Cecil Whig 11/16/2015

Deep Roots dedicates education center

Posted: Sunday, November 15, 2015 8:08 pm | Updated: 2:01 pm, Mon Nov 16, 2015.

By Cheryl Mattix cmattix@cecilwhig.com

EARLEVILLE — Joy and gratitude took center stage Saturday afternoon as residents and supporters gathered at Clairvaux Farm to dedicate an education building aimed at changing lives of families in the community who face homelessness.

The newly dedicated education center has been a long time coming for Deep Roots at Clairvaux Farm. Deep Roots took over the 20-acre farm in January 2014 after previous owner Meeting Ground put it up for sale, changing its own mission to focus on helping homeless adults transition to permanent housing and jobs.

Deep Roots, a nonprofit, focuses its mission on children and their families and is run by a board of directors and supporters, many of whom had witnessed homelessness themselves as children at Meeting Ground.

A spiritual gathering in the chapel at Clairvaux Farm was punctuated Saturday by a talk from former U.S. Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest and several personal success stories from residents and former residents.

“There’s no truer essence of what God wants us to do but to reach out and help another person,” Gilchrest said.

Gilchrest, who has been a longtime supporter of the mission at Clairvaux Farm, commended Deep Roots for instilling values in children.

“If children can learn strong values, they’ll be able to carry them throughout their lives,” he said. “There’s nothing more important than to teach a child to love, trust and have confidence.”

Ed Oceanic, president of Deep Roots at Clairvaux Farm, thanked supporters and volunteers for getting the building done and for believing in the mission.

“It’s taken a lot of work and a lot of love during almost two years,” he said. “Today, we are housing 10 families with 20 children.”

In the first eight months of 2015, Deep Roots has helped 20 families, enabling 12 families to move on to permanent homes in the community.

When Deep Roots took over the farm, many of the buildings had fallen in disrepair and the future education building was just a shell.

Now they’ve been able to renovate all the residence buildings and finish the interior of the education building, which will be called the LIFE Center (Learning Involves Formative Experience).

The hope of the board of directors is to be able to provide homework help in the education building through a partnership with Bohemia Manor High School, as well as other educational experiences, such as teaching the children to cook and grow their own food in a large garden near the building.

“An educated, loved and mentored child won’t become a homeless adult,” Oceanic said.

Clairvaux Farm Manager John Harris thanked donors and supporters who attended the dedication.

“This building will change some lives,” Harris said.

The Rev. Carl Mazza, who started Meeting Ground more than 30 years ago, remains involved in Deep Roots and its mission to help homeless children.

“Today, we’re not really dedicating a building,” he said. “We’re dedicating ourselves to the great task of helping our children. We have to work together to finish this mission.”

Thanksgiving & Christmas – Holiday Events

Below is our schedule of holiday events and service for the families of our community experiencing homelessness or otherwise in need. We welcome your participation in any of these activities and programs, or just to come and be part of the fellowship! Please call the office for more information.

Postcard October 2015_Crop

• November 14th – Open House and Dedication of Children’s Educational Building will be from 1 pm to 4 pm with the Dedication Service at 3 pm. Our speaker for the Dedication is Wayne Gilchrest, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1991-2009. Please bring a canned food item for Thanksgiving Baskets. [Donations needed for thanksgiving baskets: Turkeys, cranberry sauce, potatoes (instant or real), canned goods, stuffing, dessert, etc.] Please come to see the remarkable progress we have made on the entire facility over the summer.

• November 23rd – Pick-up and delivery of Thanksgiving baskets for families in need in the community. Drivers are very much needed.

• November 26th – Thanksgiving Dinner at Clairvaux Farm from 2 pm to 4 pm – all from the community are welcome! All meals served at Clairvaux Farm, every day, are open for anyone to come.

• Christmas adopt a family – We currently have 12 families on the farm, and 8 families that have moved into permanent housing this year. In addition we are receiving a number of calls for assistance from families in the community. Please contact the Clairvaux Farm office if you are interested in learning more.

• December 19th – Deep Roots’ Christmas Event for the Children, 11 am to 4 pm at Clairvaux Farm. (Each month, year round, Deep Roots has an educational or fellowship event for the children.)

• Christmas Eve Service, 4:00 pm in the Chapel at Clairvaux Farm.

• Christmas Day Dinner at Clairvaux Farm from 2 pm to 4 pm – all from the community are welcome!

• New Year’s Day Service in the chapel (time to be announced)

Our Fall 2015 Letter

Fall Letter 2015 (hardcopy download)

Dear Mission Partners:

We are writing to you, as we anticipate the coming colder months. We need, and are so very grateful for, your ongoing support and partnership to make our work possible. Coming out of a very busy summer, in which our shelter has been full to overflowing, our cash is very low and our need is growing as we look toward the coming winter season.
Deep Roots’ mission is not primarily a program, rather it is a passion: a desire to intervene in the chaos that befalls children who are homeless. The heart of our mission is in our relationships with the children and their families. Above any other help we can offer, the hand and heart of loving friendship is what it’s all about.

