A small gathering turned out Sunday afternoon to break ground on a new addition to a house in Rolla for homeless youth that hopes to make a big impact.
Work will be starting soon on the renovation project at the H.O.P.E. Inc. house at 602 S. Adrian Ave.
The new work will include tearing down an outdoor deck and spare room and in their places, building a new 20-foot-by-26-foot room, according to design plans.
Several local businesses are donating their time, materials and labor to the effort.
Among the contributors who attended the groundbreaking were Richard Horn, of the Rolla Lowe's store, who explained that each year Lowe's assists with a community project.
"This is my first year in Rolla and I wanted to focus on a not-for-profit," Horn said. Lowe's through a grant program, will help provide materials for the addition.
Jackie Rogers, of J. Rogers Architecture, Inc., who drew up the architectural plans for the addition, also attended and said, "I think it's a great idea and wanted to be part of it."
Alfaye Jackson, CEO and founder of H.O.P.E. Inc., noted that in the past, local electricians and painters as well as Missouri University of Science and Technology students have helped with the house.
While she noted that some past contributors "may not have given money, they donated their skills," Jackson said.
Jackson is putting out a plea to the community that more materials and labor are still needed in order for the H.O.P.E. house doors to open.
"The need for our homeless youth is serious," Jackson said, noting she has spent the last five years trying to put a roof over the heads of homeless youth in the area.
Jackson, who became emotional during her talk, noted that about 23 to 25 youth have lived in the current house since last summer. Some stay overnight while others have stayed up to two years.
Of those, five were referred to the house from the Rolla Police Department. Other referrals come from G.R.A.C.E., the Salvation Army and area churches.
The goal of the H.O.P.E. Inc. program is to make the youth become self-sufficient, Jackson explained.
A treatment plan is developed for each person based on their needs and there are certain goals they must meet along their way through the program.
Jackson said while the youth are staying at the house, she works with local resources like the Salvation Army to meet other needs of the youth.
After the new addition is complete, the house will be reorganized to allow for bedrooms, a common recreational area, an expanded dining area, closets for clothes as well as office space for H.O.P.E. Inc. staff.
Page 2 of 2 - Jackson said her goal for a shed in the backyard is to serve as a food pantry. There is also a program for youth to grow vegetables in their own gardens at the property. Those vegetables will later be used in meals, she said.
Jackson said the program is for youth who want to help themselves. "They just need a springboard to get help," she said. In the program, youth are taught proper hygiene, nutrition, work ethic and how to function as part of a team.
A brochure provided at the groundbreaking states that the facility will shelter and provide services for homeless youth age 12 to 21.
The House of Prevention, Education and Training Residential Homes (H.O.P.E.) Inc., is a 501(c)(3) non-profit faith-based organization that provides housing, education and training for homeless youth in the Rolla area.
For more information, contact Jackson at 314-276-2133 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.hopeministriesmo.org or www.facebook.com/RollaHopeMinistries.