Longtime Education Leader Tapped to Lead One of State’s Largest Child Welfare Agencies

White’s Residential & Family Services board of trustees announces today that they have chosen Ron Evans as the organization’s next chief executive officer. Evans will succeed Dee Gibson, the longtime CEO, effective January 2018.

Photo of Ron EvansSince 2013, Evans has served as head of school at Traders Point Christian Academy in Indianapolis. Prior to that, he was president of Lenawee Christian Ministries and head of Lenawee Christian School in Adrian, Mich. He also was director of The Lodge and director for Life Action Ministries in Michigan.

“Ron has built a career working with children, teens and families,” said Dr. Eric Dale, chairman of White’s board of trustees. “His passion for ministry and children combined with his business leadership experience make him an ideal leader for White’s, and we are confident in his abilities to lead this organization into the future.”

Gibson announced in October 2016 his impending retirement, which will take place at the end of 2017. After his retirement, Gibson will serve as a consultant to the organization.

“The board remains ever grateful to Dee for his leadership and vision. For more than 40 years, he has provided White’s with good counsel and triggered growth in key programs,” said Dale. “Dee is a man of God who has guided White’s to be a faith-living organization every single day.”

Evans is a veteran leader in ministry and education. Prior to his experience with Traders Point, Lenawee and Life Action ministries, he served as president of office products companies including Prime Office Products and ASI Office Interiors. He earned his bachelor’s degree in economics from Luther College and his master’s of business administration from Bethel College in Mishawaka, Ind. Evans started his career as a high school educator and coach.

“White’s is an organization with a strong 167-year tradition of serving children, teens and families,” said Evans. “My wife and I are excited to join a ministry with such a rich history. I have always leaned on God to lead me in fulfilling my life’s purpose, and I believe He has led us to White’s.”

Evans and his wife, Jane, will move to Wabash, Ind., later this year.

“Josiah White founded White’s in 1850 to serve every child in need,” said Gibson. “Each and every day, we carry out White’s mission to redirect, rebuild and restore children, teens and families through emotional healing, personal development and spiritual growth. Through Ron’s leadership in education and Christian ministry, he shares a commitment to White’s mission.”

2017 Bobby Jones Award

White’s Residential & Family Services is excited to announce that one of its team members, Jason Fry, has been named IN-AJSOP’s 2017 Bobby Jones Award winner. The Bobby Jones Award is an annual award given to an individual within the state of Indiana who embodies the work and spirit of Bobby Jones, who was part of the early development and expansion of IN-AJSOP, and demonstrates commitment to families and youth as he did.

Jason has been providing services to students in the sexually maladaptive behavior treatment program at the Wabash campus for many years. Celeste Richardson, a coworker from White’s, nominated Jason for this prestigious award. “Jason goes above and beyond to ensure that the youth get the treatment that they need while still maintaining family connections,” she said. “Throughout his many years of service, he has made it his mission to ensure campus life is enjoyable for each and every student served. Jason is a wonderful mentor to the teens at White’s, organizing and participating in events and activities for the students to make their lives as normal as possible.”

The positive impact of Jason’s work is seen every single day at White’s. Jason works with the students to guide them through the process of changing their behaviors, so they can live healthy and productive lives. The journey to change may be a long one, but Jason celebrates each child’s victories whether they are big or small.

We are proud to acknowledge Jason’s accomplishment. Congratulations, Jason!

Storm Fails to Dampen Spirits at White’s Benefit 100-Hole Golf Marathon

 “Teeing Up for Teens” raises $12,325 for youth and family services

ANDREWS, Ind. – Though the skies opened during White’s Residential & Family Services’ 100-hole marathon at the Etna Acres Golf Course, the golfers prevailed with great success. Despite lightning, frequent downpours and weather-related delays, four brave competitors completed the White’s Wabash Benefit 100-Hole Marathon on July 10. Congratulations to Brandon Leist, Byron Brunn, Jason Smith and Kyle Hostetler for completing the entire course!

As of Friday, July 14, the event raised $12,325 for White’s Residential & Family Services from individuals and corporate sponsors.

Despite stormy conditions, the golfers stayed for the awards ceremony. Leist received the best player award and Smith won awards for longest drive and closest to the pin.

The players enjoyed the challenges of the course and were proud of their efforts to benefit White’s. “The weather really tried to stop us from playing the 100 holes, but we stuck through it and it was worth it!” Byron Brunn said.

