Core Values

250Throughout our long history of service to children and families, Thornwell maintains a solid foundation of core values that continue to guide us in our mission and ministry.


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.


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).


Because we firmly believe in the value of lifelong education, Thornwell works in partnership with the public school system and local colleges to help provide the children and youth in our care with the tools and knowledge needed to succeed in their academic and vocational endeavors.

The Learning Center is a vital part of the academic support Thornwell provides for each child.

In addition, we seek to provide enrichment programs that incorporate music, art, and drama into the life of each child. Thanks to the generosity of our donors, we can also provide post-secondary education to our young adults who graduate from public high school and participate in our Transitional Living program.

As an employer, we’re committed to the continuing professional education of our staff. We want each member to grow and develop in his or her career. Therefore, we provide time and financial resources to ensure that Thornwell employees have the best available continuing professional education.

Leisure Time & Recreation

At Thornwell, we believe that teaching successful living means teaching our children the skills they need to properly balance work and play. In order to instill these valuable life lessons, our children are taught to take pride in their homes and rooms by completing daily or weekly household chores, helping to maintain cottage grounds and pitching in to accomplish community projects that benefit everyone.

Both personal leisure time and group activities are a part of everyday life at Thornwell. In fact, 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, theatre and more.


At Thornwell, we value the opportunities and responsibilities we have as a small campus community and as a member of the larger local, state, national, and global communities. 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.