The Real Glade Run: Help the Children, Change the Future

Glade Run is the physical presence of God, working to heal children and rebuild families. As such, Glade Run embraces the shame and heals the wounds of children and families, and breathes new life into them.

Glade Run brings hope to many in a dark world. Glade Run must convince each child and family that they are worthy of love and they do belong, even with their imperfections.

Glade Run embraces an uncertain world. During a management team meeting, conversation was interrupted as a student in our care walking down the hallway suddenly and unexpectedly slammed his body against the conference room door, shouting obscenities and attempting to knock himself unconscious on the door’s small glass window. Quickly staff decelerated the youth, calming him with gentle tones and moving with him to a quiet space. In about fifteen seconds the incident was over, but it was a reminder to all of us about who we are, and why we’re here.

Glade Run is the front line for those who are suffering and in pain. Most youth who come to live at Glade Run have had multiple placements and services and many have been sexually and/or physically abused and have suicidal ideation or attempts. Children can be so distraught that they may resort to pulling out their hair or cutting their arms or banging their head on a window. Students may be unsuccessful for a variety of reasons in their home school district, including extreme aggression and other disruptive behavioral issues that cannot be maintained in public school settings. Children and youth in our communities are combating severe mental health issues that put themselves and their families at risk. Glade Run has a difficult mission, often dangerous, and our staff stand in the breach of violent and disruptive behaviors to help youth find balance and well-being. A child determined to hurt themselves will often find a way and sometimes injure staff in the process.

Glade Run is a buffer for the community. If Glade Run did not exist, how would the shame, pain and suffering of wounded children be expressed? It would be directed toward parents, friends, teachers, and classmates. It would be expressed in schools, movie theaters, malls and other public places. All too often today we hear how youth and young adults with untreated mental health issues take serious and irrevocable actions that affect not only their own lives, but the lives of countless others. If we can help the children now, we can change their future.

Glade Run is a learning organization. Staff are human and sometimes staff miss things, and the organization learns from these mistakes. Consultants are brought in from all over the country to address the complex issues presented by the children and families that come for help, to help us become better equipped to handle the increasingly difficult issues our students, residents, and clients deal with each day. Comments made by parents, children and other individuals indicate how services can be improved. Learning is essential in dealing with the complexity of the human condition, and Glade Run provides over 2,000 hours of training to our staff every month.

Glade Run is a safe place for children and families. Although the organization experiences moments of violent and/or inappropriate behavior, it is one of the safest places for children and families. Staff sit with the young lady pulling out her hair and help her calm down. Staff talk to the young man banging his head on the wall and help him feel safe. Staff go with children to the hospital so they don’t feel alone. Staff work with children in the most appropriate and least restrictive environments possible – be it school, home, or residential setting – to increase their safety. As a Sanctuary certified organization dedicated to providing trauma-informed care, the effects of trauma are well known and efforts are made to understand each child from a perspective of what has happened to him/her to cause behaviors without blame and shame.

Glade Run is a transparent organization. Glade Run consists of people young and old joining with others to help them manage the chaos in their lives. When mistakes are made they are promptly disclosed and corrective action is taken. No simple roadmap exists to navigate the complexity of the human experience.

Glade Run is a unique organization. Glade Run offers many experiential opportunities to engage children and families. There is a greenhouse with outside gardens, a stable with horses and a variety of smaller animals. Glade Run is building a sensory playground with elements specifically designed for children on the autism spectrum. Glade Run also has a spiritual care department and a family support specialist to help parents. Glade Run engages children and families through a variety means to help children reach their therapeutic goals more rapidly.

Glade Run has changed the lives of tens of thousands through quality programming for over 161 years; helping the children and changing their futures for the better.

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The Reverend Charles T. Lockwood, Ed.D.

About the Author

The Reverend Dr. Charles T. Lockwood

For the past 26 years, Dr. Lockwood has been the President/CEO of Glade Run Lutheran Services. During his tenure, the agency has split into three corporations from one; developed a licensed private school; expanded its specialty services; and developed a robust infrastructure.

Dr. Lockwood is an ordained Lutheran Minister and served parishes for 14 years before coming to Glade Run in 1989. Dr. Lockwood has served on several statewide organizations including the Pennsylvania Lutheran Network, the Lutheran Advocacy Ministry in Pennsylvania and the Community Lutheran Partners.

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