White’s extended special thanks to its sponsors: Enterprise Fleet Management – Indy, Eads & Son Bulldozing, INGUARD, Itrasect, Knights Inn, Wabash Electric, Hylant Group – Ft Wayne, and Shepherd’s Family Auto Group – Kendallville, North Manchester and Rochester.

White’s proclaimed the Wabash Benefit 100 Hole Marathon a wonderful success that brought people together. Director of Development Dana Brady is already looking forward to next year’s event: “With the success of this year’s event, even with the weather trouble, I am extremely excited for what next year has in store. I think next year we will raise even more money to benefit White’s programs and services!”

White’s Residential & Family Services Announces Retirement of Chief Executive Officer

dee-gibsonWhite’s Residential & Family Services, one of Indiana’s oldest and largest nonprofit social services agencies, celebrates the remarkable 40-year career of Chief Executive Officer Dee Gibson. Gibson has announced his retirement and 2017 will be his last year as CEO.

“Kathy and I know that we could not have accomplished what we did at White’s without the backing of the hard-working and dedicated staff, many of whom are like family. We’ve been honored to spend our professional careers at White’s Residential & Family Services. My wife, Kathy, has been my teammate throughout my career, and I am ever so grateful for what we have accomplished together. White’s is a very strong organization and I am retiring with full confidence in the leadership team and future of the organization,” Gibson said.

Gibson’s retirement celebrates a career centered on the well-being of children. He has served on numerous boards and committees dedicated to the welfare of children including the 2004 Indiana Commission for Abused and Neglected Children and their Families. Gibson was the first president of IARCA’s Institute for Excellence Board of Directors and Public Policy Committee. In addition, he was president of the board of directors of the Indiana Association of Resources and Child Advocacy and has served on the board for more than two decades.

“Each and every day at White’s, we provide hope for children, teens and families in need of guidance. No one has been more committed to this mission than Dee. He has challenged staff, families and children to strive toward lives of character and service to others and God. His leadership and vision has helped to make White’s what it is today.” said Board Chair Dr. Eric Dale.

Gibson has served at White’s for 40 years – 19 of those as CEO. Under Gibson’s time as CEO, White’s has accomplished many of its long-term strategic initiatives. Dale cited a number of accomplishments during Gibson’s leadership, including:

  • Created specialized residential treatment programs, specifically the Growing Teens for Life Initiative and Substance Abuse Program.
  • Acquired Christian Haven, a residential treatment center for boys and girls in Wheatfield near Valparaiso, Ind. The 2014 addition was the result of careful planning by White’s and its board and allowed White’s to expand its level of care to secure care programs.
  • Based on his belief that no family is exempt from tough times, Gibson opened White’s first private-pay, parent-choice residential treatment center for troubled teen girls, Compass Rose Academy, in 2012 to reach teens who have not yet entered the juvenile justice system.
  • Expanded statewide with new offices in Columbus, Fort Wayne and South Bend, enabling White’s to serve more youths and families and grow its foster care programs.
  • Launched home-based services and special needs adoption programs.
  • Grew and improved the 800-acre campus with the addition of the Hodson Center, Student Family Life Center and Greenhouse, and performed much-needed renovations to the chapel and swimming pool.
  • Established White’s first development office in 1997 and significantly grew its endowment to sustain White’s tradition of serving at-risk children, teens and families.

“Dee showed with the opening of Compass Rose Academy that he understands the pressures of parents today and has constantly been proactive with programming to meet the needs of children and their families,” said Dr. John Townsend, a New York Times best-selling author and consultant to Compass Rose Academy. “However, what I might admire most about Dee is that he is a man of faith who has guided White’s to be a faith-living organization every day.”

Since 2012, White’s board of trustees has been involved in succession planning and has initiated the procedures for the CEO search. White’s has engaged Keystone Executive Recruiting and Consulting to assist in the search for a new chief executive officer. Keystone will consider internal and external candidates for the position. A job announcement is available here.  Gibson will remain CEO at White’s throughout 2017 until a successor is chosen to carry on the traditions of the 160-year organization.

White’s Residential & Family Services Announces Hire of Chief Operations Officer

Hazel HoovenWhite’s Residential & Family Services, one of Indiana’s oldest and largest nonprofit social services agencies, announces that it has hired Hazel Hooven as Chief Operations Officer. Hooven has more than 20 years of experience in the social services industry.

“Due to the growth of White’s programs and the acquisition of the Northwest Indiana campus in Wheatfield one year ago, earlier this year the board and leadership identified the need to hire a Chief Operations Officer,” said Dr. Eric Dale, White’s Residential & Family Services Board President. “We are pleased to welcome Hazel Hooven into this new position at White’s.”

