On Sunday, June 10, from 1 to 4 p.m., and Wednesday, June 13, from 3 to 7 p.m., COBYS Family Services will host an Open House at 444 Murry Hill Circle, in Lancaster, to show off the new 13,600 square foot facility. COBYS purchased the building in January from the Simon Lever accounting firm for $1.1 million to help alleviate severe over-crowding at their main office in the historic mill at 1417 Oregon Road, in Leola.
Murry Hill Center, which is centrally-located between the main office and two downtown facilities (171 and 134 E. King St.), is an additional location for COBYS; all other buildings are being retained. The main office continues to house administration and counseling staff.
Since January, COBYS has invested almost $250,000 in upgrades to the new facility, including new roofing and siding, replacement of more than 180 light fixtures with energy efficient LEDs, new carpet and paint, and various repairs. Renovation costs to the 1970s structure would have been much higher, if not for the generous response of more than 60 volunteers, who provided over 660 hours of labor in a six-week period.
In late February, 24 adoption and foster care staff who had been doubled-up and tripled-up in offices at COBYS’ main location, moved into new offices at Murry Hill Center. Seven family life education staff joined them in March, moving from their downtown Lancaster location.
The Open House will include light refreshments; tours of the facility; program displays; and staff presentation about the services COBYS provides to children and families. A dedication service will take place at 2 p.m. on Sunday, and a ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday at 5 p.m.
Evidently a lot of people were in need of a barber.
The March 8 COBYS Barbershop Banquet clearly was a cut above previous events, as evidenced by huge growth in attendance and giving. Total income exceeded $72,000, up from the previous record of $60,864, set last year. Total attendance for the noon and evening seatings ballooned from last year’s record 598 to 732 this year.
“We were absolutely thrilled with the turnout and response,” said Director of Development Don Fitzkee, the primary planner and butt of more than a few bald jokes. “I had no idea how much people enjoyed making fun of people with haircuts like mine.”
Inspirational music was provided by the Yeater Sisters—Rachel Cassel, Joanna and Lois Yeater.
The program was set in a barbershop, where various patrons discussed COBYS-related topics but, much to the frustration of the barber, did not come to get their hair cut. Business Operations Manager Tim Strawser played the barber.
Among those stopping in were Permanency Unit Supervisor Krista Rankin, who told how COBYS came together to support a foster child whose mother died of a drug overdose; Director of Family Life Services Abby Keiser and Lancaster County Treatment Court Coordinator Karen Andreadis (via video) who spoke of how COBYS is partnering with the treatment courts through a program called Seeking Safety; and Adoption Supervisor Jen McDowell, who highlighted the 20th anniversary of the COBYS adoption program.
McDowell introduced Brent & Julie Hess and their daughter, Jerraca Hernandez, who shared some of their journey since becoming COBYS’ first adoptive family in 1998. Scott, Amanda, and 14-year-old Alex MacFeat talked about their more recent foster care and adoption experience. Along the way Executive Director Mark Cunningham and Controller Cindy Umberger told of organizational growth—much of it fueled by the opioid addiction crisis—and the recent purchase and renovation of a building north of Lancaster, and the subsequent relocation of foster care and adoption staff to the new facility.
In the end, the only patron who actually received a haircut was the one who didn’t have any hair, as a barbershop quartet pointed out in their rendition of “Donny Boy” sung to a familiar Irish tune.
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