Ottawa County couple opening home to troubled teens
MIAMI, OKLAHOMA -
A new short-term home to point troubled teens in the right direction is getting ready to open it's doors. It's part of a project through the Partners for Ottawa County Youth.
According to county officials in the last several years more teens are getting into trouble. But they hope that will change now that a husband and wife, who do not have children of their own, will be working to keep put them back on the right track.
Ottawa County Judge Robert Reavis sees on average about 35 teens in the courtroom and in trouble with the law every month.
"It seems like it's more prevalent - I've been on this job for 20 years and it seems like we have more trouble than we used to have," says Judge Reavis.
Often times, when it's not a serious crime jail is out of the question.
"It's for consequences for violating your probation, it's for consequences for not respecting your parents authority at home or coming in at the appropriate time and things of that," says Judge Reavis.
But the Haven Home has an open door.
"We love kids," says Lacey Dry. "We want to be with them, so we're not doing our job as adults if we're not providing something for them."
Dry is an assistant principal who works with children at Will Rogers Middle School. Lacey's husband, Jessie, is a former foster child himself.
"We will treat them like family," Jessie says. "We want them to feel at home trying to give them another option of what is out there then what they know at the time."
Up to four boys at a time will stay with the Dry's between 10 and 30 days.
"Mainly just create that environment of structure but then we love to be outdoors, we have cattle we have horses," says Lacey.
The Dry's have the space, but the couple does not yet have all of the necessary materials.
The facility will cost $40,000 a year to run.
The Dry's will not be receiving any sort of public funding or grants so they are now relying on the support of the community to complete fulfill their mission.
"For me it's a calling and I don't think you can be any more excited then to be doing what you've been asked to do," says Lacey. "We've talked about if one kid makes a change, we've done a good job."
The home is expected to be ready for kids to begin their stays September 1.
A Haven Home account has been set up at the Welch State Bank in Miami if anyone is interested in donating. The Dry's are also looking for furniture and bedding.
To donate to Haven Home project: Contact Elaine Clugston at 918-541-0742 or Beth Rotman at 918-533-4904.
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