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        In the article (Past, Present, and Future) I wrote about the northwest corner of 7th Street and Roeser.  Well, my most memorable experience of that day happens to be the house that sits near the southwest corner of this same intersection.  My group and I were going into an older residential neighborhood when we noticed this house slightly down from the corner being renovated.  We immediately pulled over and a few of us went in to talk to the person who was at the house.  Here I thought the house was going to be a new home for some "yuppie" type.  I was completely wrong. 

        This house used to be a "crack" house and was bought by a charitable group some seven years ago.  It has taken all this time to do the renovations, which, except for some front landscaping and a few other touches, will be looking good as new in just a short while.  I was surprised when he told us that convicted sex-offenders helped in the renovation of the house, what a contrast from other organizations such as Habitat for Humanity.  Anyway, this is not even the half of it. 

        This house is going to be a home for "high risk" male youth.  "High risk" is one step beyond "at risk" which in my mind involves a group who either through their environment (physical and/or emotional) are in a position that subjects them to certain behaviors that may lead to crime, drugs, violence, etc.  The "high risk" group has already had experience in one, or all of these behaviors, and it is the intentions of those who operate within this house to try and rehabilitate them to become productive, responsible citizens. 

        Between the organization and the city courts, young men will be sent here for long-term rehabilitation.  The home also seconds as a school for the youth that come here.  There is a separate room with several computers and software for educational purposes.  When asked how the neighbors felt about the center existing in their neighborhood, we were told that the neighbors did not have a problem with the center.  They appreciated the fact that the crack house was gone and that the house was being renovated, and this was a good thing for the neighborhood.  As is necessary, meetings were held and fliers were sent out to the surrounding neighbors, which is how the man we talked to knew how the neighbors felt about the center.  

        I am astonished that the neighbors would welcome a home rebuilt for troubled youth.  In many communities there is such a not-in-my-backyard mentality (NIMBYism) that one nail would not have been hammered before the operation was shot down.  Perhaps, though, the people here recognize the need for second chances; for the boys, for the home, and for the future of the neighborhood. 



Last Updated 4-7-2002