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

Executive search firm commences national search for successor

WABASH, Ind. – White’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:

  • 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 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

Not-for-profit is recognized for over 100 years of service

Wabash, Ind. – 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.”

White’s 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 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.

Grand Opening of White’s Greenhouse & Garden Center

WABASH, Ind. (April 8, 2015) – White’s Residential & Family Services announces the grand opening of its new Greenhouse & Garden Center on April 25. The new agribusiness, which will be open to the public, will serve not only as a source of flowers and potted plants for the community but also as an expansion of the vocational and educational programming offered to students on White’s campus.

“We are excited about this opportunity to provide the community with quality floral and garden products. Our inventory will span over 5,000 plants and around 45 varieties of flowers and bedding plants including herbs and vegetable starts,” said Tim Main, operations manager for White’s Greenhouse & Garden Center.

The center will be located on White’s main campus. Hours of operation will be Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

White’s Residential & Family Services is thankful for all the individuals and organizations who have supported the Growing Teens for Life Program and the Greenhouse & Garden Center.

“For many years, White’s has had a lot of visitors talk about how beautiful the flowers and grounds are when they visit our campus,” said Dee Gibson, CEO of White’s. “Through strategic planning with the Wabash community, we realized the need for the Greenhouse & Garden Center. Partner that need with our vision to help kids and our strong heritage in agricultural, and this just seems like a natural fit.”

For questions about the center, please contact Deb Main at 260-563-1158.

We look forward to seeing you this spring!

White’s Residential & Family Services Announces Acquisition of Christian Haven campus in Northern Indiana

Respective boards reach agreement to meet the needs of Indiana children and families

Wabash, Ind. – White’s Residential & Family Services, one of Indiana’s largest nonprofit social services agencies, announces that it has acquired Christian Haven, a residential treatment center for boys and girls in Wheatfield near Valparaiso, Ind. The acquisition is the result of careful planning by White’s and its board, and it will allow White’s to expand its level of care to open residential and secure care programs.

“White’s was initially approached by Christian Haven because it was seeking an opportunity with a faith-based organization,” said Stan Downing, White’s Residential & Family Services Board President. “As the White’s board evaluated the opportunity to expand services, it was clear that our two organizations share many of the same values – a commitment to providing the highest quality care for children in our programs and a common mission to offer spiritual opportunities so students and families can grow in their faith.”

Since its founding in 1850, White’s has grown to serve children, teens and families through six offices around the state, including a residential campus in Wabash, Ind.

“White’s Residential & Family Services and the board are committed to making proactive strategic decisions that reflect our commitment to helping Indiana children, teens and families,” said White’s Residential & Family Services Chief Executive Officer Dee Gibson. “This acquisition will not only allow White’s to expand its level of care but also its continuum of services to other areas of Northern Indiana.”

Christian Haven was founded in 1952 as a nonprofit agency that provides open residential services and secure care treatment to boys and girls ages 11 to 21. Its residential campus is in Wheatfield.

“White’s Residential & Family Services shares our mission of providing hope for at-risk children, teens and families,” said Christian Haven Board President John Fulkerson.  “We are confident that our students will continue to thrive in a safe, structured environment and receive the programming and services they need to make lasting changes in their lives.”

In the coming months, White’s Residential & Family Services will complete a thorough evaluation of Christian Haven and its services to assure continuity of care.

White’s Celebrates National Foster Care Month

May is National Foster Care Month. Throughout the month of May, White’s will host a number of community events to raise awareness of the needs of the 400,000 children and youth who are living in foster care because their parents are unable to care for them. This month is set aside to acknowledge foster parents, family members, volunteers, mentors, policymakers, child welfare professionals and other members of the community who help children and youth in foster care. National Foster Care Month provides an opportunity for you to get involved as well!

If you are searching for an opportunity to make a positive, permanent impact on the lives of youth as a foster parent, volunteer, mentor or in other ways, White’s is here to help. We must continue to stand in the gap for children who need a stable and secure home until they can return to their parents, have an adoptive family or establish a lifelong connection to a nurturing adult.

For more information on how you can get involved click here to complete our information request form and a White’s representative will be in touch with you.

White’s Compass Rose Academy Graduates Record Class

WABASH, Ind. (April 25, 2014) – Compass Rose Academy, a private program for troubled teen girls at White’s Residential & Family Services, will graduate five girls from the program, the program’s largest class since their opening in 2012.

Compass Rose Academy provides services to families and teens in crisis who have not yet entered the juvenile justice system. This residential treatment center operates a 9- to 12-month private program for 14- to 17-year old junior high and high school girls from across the country.

“I could not be more proud of our current group of graduates,” said Mike Haarer, Director of Compass Rose Academy. “This is our largest group of graduates to date and they have worked so hard for this day for a long time.”

Hannah Hunsaker, one of the Compass Rose graduates, was honored April 24, 2014 by the Wabash Chamber of Commerce at an Honor’s Student Lunch. Hunsaker, originally from California, graduated at the top of her class while attending Compass Rose.

“Although it’s been a struggle, I am glad and proud I have persevered through and that I’m graduating with an honors diploma,” Hannah stated. “I’m happy to be attending Biola University at California with a major in human biology.”

