GREENVILLE – The question was… “Since most of the girls will not want to be there…” The response was… “ALL of the girls will not want to be there.”
Amy Raynes, MA, President and CEO of House of Hope Dayton, was at Kiwanis of Greenville Feb. 11 to continue her campaign for support for an alternative to juvenile detention for unruly and delinquent girls. She noted while Dayton was part of her organization’s name, the actual location of the facility will be in Ithaca. She said the residents will be there by referral; it will not be something they’ll want to do. She added, however, “Once they’ve been there four to six weeks, they won’t want to leave.”
“It’s a beautiful setting,” she said, noting it was also secure. There is a wall surrounding the three-story structure. “They will be allowed to go outside and enjoy their surroundings. The goal, however, is to make sure they can’t get off the property.”
“We have raised 10 percent of the price to purchase (and renovate) the property so far,” she said. Adding that was “based on the article in the paper.” (Search Delinquent Girls at www.bluebagmedia.com)
Raynes told the group she started on this journey three years earlier. “Delinquent boys have Michael’s Home; we have nothing like that for girls. House of Hope will be designed to nurture them and their families.” She said it was based on the national House of Hope concept… “With God there is Hope.” The program has been in existence for 30 years. Nationally, six houses are open; there will be 19 by the end of the year.
It will be a 12-18 month program; non-profit and non-denominational Christian. The age range is 13 to 18. There will be accredited on-campus education, coaching and discipleship, parenting classes and workshops, spiritual development, community service projects, life skills, and individual, group and family counseling. They will accept referrals from judges, pastors, juvenile court… also parents.
“We don’t accept violent offenders, sexual predators or potentially suicidal girls,” she said. She added while licensing will allow them to have up to 10 girls with one adult, they will likely limit themselves to six girls at a time with two adult volunteers.
“The cost is $3,000 a month,” Raynes said. The organization is looking for sponsors. They can include monthly partners providing $2,000 per month in support, one-time donations, in-kind contributions, prayers and volunteers. She hopes they will own the building by spring and begin accepting girls by August. Once in operation, Raynes said she believes God will provide what they need to continue operation. There is also space for the residents to have their own garden and do fundraising through business activities.
Also attending the Kiwanis meeting were eight Fundamentals of Communication students from Edison Community College. Since the focus of the course is Public Speaking, the visit gave them an opportunity to observe and discuss a public speaking event outside the classroom.
Kiwanis of Greenville President Dale Musser, left, poses with Amy Raynes, center, and Past President Cindy Riffle. (Bob Robinson photo)