CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) – Eight boys will be selected this summer to live at The Elder’s House with the goal of transforming them into responsible young men.
The $900,000 residential care facility, which sits along Bells Mill Road in Great Bridge, is designed to look like a normal home in the neighborhood.
Bishop Kim Brown, of The Mount Lebanon Baptist Church, has been working on the project for three years.
“The last thing we wanted was for someone who is staying here to feel like they were staying in an institutional facility,” said Brown, who says The Elder’s House is his dream fulfilled.
The kids selected, ages 12-18, will come from families that are hindering their ability to succeed; however, they must have a clean criminal record and no behavioral issues. Brown says good kids raised in troubled environments often slip through the cracks.
“There are some really good kids who their environment ended up messing them up. We are trying to catch those kids,” said Keya Smith, program director. “They just want to get up and have a normal life. They want to be able to know where their food is coming from. They want to be able to know [they] can participate and have friends.”
Brown says the open environment of the facility will allow the boys to bond. There will also be a computer lab, craft room and on-site counseling services.
“We want you to have a family meal where you’re talking – no cell phones, no texting,” said Brown. “You have to learn how to have interpersonal skills.”
Making things even more special for the bishop is that the home sits on the land where The Mount’s first church was built in 1907.
“We want to be able to inspire children to look at their faith and their relationship with God,” he said.
Brown says The Elder’s House has raised $400,000. He says one private donor gave about $250,000.
The Elder’s House will have an open house Saturday, May 19 from 1-3 p.m.
Brown is hoping people will sponsor a room in order to help furnish the facility.