Children’s home planning reunion to celebrate anniversary

New Mexico Baptist Children’s Home is celebrating a milestone in helping youth in the state for 90 years.

The home is planning an Aug. 1 reunion for former residents.

Public Relations Officer Teresa Howard said she does not know how many former children will be coming.

“It is usually the ones from the 40s and 50s who come back,” Howard said. “We do have younger ones who lived here doing the 80s who come, but we don’t know what to expect for that day.”

Howard said many letters the home sent out came back because the person was deceased, had moved or couldn’t be found.

There will be games, campus tours, slide shows of former children and a barbecue.

Geraldine Dooley, Baptist Children’s Home administrator, said the home began about 90 years ago when Leon Gambrell, pastor for First Baptist, started taking in orphans.

“Within a few months he had more children than he could take care of,” Dooley said. “So he went to a convention in Albuquerque for help.”

In October of that year, the Baptist Convention took over and called the home New Mexico Baptist Orphan’s Home. In 1949, the name was changed to what it is today.

Dooley said the home helps children from across the U.S.

“The parents were gone, or ended up in the hospital,” Dooley said. “Dad left and mom couldn’t take care of them, there is a lot of reasons. We don’t take children from the courts, but some of the them have issues and we try to help a child with some of their problems.”

The Baptist Children’s Home relies on donations and money from the churches to help with the expenses of caring for the children.