Founded as a Presbyterian ministry in 1875, Thornwell is a full service, 501c3 nonprofit organization committed to providing the most innovative and effective solutions to help children and families in need. We provide Christian love and support to hundreds of children and families throughout Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. Our mission involves a complete continuum of care that enables us to fully support the child and the family wherever they are in their journey to wholeness and healing.
Wholeness and healing through the nurturing love of Jesus and professional counseling and therapy
Thornwell is a proud member of the Teaching-Family Association and proud to be COA accredited. We are an independent ministry in covenant relationship with the churches in SC, GA and FL of the PC(USA) Synod of the South Atlantic.
Currently, Thornwell maintains operations in 14 different locations throughout Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. With over 130 professionals on staff, we are committed to continuing our ministry to meet the growing need. In 2016, we served 1,901 children and families.
In 2016, we more than doubled the number of children and families we served.
Download our one-page fact sheet to share with others. Our Building Families community-based program doubled in size across all three states. We are very excited about partnering with community churches and others to make sure at-risk families receive counseling and in-home support to remain intact and healthy. Last year, our 4-year old kindergarten program grew from two classes to four. The program helps at-risk families better prepare their children for grammar school success.
137 children served in our family-style group foster homes
122 children served through out professional counseling and therapy
1,215 children and families served through our Building Families In-home Program
40 at-risk family members served through our Strengthening Families Skill-Building Program
5 teens and young adults served in our Independent Living Program
163 children received daily tutoring and academic support through our afterschool and summer learning center
210 at-risk children served in our Kindergarten Readiness Program
Thornwell is committed to growing our ministry as long as the need continues to be so great. Thornwell’s leadership constantly studies state, family and child needs and remains flexible to meet those needs. Currently, Thornwell is celebrating a new Family Foster Care Program in South Carolina. This Family Foster Care program trains and supports new foster parents with the same Teaching Family Model tools and techniques used by our family teachers and family specialists in our other programs.
Children – We believe each child is created in the image of God—worthy of love, respect, and redemption. We value the children entrusted to our care and commit ourselves to providing the very best possible services to each individual who comes to Thornwell.
Family – We believe each child should be given the opportunity to grow up in a family. That’s why all of our programs are family-centered. We also affirm our responsibility to build upon and facilitate the strengths of each family we serve.
Christian Nurture – As a ministry of the Presbyterian Church (USA), we believe in and affirm the importance of each person’s relationship with God. To that end, we employ individuals who take their spiritual life seriously; provide religious nurture for all children in our care in order that they may respond to life’s relationships and responsibilities as a child of God; provide programs and services in a manner that affirms each individual’s culture and religious heritage; and value and nurture our century-old relationship to the Presbyterian Church (USA).
Education – Because we firmly believe in the value of lifelong education, Thornwell provides the children and youth in our care with the tools and knowledge needed to succeed in their academic and vocational endeavors.
Leisure Time & Recreation – We believe that teaching successful living means teaching our children the skills they need to properly balance work and play. Thornwell takes pride in having an on-campus recreational center devoted to supporting fun and safe recreational activities for children of all ages. A swimming pool, basketball court, volleyball court, and other outdoor facilities are located on Thornwell’s campus. In the cottages, family teachers encourage their children to develop creative outlets and pursue individual interests in music, art, sports, theater, and more.
Community – We affirm the characteristics of positive community that include diversity; shared value; caring, trust, and teamwork; active participation; effective internal communication; affirmation; a forward view of the future; arrangements for community maintenance; and links to the larger community.
Thornwell Home for Children began as a dream in the heart of a young Presbyterian minister in Clinton, SC. Following the devastation of the Civil War, William Plumer Jacobs, of First Presbyterian Church in Clinton, wanted to build an orphanage.
Dr. Jacobs‘ dream was energized when 10-year-old Willie Anderson of a nearby community gave Reverend Jacobs fifty cents and said, “This is to help build your orphanage.”
Dr. Jacobs’ named the orphanage after a mentoring theological professor, and Thornwell opened its doors on October 1, 1875, to 10 orphaned children. Dr. Jacobs’ belief “that God so willed and would, therefore, support the endeavor,” carried him and his beloved orphanage through the post-war years until his death in 1917.
Dr. Jacobs documented the progress and struggles of the fledgling orphanage in his diary. Many find his recorded words inspirational for their demonstrations of his reliance upon the Lord for provisions for his children. Further, Dr. Jacobs’ diary catalogs the answers that God provided. Those answers were often exactly what Dr. Jacobs needed and came at just the right time.
The Home of Peace was the residence of Dr. William Plumer Jacobs, the visionary who heard the call of God to begin a home for children orphaned by the Civil War. In his home, Dr. Jacobs and his wife, Mary, welcomed the first children to find a refuge at Thornwell.
In times past the Mayes-Dowdle House was the Baby Cottage where Thornwell’s youngest residents lived. Now beautifully restored, the Mayes-Dowdle House is the headquarters of the Thornwell Alumni Association.
The Rev. Amalie Ash
Mrs. Sylvia Collins
Mr. Tom Free
Mr. David O. Rivers
Mr. Jim Conner
Mrs. Rhonda Gaffoglio
Mr. Gordon Lee Hight, II
Mrs. Mary Martin
Mrs. Jean P. McKnight
Mr. Steven L. Roberts
Mr. Julius J. Anderson
Mr. Gordon E. Bondurant
The Rev. Dr. Ella F. Busby
The Rev. Dr. Charles Elliott
Mr. M. Craig Garner, Jr.
Mr. Ben M. Gramling, III
Mrs. Harriet D. Ike
The Rev. Beverly J. Kelly
Mrs. Teresa D. Madden
Mrs. Susan W. Malloy
The Rev. Dr. Daniel Massie
Mr. Jim Morton
Mrs. Dorianne Norwood
Dr. Michael W. Payne
Maurice A. Purcell
Dr. Stanley G. Walsh, Jr.
Mr. Thomas Adams
Mr. John S. Anderson
Dr. James E. Cousar
Mrs. Mary Wain Ellison (Boyd)
Brigadier General (Ret.) Hugh McLaurin III
Dr. George B. Richardson
The Rev. Dr. Robert D. Taylor