From its founding in 1936, Children’s Beach House has devoted itself to meeting the most pressing needs of Delaware children.

Lydia Chichester du Pont founded Children’s Beach House to give children with orthopedic challenges a place where they could flourish and enjoy the healing qualities of friendship, fresh air, and the Delaware Bay.

Children’s Beach House programs have evolved since then, responding to changing community needs. Today we offer year-round programs to children — ages 3 to 18 from across Delaware — who have communicative challenges or who live in under-resourced homes. We’re guided by a simple philosophy: Children are not vessels to be filled, but fires to be tended. They all have gifts to share with the world. Our role is to value and nurture those gifts, so the children can freely share them.


In 1936, Miss Lydia began the formal process of incorporating a foundation and recruiting its board of trustees.

“The nature of the business which the corporation is established to conduct and carry on is to provide means for the care, maintenance and creation, within or without the State of Delaware, of crippled, sick or poor children; to establish, maintain and carry on homes or camps for the care of such children; to furnish medical advice or assistance, especially in orthopedic cases, and to provide for the maintenance of such children in other institutions when necessary.”

Children’s Beach House Certificate of Corporation
Signed by Lydia Chichester du Pont
June 25, 1937

While initiating a program unique in the State of Delaware, Miss Lydia reserved time to complete an annual task that was important to her. She called a trusted friend and early board member at the start of each summer with the invitation, “Mr. Joe, it’s time to plant the geraniums.” Bank president Joe Marshall of Lewes joined Miss Lydia in planting the flowers whose splashy red blossoms welcomed guests and lifted the spirits of passers-by. Their growth throughout the summer paralleled the children’s progress and inspired perseverance.

In the early years, CBH identified the most pressing needs of children and directed resources toward those suffering from the effects of malnutrition, polio, rheumatic fever, autism, and cerebral palsy. However, with the passage of time, new risk factors emerged. Time and again, CBH reassessed the contemporary scene and redeployed its energy toward new directions and innovative programs.

In retrospect, the geraniums, still planted every year in honor of Miss Lydia, symbolize CBH’s determination to address the changing needs of children, while keeping in view its overall mission.

For more information, please contact us us today.

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