David and Ellen Garber founded the Mennonite Orphan’s home 125 years ago with a vision-- to provide a safe home for children and to raise them “for Christ and in the church.” That vision has been sustained since that time, and remains the heart of our program today.
Here is a timeline of important developments in our history:
1896: David and Ellen Garber began a ministry of caring for abandoned children in their home in Orrville, Ohio. It was called the Mennonite Orphan’s Home.
1900: The home was serving at capacity and needed more space. Mennonites in West Liberty invited the Garber’s to move to a home in Logan County. By 1905, the home was serving 122 children, 85 of which were in foster care.
1954: The name was changed to the Mennonite Children’s Home. However, the needs of children and their families were changing rapidly. Working with educable mentally disabled children was recognized as an area of need and it was decided to begin a program in that field.
1957: The name changed again to Adriel School. A board member suggested the name, which is Hebrew for “flock of God”.
1972: With the hiring of a treatment director, Adriel School began to develop specialized treatment programs for youth. Teachers, direct-care staff, social workers, and activity therapists worked together in providing consistent therapy and guidance in the residental treatment program.
1979: After conducting a survey of referring agencies, the board determined that Adriel School should become more community focused and based. Construction, renovation and purchases over the next 15 years resulted in five group homes in the surrounding community.
1981: The Treatment Foster Care program was started to help place children with special needs with specially trained foster parents.
1992: An office was opened in Archbold, Ohio to operate the Northwest Ohio Specialized Foster Care Program.
2007: An office was opened in Dublin, Ohio to operate the Central Ohio Foster Care Program.
2009: Harmony Hall opened in the fall of 2009. The new facility provided 24 new beds for residential youth, and provided a level of security and care that Adriel had not offered before.
2012: An office was opened in Toledo, Ohio to operate the North Central Foster Care Program.
2017: The Board of Directors made a decision to shift Adriel's focus away from residential care and instead onto providing home-based services. Adriel continued the mission of providing quality care for children by expanding their foster care programs. The clinical services and training departments were enhanced to meet the needs of these children and Adriel also began to offer family preservation services.
2018: To better serve the Northwest region, Adriel opened an office in Van Wert, Ohio and relocated the Archbold, Ohio office.
2019: Adriel's staff offices on the West Liberty campus were relocated from the Glover building to Harmony Hall. Adriel's Toledo office moved into the Toledo Mennonite Church building.
2021: Adriel's Central Ohio office was relocated from Dublin to Westerville. Adriel celebrates 125 years caring for children.
Today: While the official name has remained Adriel School Inc., the ministry is, in actuality, a social service agency for children, rather than an educational institution. Adriel serves the whole child with foster care, adoption, independent living, family preservation programs, training, and clinical services.