It has not been yet two years since we worshiped together in the chapel to celebrate the re-opening of Clairvaux Farm (January 1, 2014) In the past 20 months we have rebuilt the residence buildings, increasing the housing capacity by 25%. As we write this letter, there are 12 families with children experiencing homelessness in residence. In the past 8 months of 2015 alone we have:

  • Served a total of 20 families consisting of 33 adults and 35 children, providing 5,415 bed-nights
  • Twelve (12) families have moved into permanent housing: 14 adults & 15 children.
  • Served 11,834 served from April thru August alone (We weren’t counting meals before April)
  • 42 additional children are being served though our Mentoring Program, which brings children & young people who have been homeless together in monthly outings for education, nurture, and fellowship.
  • Through the generosity of the United Methodist Spain Fund and the Cecil County Retired Teachers Association, 20 children in the Deep Roots program were sponsored this summer to a week at Camp Pecometh..

We nurture a spirit of joy; our aim is to strengthen the confidence of young people who live with enough fear and insecurity, supporting them in every way to grow into a flourishing adulthood. As we approach the season of Thanksgiving and Christmas, please remember these with us. We need your help as much as possible this season as we are still working hard to stabilize and sustain the program of Deep Roots at Clairvaux Farm for many years ahead. Thanks always for your consideration and generosity.

Pressing Summer Needs

Please help as you can to re-stock our kitchen, bathroom, cleaning & personal hygiene needs. As Clairvaux Farm is currently filled over capacity with families, and we have a steady stream of mission trips and work groups, our need has quickly outpaced the supplies we had on hand.  Anything you or your church or group can do to help right now would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks!

Dish Detergent
Mr. Clean
Bathroom cleaning supplies
Disinfecting Wipes
Liquid Laundry Detergent
Hand Soap Refill (non-foamiing)
Paper Towels
Toilet Paper
Body Wash (men’s and women’s)
Sanitary Napkins and Tampons
Tall Kitchen Trash Bags
30 & 39 gallon Trash Bags
Baby Wipes
Shower Liners
Paper Plates, plastic ware
Solo Cups

Update for May, 2015

• Clairvaux Farm is full to overflowing with 11 families experiencing homelessness who are currently in residence. In the past year and a half we have made outstanding progress in our mission, particularly at Clairvaux Farm. When we began there in January, 2014 we faced the daunting task of repairing, renovating, and reconstructing all the residence buildings. As of May, 2015 these renovations are complete and we have achieved out housing capacity of 10 homeless families with children (yes, we accept even more when we have a couple of smaller families who can share an apartment.)

We have also made excellent progress on completing renovations on our new “Education Building” which will be completed by mid-summer, with the help of church youth mission trips.

• Camp Pecometh Scholarships are being generously offered to every child in the Deep Roots program in addition to all children in residence at Clairvaux Farm. We are encouraging every family to send their children to experience this potentially life-changing experience of Christian camp. We are still looking for additional funds to support families who need to purchase clothing, swimwear, and other necessities so their children can attend.

• We have a busy schedule of church mission groups and work camps scheduled for the summer. These young people and adults will work side by side with persons in residence at Clairvaux Farm to complete renovations and update the buildings and grounds. We are also planning to add enhancements to the playground including a covered bike rack, picnic area, and secure fencing for toddlers. There are still a few weeks open this summer for your church youth group to come and participate in building relationships and ongoing friendships with other children and young people at Clairvaux Farm.

• We now have the following Homeless Prevention Services in place at Clairvaux Farm:

♦ Count Your Blessings Exchange (Clothing for all ages / Household goods)
Every Saturday and 1st & 3rd Thursdays 9 am – noon

♦ “Faith in Action” Emergency Food Pantry 1st & 3rd Thursdays 8 am – 12 noon

♦ Furniture Barn (Used furniture available to families in need) Call 410-275-2194 for information

♦ Clairvaux Café (Providing meals & fellowship to any person or family)
Every Day in the Dining Hall – All invited Lunch: Noon-12:45 Dinner: 6:00-6:45

All above are free of charge / Families & singles are welcome!

