The DAR School Tour crossed into North Carolina Thursday climbing into the mountains known as the “High South” a derivative of the original name the Southern Highlands.
That evening the North Carolina Daughters entertained our distinguished visitors with a tour of Asheville’s famous Biltmore House followed by a delicious dinner and entertainment at the Lioncrest Restaurant located on the estate grounds.
Friday morning came early when all buses were boarded at 7:30 AM for a special ride to the Devil’s Courthouse area along the Blue Ridge Parkway where we were honored to rededicate the DAR Forest and present to President General Ann Turner Dillon the new wayside marker in this the 100th anniversary of both the National Park Service and the Pisgah National Forest where the DAR Forest is located.
Back onto the buses, we rode down mountains from the Forest and back up a curving mountain road to arrive at The Crossnore School located in the beautiful high country of Avery County, NC.
The Crossnore School was founded by Dr. Mary Martin Sloop and her husband, Dr. Eustace Sloop in 1913. The Sloops first came to the mountains of Western North Carolina on their honeymoon where they fell in love with the region, its scenery and its people. The couple felt called to bring healthcare to the area where modern medicine was unavailable. The Sloops would often ride on horseback to visit their patients who lived in remote areas.
They soon became aware that the children lacked not only good medical care but also basic education as there were no schools in the area. In addition many children were living in extreme poverty and exposed to the drug manufacture and use of that day, namely moonshine. In time, Dr. Sloop realized that many children lived too far away from the school to come and return home all in the same day. So she built a few dormitories and The Crossnore School became a boarding school where children received an education, and a respite from the poverty of the region.
Today The Crossnore School serves children from the western part of North Carolina who are in foster care. Children live in cottages with cottage parents and receive their education at Marjorie Williams Academy, the on-campus charter school. The Crossnore School utilizes the Sanctuary Model of Care® creating a trauma-informed community. Staff and children are trained in the commitments of Sanctuary so that each interaction with a child has the potential to be a healing interaction. Children at The Crossnore School learn to be a kid again, set goals for their future, and achieve them!
Providing an exemplary model of care for children but unable to accommodate more at the Avery County site, this February, Crossnore School entered into an agreement with The Children’s Home, located in Winston-Salem, NC. Brett A. Loftis, CEO of The Crossnore School assumed leadership of The Children’s Home and the staffs began working together to serve more children. In September, the Boards of Trustees of The Crossnore School and The Children’s Home voted to merge into one organization effective January 1, 2017. This merger will create one organization under the Crossnore umbrella and brand with a full continuum of care for children in need. The organization will continue to offer residential foster care on both campuses, community-based foster care, educational services, and outpatient therapy with the ultimate goal of becoming the premier provider of children’s services in western North Carolina.
Following a luncheon and tour of the campus, members spilled out to shop in the Weavers’ Cottage, the Resale Shop, and the Miracle Grounds Cafe. Many DAR members are familiar with the exquisite woven wraps made at Crossnore, including the new DAR Tartan!
North Carolina Daughters again welcomed and entertained our notable guests for a relaxed evening of fine food, musical entertainment, and a fashion show featuring DAR models wearing Crossnore wraps! President General Ann Dillon, National School Chair Peggy Troxell, Cricket Crigler, Tammy Wilson, Jean Ann Ruston, and I served as the models!
As the evening came to a close, all the “girls on the bus” agreed that this trip had brought everyone a new appreciation of what the DAR does for children and a renewed commitment to continuing the work of educating and providing hope and healing to children in need as we move Forward in Service to America!