CANAAN TWP. – Roughly 15 minutes north of Wooster sits a quiet, 160-acre plot  surrounded by trees, fields and pastures.
Several buildings dot the land, including a barn, a school and five small cottages.  
The property is owned and cared for by the Christian Children’s Home of Ohio, which Donor Relations Manager David Walker describes as “a home for abused and neglected children.”  
Walker said the children get the help they need through therapy while also “getting to be a kid again” by attending classes and participating in fun activities on weekends.  
One such activity is the art of making maple syrup. With the help of several local groups and countless workers on the grounds, the Children’s Home plans to bottle and sell their maple syrup at Buehler’s with all the proceeds going toward helping the children.  
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Opening in 1969, the Christian Children’s Home has operated for over 50 years and has helped hundreds of children, according to its website.  
The main focus of the campus is to provide “a safe structured environment” for children “who have been abused, neglected and traumatized by the people they should be able to trust most,” according to the website. This year, Walker said, they are housing roughly 46 children on their campus, ranging in age from 5 to 18.
Staff try to make each day as normal as possible by having the children attend classes, many of which are taught by Norwayne Local teachers, before they attend therapy sessions every other day. These sessions are based on each child’s individual needs and sometimes take the form of sitting in a room with a professional, while other times may take more unique forms.  
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A variety of therapy options are offered, including:  
Walker said they try to offer as many unique opportunities as possible so they can not only connect with the kids, but also help them open up and heal over time.  
“It’s just amazing to see some of the transformations that take place,” Walker said. “When kids come and they’re real hard-edged and tough and angry, and then by the time they leave, they’re just a kid again.”  
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Looking for new ways to engage the students and offer a new experience, Walker said, they are trying a new program this year that allows the students to learn while making something.  
The Children’s Home is making its own maple syrup by collecting sap from trees on the property and sending it off to Mennell Acres, where it is boiled down and bottled.
Walker said they have gotten help from roughly 12 local groups in the area, including Triway Local Schools FFA group, several students from the College of Wooster and Wooster Christian School as well as several area churches.  
With over 300 trees tapped with tubes, buckets and bags, they have been able to collect almost 2,000 gallons of sap, said Children’s Home worker Jeff Stump, which will equate to roughly 40 to 50 gallons of maple syrup.  
Once the maple syrup is bottled and labeled, community members can buy at Buehler’s and support the Children’s Home.  
As the fluctuating temperatures of the spring weather continue, Walker said, they plan to continue to collect the sap for a few months and hope to expand the program even more next year to include things like egg collection and honey making.  
“We’re trying to get this idea of doing a retail farm store,” Walker said. “… This year, we’re doing it more as kind of a learning program but teaching them (the children) some life skills and getting them excited.” 
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On Twitter: @RachelKaras3 


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