residents and CORY Place officials comb the streets to try and find runaway teenagers that may need a one night stay."If they refuse to come back to CORY Place we provide them with one of our little green bags."

In the green bag the materials range from a nutritional snack to hygienic materials to help keep clean. In the colder months a hat and gloves are provided.

If a child does decide to come back to the shelter, there are two different programs that help with the stipulations that come with each child. For the younger children, beginning at 10 years old, there is a two-week program. For the older participants, 17-20 years-old, there is a two-year program.


Anthony Pershing, 19, of Oakland County dances his way across the dinning hall before doing his chores after group therapy Monday April 19. After group therapy on Mondays the group will conclude the meetings by completing chores.

The temporary shelter care (TSC) is a 14 day program that allows children to have a break from the problems of school and home. " During the two week program we have the children continue to complete chores and continue to go to school so they do not get comfortable or lazy during their stay," said Strieter. During the stay group sessions are held with parents and their kids to try and resolve any issues that can range from abuse or thoughts of suicide.

"We give them a neutral party to listen to instead of the he-said she-said they experience a lot."

With older participants, the two year program allows them to restart their life. The transitional living program (TLP) is designed for homeless youth from 17 to 20 years old. "We want to prepare them to live on their own," said Strieter. The teenagers will buy their own food, find a job and enroll in school if they are not enrolled yet.

"Sometimes they have a difficulty living by themselves so we give them that stable person to lean on."


A selection of residents of CORY Place walk back from McDonalds in Bay City to make it back to their group session on Monday night. The group sessions helps teens work out standing issues that may be caused by problems at work, school or at home.


Nicole McBride:

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CORY Place resident Nicole McBride smiles while in her room at Cory Place in Bay City. Between time at school, at Bay Arena Community High School, and her time at CORY Place McBride participates in the street outreach program. The program reaches children and teens that are out on the street and have no place to stay for the night. McBride has been with CORY Place for over a year and plans on taking the next step with her live when she movies out into her own place in Beaverton in October.

"I remember my first night I could not sleep at all," said Nicole McBride about the first night she stayed at CORY Place. She stayed up all night writing her mother letters telling her that she had changed and wished that everything would be normal again. McBride says since her year at CORY Place that her relationship with her mom has grown and that she frequently visits her.

After staying once before at CORY Place when she was 13 Nicole McBride, 18, of Beaverton has always had CORY Place in the back of her head. When problems persisted and foster care homes kept kicking her out it became more of a reality. After stints in jail, juvenile and foster homes McBride feels more at home at CORY Place.

With a charge on her record McBride says it is harder finding a job and doing the things she wishes she could. "Now that I have a little charge on my record I can not join the National Guard...It makes finding a job hard and it makes life a little harder."

It has taken McBride two years to gather things from her childhood from Beaverton to CORY Place in Bay City.

"I don't think he was ready to let go of me," said McBride about her grandfather, Robert Hoermann, that helped raise her and her sister, Melissa McBride, 20.

"I was writing letters to my mom about how sorry I was and how I let her down and got in trouble again. I told her now that I am here I am going to make it a new start , a new change and be a better person."

McBride has started to change while staying in the TLP program at CORY Place. McBride and her mother have been fixing their relationship and often visit each other when they have the time.

"At that point in time in our life, it was a lot of stress off of me because there had been so much tension and so much that was not good at the time, " said Nicole's mother Toni Baird of Beaverton.

Baird admits that Nicole's time at CORY has really been rewarding, but wishes that it would have come five years earlier. Baird feels that with her time at CORY Place communication between her and her daughter have opened up. We talk about everything, there is nothing we can't talk about. Two years ago; there were things you could not talk with her, she was her own person said Baird.

With CORY Place they allow you to be yourself, said Baird. She has grown up in the last two years.

McBride has shown signs of growing up. McBride helps with the street outreach program to help people that may be in the same situation she was once in. " What I do is put up flyers and hand out emergency kits with cleaning stuff in it food and drink in it."

While attending Bay Arenac Community High School,1608 Hudson St, in Essexville McBride has received many academic awards. From 'Student of the Week' in February to the Golden Quill award for excellence in writing. The award that sticks out is an appreciation award taped atop both of the awards.

The Appreciation Award for a strong act of kindness.

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Various awards won by CORY Place resident Nicole McBride, 18, of Beaverton since becoming a resident at CORY Place.

At Bay Arenac Community High School hot lunch is provided from St. John the Evangelist School, 619 Main St. which is located right down the road from Bay Arenac. McBride offered to help the lunch attended, Esther, carry some of the lunches from the car into the school.

"I just thought of it as a small favor and help her out. The kids would bombard her and then leave. I just thought I would help her out," said McBride.

McBride's goal is to stay at CORY Place until December and get her own place closer to home and try to work things out with her mom a little better. Right now Nicole works with her mother in Beaverton at the Beaverton Dairy Bar, 301 Ross St. in the summer while on summer vacation.

On June 9 Nicole will do something that she thought she would never do. Nicole will graduate from Bay Arenac Community High School at Essexville Garber High School, 213 Pine St. in Essexville at 10:00 a.m.

"I have no doubt that she will accomplish what she wants to do," said Superintend of Bay Arenac Community High School Dr.Ryan Dollan.

Dollan wishes that Nicole will make visits back to the school to help provide a role model for future generations of students at the school.

Nicole plans to attend Mid Michigan Community College in Mount Pleasant to help her become an english teacher.


Toni Baird of Beaverton stands with her daughter Nicole after her graduation presentation for Bay Arenac Community High School. Baird drove from Beaverton to she her daughter graduate from High School.

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