Children’s care is Necco’s mission

Published 9:42 am Wednesday, September 2, 2009

PEDRO — Bianca Sexton and Rob Goodwin have something everyone should have, but few can honestly proclaim to possess: They absolutely love their jobs.

 Sexton, the program director, and Goodwin, the director of residential services for the Pedro based Necco Center, beam when discussing the opportunities their organization provides to under-privileged youth.

“I feel like this is a calling for me,” Goodwin, 40, said of his more than 20 years in the social services field. “This is my purpose. I think about these kids all the time.”

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Sexton added that the facility provides normalcy to otherwise abnormal childhood experiences. “We constantly think like parents,” she noted. “Every decision we make is about what is best for the child. We see ourselves like a family with 40 children.”

Located just more than a stone’s toss from Lake Vesuvius, Necco Center takes pride in its family atmosphere and mission of pulling discarded lives back into the boat.

Necco’s present location, the former site of Oak Ridge Treatment Center, has been its home since May of 2007, although the service began in the Tri-State in 1997 and has produced satellite offices in five different states.

“This center is a small part of what we do,” said Goodwin, clad in gym shorts and a T-shirt while providing a tour of the spacious grounds.

“We’re residential and we have foster care,” he explained, adding that the children at the Pedro location are a small percentage of the company’s overall client list; a list topping 1,100 children and families that also reaches into Kentucky, West Virginia, Georgia and North Carolina. “Our goals are to move these kids to foster care, back to their biological families or to a less restrictive environment.”

But as Goodwin takes the time to listen to the concerns of one youth after another in random succession while touring the facility, it is obvious that his own goals are coming to fruition. “My life revolves around these kids,” he said.

He points to children riding bicycles across campus and to the scattering of different sports-related balls lying in the grass. “Kids live here,” he said.

Goodwin’s attire fits right in with the corporate culture at this facility. “We are recreation-minded and we believe that recreation is great therapy for kids,” he said.

His attitude is the norm at Necco.

Field trips to Cincinnati Reds baseball games, Ashland Central Park and Lake Vesuvius fishing and hiking reserves are as common-place as the gong shows and sock hops staff routinely design to provide the youth at this treatment facility with normal family activities.

Also included on grounds and in the curriculum is a common center, called the “C-Club,” an activity and movie-based fun center offered as an incentive to continue acceptable behavior.

Youth earn points for good behavior which can be swapped for goods such as footballs, watches, candy, hats and even mp-3 players.

Dr. Kevin Bloomfield, director of education, Clinical Director Tom Sovacool, Residential Coordinator Wes Sites, Direct Care Worker Brandon Depriest and Compliance Specialist Iris Kelly — who is also the on-site event reporter/publisher, say they work here because they care….specifically about kids who have nowhere else to go.

Necco’s corporate philosophy is to take the best possible care of the children it serves and those who care for them. “We see kids improve,” Goodwin said, “and we take pride in our staff as they grow in their work with children.” 

“Everyone is on the same page, all the way up to Bianca.”

Sexton gives credit to Necco CEO Beau Necco for leaving the treatment aspects of his facility in the hands of his trained staff.

“He knows our decisions are based upon ten years with him and the bottom line has always been: what’s best for the kids?”

So, what is best for the young people?

“We celebrate small successes,” she said with a smile, adding that her staff attempts to provide a family atmosphere for the children. “That’s what makes a life.”

“I think about these kids all the time.”