Ministry strengthens overall service to special needs adults
Updated: Aug 27, 2019
For Tara Sessoms, being good is only a starting place. Being good is never enough when you can do better –– when you can become the best.
“I knew that Baptist Children’s Homes (BCH) was right for me when Dr. Blackwell (BCH’s president/CEO) told me that he wanted my best,” the new intellectual and develop-
mental disabilities ministry director recalls. “I don’t like the word good. Good is good. I believe in being my best. I believe God deserves my best.”
From its beginning in 2000, BCH has placed a priority on providing only the finest homes and the best care for adults with special needs. The ministry provides residential services –– a home –– to adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) in six locations with nine facilities across North Carolina.
The IDD program supports special needs adults in pursuing their individual goals and dreams while providing the assistance necessary for them to live in a supportive, Christian environment. The homes are single gender, six bed homes and are alcohol and smoke free environments. They are places where residents are safe, can relax and feel comfortable. The environment promotes healthy and positive relationships between housemates and promotes maximum independence, individual growth and inclusion in the community.
“It is our responsibility to create an optimal life experience for each resident,” Sessoms says. “If I expect, or any of our team expects, the best in our lives, then each person in the IDD program should be able to experience the best life.”
Tara Sessoms first attended church as a child with her grandmother. It was something she never had to be coaxed into doing.
“I loved church when I was little,” Sessoms says. “It was the place where I felt peace. It was where I belonged.”
As she grew older, that love never waned. Yielding her life to Christ was natural and serving Him became her calling. After attending community college, she transferred to a Christian college and studied Christian education. Her outgoing personality was affirmed when she was elected the college’s first female student body president. Her leadership skills were honed when asked by the female students to challenge the school’s female dress code.
“My constant prayer was for wisdom,” she asserts. “No one wanted to challenge beliefs ,the female students only wanted a few considerations. I navigated things slowly and ultimately rules were changed. I learned that God can work in mighty ways. It is amazing to see how He brings the right people to the right place at the right time.”
Her passion for the church also fueled successful ventures into youth ministry. It was no surprise that after graduation she became a social worker at a children’s home.
Graduate programs, certifications and experiences working with various populations including youth, military families, mental health clients, and special needs groups brought Sessoms to this new place of service –– BCH’s director of the intellectual and developmental disabilities ministry.
“The IDD program’s foundation is strong,” Sessoms says. “I am committed to building on that foundation and helping the IDD team take this ministry to new heights, strengthening our overall service to special needs adults. We are taking what we have in place and making it extraordinary.”
Sessoms describes herself as a highly independent, fun-loving person who loves the Lord and people. She says she is at her best when she is creating, stirring the waters of new possibilities, and inspiring others to join her.
Article Written by Jim Edminson, Editor