Success stories like Hannah’s are a testament to the nurturing and therapeutic environment at Compass Rose Academy, which allows for emotional healing and personal growth.

“Hannah has been a top-notch student since day one, both academically and in terms of other personal strengths and accomplishments,” said Director Haarer. “It is rewarding for Compass Rose to be able to offer the support necessary for students like Hannah to not only graduate, but to graduate with honors.”

Throughout the next few weeks, family and friends will be invited to attend separate graduation ceremonies for the students. Each young lady will receive a Compass Rose Pendant, which represents the three aspects of healthy living and restoration that Compass Rose embodies: Foundation, Direction and Legacy. The graduates are also given a special Life Journey Bible, created by Doctors Henry Cloud and John Townsend, who have consulted with Compass Rose in the development of its therapeutic programs.

“Although our graduates will face challenges of many kinds in the coming days, months, and years, I am confident that through much perseverance and determination they have gained the internal strength of character necessary to meet those challenges successfully,” said Director Haarer.

Compass Rose Academy continues to expand its program with new staff and hopes to increase student enrollment to 40 students over the next four years.


White’s Former Foster Parent Receives Indiana Sagamore Award

WABASH, Ind. (April 11, 2014) – White’s Residential & Family Services is excited to announce that previous Foster Parent and friend, Duane Truss, was awarded the Sagamore of the Wabash Award by Senator Jim Banks of Wabash County on Wednesday, April 9, 2014. The honorary award is given to individuals who have rendered distinguished service to the state or to the governor.

Truss has served on numerous committees, boards and organizations in the Wabash area, including 50 years of service in the 4-H program. Positions he has held include commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars post, commander of its Honor Guard and secretary/treasurer of the Wabash cemetery board.

“I had no idea I was receiving the award,” exclaimed Truss. “I feel very blessed.”

Truss and his wife Bonnie were foster parents for White’s for 25 years, taking in over 60 young boys, some who call and visit the Trusses to this day. “We tried to make an impression on them with the idea to get them jobs, teach them about a savings account and to prepare them for the outside world.”

For 163 years, White’s has stood in the gap for children in crisis, partnering with foster parents who feel called to provide nurturing and safe homes, “We are so proud to call the Trusses friends of White’s,” said Hazel Hooven, Vice President of Family Services at White’s. “Their commitment to serving those around them truly displays their faith and beliefs.”

The Truss’ convictions in serving others have left an impact on the White’s Foster Parent Program. As the need for loving foster homes increases, White’s strives to reach those adults who feel called to love children through the ministry of foster parenting.

White’s Board Member Honored by Indiana CPA Society

WABASH, Indiana (April 8, 2014) – White’s Residential & Family Services is excited to announce that Board Member, Roger Stichter, was awarded the Outstanding Educator Award by the Indiana CPA Society. Every year the Society acknowledges CPAs who have “served their profession and/or communities in an outstanding manner.”

Stichter is a CPA/Professor of Accounting at Grace College in Winnona Lake, Ind. He teaches approximately 90 students in their first year of accounting courses, and only a handful considers an accounting major when beginning the class.

“I believe God has gifted me to relate to the college-aged person,” said Stichter. “I like thinking that I may have some impact on my students’ future and how they think about life, the Christian walk, family, children, etc.”

He uses his personal experience and history as a CPA, which includes time spent at White’s as the CFO from 2001 to 2005, to engage with his students about pursuing an accounting career.

“We are very excited that the CPA has recognized Roger Stichter for his accomplishments,” said CEO and Executive Director, Dee Gibson. “Roger brings both a professionalism and passion for White’s to our board, and we are very thankful to have his input and expertise to further our mission.”

With Stichter’s influence, last year, 25 students registered for upper level classes, which 20 of those students declared accounting as their major. The Grace College accounting program has significantly expanded, with over 50 students majoring in accounting.

IWU Partners on Addiction Counseling Program

Marion, Ind. – Indiana Wesleyan University has signed an agreement with White’s Residential and Family Services of Wabash, Indiana to create “a high quality practicum experience and research opportunities” for students majoring in addictions counseling at the residential campus in Marion.

Representatives of IWU and White’s have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) committing two IWU students each year to a practicum program at White’s, and agreeing to collaborate on least one outcome/research project each year, the results of which may be submitted to journals by IWU faculty.

White’s Residential and Family Services describes itself as “a nonprofit social services organization that works to redirect, rebuild and restore children, teens and families through emotional healing, personal development and spiritual growth.” Founded in 1850, the faith-based organization has its origins in the dream of a Quaker businessman named Josiah White, a wealthy railroad magnate who set out to help “the most deserted of children.”

“This is a great opportunity for both organizations,” said Residential Campus CEO and Executive Vice President Dr. Keith Newman. “As a Christ-centered institution, we have a mandate to instill in our students the teaching of Jesus: ‘whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ We’re delighted to begin a long and productive partnership with an organization committed to serving ‘the least of these.'”

Indiana Wesleyan University is an evangelical Christian comprehensive university of The Wesleyan Church. The University, founded in 1920, is committed to global liberal arts and professional education. Nearly 3,000 students are enrolled in traditional programs on the University’s main campus in Marion, Indiana. Nearly 12,500 adult learners attend classes at education centers in Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio, and online.

Source: Indiana Wesleyan University