Donny was a few months away from turning 18 years old when he was removed from his home and placed in the Columbus Home Group Home, a program under Catholic Charities.

Columbus Home Group Home is a nurturing, home-like environment for boys, ages 12-17, who are separated from their families due to allegations of abuse/neglect, domestic violence or juvenile justice. They are provided with nutritious food, a safe environment, clothing, access to medical and mental health services, and opportunities to develop life skills. The goal of the home is to provide an environment where clients can work towards placement, such as reunification with a relative, or for those nearing adulthood, preparation for living on their own and being a responsible citizen. Families who are working towards reunification are encouraged to visit clients and are taught communication skills to sustain healthy relationships. When reunification is not an option, Columbus Home focuses on teaching clients skills for independent living, such as budgeting and job searching.

When he arrived at Columbus Home, Donny refused to participate in the group activities. He was non-compliant with the program’s services and would not attend his GED classes. Donny wanted only to bide his time at Columbus Home until he was 18 and able to leave the facility.  Despite Donny’s unwillingness to be involved with the program, the staff of Columbus Home believed that he could succeed. Together, Donny and the Columbus Home Staff developed a routine that motivated Donny to accomplish his goals before he turned 18.

Donny has passed all of his GED courses and is ready to take the exam. When he applied for a job, Columbus Home provided him with the professional clothes he needed for his interview. Now someone who was initially non-compliant and resistant to participating in the Columbus Home program is prepared to not just turn 18 years old, but prepared to make positive contributions to society.

$20 will provide a youth with an hour and a half of services from our educational liaison, while $100 will allow each boy in our care to participate in a monthly family night.

United Way of Greater Knoxville is proud to support programs like Columbus Home Group Home that help people in Greater Knoxville. Together, we fight for the Health, Education, and Financial Stability of every person in our community. Change doesn’t happen alone. To live better, we must LIVE UNITED.

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