For information or to inquire about volunteering, call or email:
Main Office Phone: 410-275-2194
Email: info@deeprootsinc.org
Mailing Address: PO Box 113, Earleville, MD 21919
Clairvaux Farm Address: 21 Veazey Cove Rd., Earleville MD 21919
Website: www.DeepRootsInc.org

Spring 2015 Newsletter

Link to Deep Roots’ Spring 2015 Newsletter:  Spring Newsletter 2015

It’s been a busy Winter season! We have five families experiencing homelessness in residence at Clairvaux Farm, and as you read this a Mission Trip group from Nazareth College (Rochester, NY) is working hard with local volunteers to [at last!] complete the renovations on our final four family rooms in the Residence Building and we will reach full capacity. We have been working hard for months to reach this point, gathering funds and volunteers. It is a joy to be so close to completion.

Please continue to keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we enter the summer season with a strong schedule of Mission Trip groups who will be helping complete the construction of our Education Building. This will provide dedicated space for the children and young people to study, do homework, browse the children’s library – in a space which they will know is devoted to helping them secure their futures. Parents also will have a place to work on resumes, job search, and other personal business so essential in this high tech age. 2015 is the year we hope to complete this work and get this building up and running.

We do continue to need your faith, hope, and love. Thanks to all you who partner with us to make this mission a real place of help for folks we care about so much.

From the newsletter:

On one of the coldest afternoons in mid-February, we got a call to help a woman and her teenage daughter were sleeping in their car. That night they slept in a warm room at Clairvaux Farm and the following day they were laughing as they helped prepare lunch with everyone in the dining hall. This is what Clairvaux Farm is about: it is a place of refuge and a place of meeting; shelter from the storm and a place of transformation; from homelessness to home. We are filled to capacity now, and in March we will add four additional family rooms with the help of volunteers from Nazareth College in Rochester, NY and Trinity United Methodist Church in Chesapeake City.

On Sunday afternoon, February 7, the young people of Elsmere Presbyterian Church in Wilmington joined with the young people of Deep Roots to celebrate a Valentine’s Day Craft Event at Clairvaux Farm. For the community at the Farm it was a time of celebration for another reason as on that Saturday a mother and her three sons, who had been in residence for the past three months, were able successfully to transition to permanent housing. The family will continue to be involved with the monthly Deep Roots events and the mother will continue to participate in the “Serve Safe” food handler credentials training in which she had been enrolled along with others at Clairvaux Farm. But they have joyfully ended their homelessness.

At its heart Deep Roots at Clairvaux Farm is not defined primarily as a shelter; we offer families experiencing homelessness a home. We are an organic community designed to end homelessness for families through emergency housing, direct assistance and ongoing extended community involvement through the Deep Roots fellowship and mentoring program. Over 50 young persons participated in the craft event, making Valentine cards and cookies to give to parents and other family members. One five-year-old girl proudly carried her hand-crafted card around the playground, eager to show everyone what she had created for “my mom.” When I asked her to show me, she held it up with a huge smile and then, without breaking the smile, she began pulling cookies wrapped in plastic sandwich bags from her coat pockets carefully describing each carefully decorated goodie as, “this is for my brudder… and these are for my sisters…” all the way to her mom who was to get two cupcakes. Then she quickly corrected herself and said, “Oh, I forgot, one of the cupcakes is for me!”

Cookies, valentines, & cupcakes are perhaps not the most potent of instruments for change in the world. But the loving experience of creating them, of passing on the joy of giving, may transform a soul forever. Who is to know? But we do know how important it is to try, one child at a time, to fashion for them a vision of it. Well, maybe it’s not a vision, perhaps it’s just a cookie after all. Yet, strange how when we ourselves look back, did we not build our own adult lives on such small things as cupcakes and valentines? And the care we learned from those who cared for and about us.

– Carl Mazza



Lining up for Chapel sm
“Little Portion Chapel” at Clairvaux Farm

Dear Friends of Deep Roots at Clairvaux Farm:

New Year’s Day is significant for us because it marks the first complete year that Deep Roots has had its home at Clairvaux Farm. On January 1 of 2014 we celebrated the re-opening of Clairvaux Farm with a Worship Service in the chapel – a celebration of the wonder that together we were able to find a way to something very beautiful and hopeful, especially for families with children who are experiencing homelessness. Together we have had an amazing year of building and development, and as we enter 2015 we are poised for continued and rapid growth.

On the eve of this New Year we send you all, friends and supporters, our warmest gratitude for keeping faith and standing tall together to make the miracle of Clairvaux Farm continue to blossom. We need and covet your ongoing support and we welcome your continuing involvement in the coming year. The African Proverb describes our accomplishment so well: “if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” Indeed, how far we have come together. Thank you.

You are cordially invited to a brief Service of Celebration for all that has been accomplished in the past year on: THURSDAY, JANUARY 1, 2015 (New Year’s Day) at 7:00 pm in the Chapel at Clairvaux Farm. This is an opportunity for all to express our gratitude together. Please come if you can.

Blessing and thanks to all.

Directions to Clairvaux Farm