Hooven has been at White’s Residential & Family Services for more than 12 years and was most recently the Vice President of Family Services.

Prior to joining the team at White’s, Hooven began her career in a residential program for adults with developmental disabilities. Then, she spent two years at Oaklawn Psychiatric Center. Since 2004, Hazel has held several positions at White’s, including treatment coordinator for family services, program manager, director of program development, director of clinical services and vice president of family services. Her strong leadership skills, strategic thinking, attention to detail and managerial skills helped her advance quickly. Hooven graduated from Troy University with a bachelor’s degree in rehabilitation. Hooven is a licensed mental health counselor and has master’s degrees in business administration and counseling.

“Each and every day at White’s, we are committed to redirecting, rebuilding and restoring the lives of children, teens and families with our continuum of care. Hazel has proven her commitment to our mission,” said CEO Dee Gibson. “We are confident in Hazel’s abilities to enhance the overall success of White’s and our residential and family services.”

In her new role as the Chief Operations Officer, Hooven will be responsible for oversight of the two residential campuses as well as family services, risk management, leadership and direction of staff, strategic decisions affecting White’s and financial responsibility for residential and family services programs.

Clyde Lovellette: Remembering Our Version of the Legend

March 10, 2016

WABASH, Ind. – White’s Residential & Family Services is remembering a legend today. Our beloved Clyde Lovellette passed away Wednesday night with his family by his side in North Manchester, Ind., after his battle with cancer. He was 86.

Most of the world will remember Clyde Lovellette as one of the most outstanding basketball players in history. Clyde was the first player in history to play on an NCAA championship team, Olympic gold medal basketball team, and NBA championship squad.

However, those accolades and accomplishments are not how White’s will remember our friend. Clyde came to teach and coach at White’s back in 1979 after his incredible athletic career. He was the director of our vocational and educational program for students and helped coach our boys’ basketball team.

The Clyde we know was a man who loved people and kids. He was a man who chose to take his talents and give back by making a difference in people’s lives. Clyde was special not because of his career but because of the way he lived his life every day.

Coach Clyde always said that his years with the children at White’s were “the happiest of my life.”  And everyone knew he meant it.


(Clyde Lovellette, pictured at White’s in 2008 as he helped raise support for the gym renovation.)

He was a giant man with a big heart, who walked around campus helping kids and staff strive for their best.  His 15-year dedication to our ministry is a gift that we will cherish forever.

“Our prayers are with the Lovellette family and all those who lost a friend,” said Dee Gibson, CEO of White’s. “May we all remember him not only for his basketball career, but also for the love he had for those who needed it most.”

“Thank you, Clyde, for living out your faith and loving the hundreds of kids who were a part of our ministry.”

If you have questions, please contact Denae Green at 260-563-1158.


Never Give Up 5K Run

On Friday, October 30, White’s is hosting the Never Give Up 5K Run at the Wabash campus. Registration for the free run/walk begins at 9:30 a.m.; the race starts at 10:00 a.m. and lunch is served at 11:15 a.m.

Nearly 40 students on campus have been training weekly for the 3-mile run this year. The race comes as a result of the Couch to 5K student program, organized by long-time staff member, Mike Elliott.

Elliott wanted to do something different on campus that motivated students to be active. The name “Never Give Up” comes from our Moral Reconation Therapy training program that White’s just implemented on campus.

“This race is about the kids doing the training, completing it and gaining the satisfaction of reaching their goal,” said Elliott. “In training for the race, they have learned how working hard and not giving up pays off.”

The racers will primarily be students on our Wabash campus, but students are invited to ask their current PO or case worker to run with them or cheer them on from the sidelines!

After the race, racers and their current PO or case worker are encouraged to join us for lunch and an awards ceremony in the cafeteria on campus.

For more information, contact Kelly Timmerman at Kelly.Timmerman@whitesrfs.org
or 260.563.1158.

White’s Residential & Family Services is Hiring Houseparents

White’s is looking to fill houseparent positions at our campus in Wabash, Ind.

As a houseparent, you will have the opportunity to impact the lives of at-risk children and teens who are in need of guidance, support and love. If your calling in life is to put your talents and passions to work in a way that positively impacts families in crisis, then serving at White’s might be the place for you.

Our continuum of care offers the chance for hurting children — no matter their age, background, or situation — to receive the care, treatment, structure and counseling they need to experience healing.

“I often think that my job as a houseparent has taught me so much more than I can give to the program. It has been such a privilege to work with the students who have come through this program and I look forward to serving many more. I am forever grateful for the opportunity I have been given to work with the great people here,” said a current houseparent.

Houseparents can help kids learn to function in a home-like setting, by example and teaching. Houseparents can offer: healthy values, a safe and secure structured environment, and opportunities for relationship building. Houseparents will work as a full member of a treatment team for a cottage of residents.

Aside from the daily responsibilities of providing clear rules, coordinating daily routines and supervising activities, counseling students and parents, engaging in conflict resolution and more, houseparents should also be committed to our mission, vision and values. White’s is dedicated to enriching the lives of struggling children, teens and their families and our houseparents should be committed to that same mission.

White’s prides itself on being more than just a place to work – it’s an organization where employees can grow in their careers and faith while contributing to the restoration of families and children in need.

White’s offers exceptional benefits package, including:

  • Comprehensive health plan that includes a wellness emphasis
  • Dental insurance
  • Short Term and Long Term Disability
  • Retirement Plan
  • Life Insurance
  • Flexible Spending Accounts
  • Emphasis on growing in faith
  • Family-like workplace environment

To learn more about the responsibilities, qualifications and skills required of a houseparent on our Wabash campus, please click here.

If you or anyone you know is interested in houseparent positions (also known as youth care specialists) on our Wheatfield campus, please click here.

White’s Residential & Family Services Receives Century Certificate from Indiana Secretary of State

White's Campus Pastor Amy Cornell, CEO Dee Gibson, Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson, White's Board President Eric Dale and White's former student Lucas Wallace

Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson traveled to Wabash on Aug. 12, 2015 to award White’s Residential & Family Services with the Century Certificate.

The certificate celebrates the more than 100 years of White’s service and care to children and families. The event was attended by many guests who watched Lawson bestow the award.

Since its founding, the nonprofit has grown to become one of Indiana’s largest nonprofit social services agencies. It has seven offices around the state, including residential campuses in Wabash and Wheatfield, Ind. About 1,100 children and families are served by White’s every year.

“Josiah White, founded and drafted a plan for White’s in 1850 to help ‘the most deserted of children’,” said Eric Dale, board president. “White’s Residential & Family Services is still operating with that mission in mind today.”

White’s has been serving children, teens and families for more than 160 years. It provides care to families in crisis, in transition and in need of support through its accredited and comprehensive continuum of services including community- and home-based services, foster care, adoption support and residential treatment programs.

“We are honored to be awarded with this certificate today,” said Dee Gibson, White’s CEO. “We are blessed to help redirect, rebuild and restore the lives of the children, teens and families we serve and it is for them that we accept this award today.”

The event took place at the Hodson Campus Center, which sits on 800 acres of land within White’s Wabash campus. Lawson met with the residential students on campus and shared information with the teens about her financial literacy program.

“Institutions like White’s are crucial to communities throughout Indiana. They provide the stability and care needed for our children and teens to grow and reach their potential,” said Lawson. “I am pleased to give White’s this certificate today and hope that they continue to serve children and their families for another 100 years and beyond.”

Greenhouse & Garden Center Red, White’s and Blue Sale

WABASH, Ind. – White’s Greenhouse & Garden Center announces the Red, White’s and Blue Sale on Saturday, June 27!  Customers will be served hot dogs, drinks and popcorn from 11 a.m. to  1 p.m. This pre-Fourth of July sale includes a variety of plants that can be purchased at a discount. On select potted plants, you can buy two and receive the third for free. After each purchase, you can register for our drawing to win $100 worth of plants!

Students will be making patriotic floral arrangements and hand-decorated flower pots, which will make great decorations for patios, decks and picnic tables for all of your outdoor July 4th activities. “I am so excited to see our students create these beautiful pots and floral arrangements. I love seeing their creativity at work and having the community support them. It is so inspiring!” said Jessica Brown, director of clinical services for White’s Residential Program.

“One of the unique things about our greenhouse is that staff and students can customize your arrangement to help it fit the look that you desire for your garden and patio,” said Tim Main, operations manager. Hours of operation are 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturdays on White’s Wabash campus.

Feel free to visit our webpage at http://www.whiteskids.org/whites-greenhouse-garden-center/ for more information on the selection of plants and garden products that are available for purchase. If you have other plant or garden center questions, please contact Deb Main at 260-563-1158.

White’s Residential & Family Services has been blessed by the many organizations and individuals who have helped to fund the Growing Teens for Life Program and launch the Greenhouse & Garden Center. The opportunity to share this experience with our students and to provide for the community aligns with White’s mission to care for and support children in need. All proceeds from the greenhouse are reinvested back into our Growing Teens for Life Program.